Yorkshire v Lancashire, Royal London Cup, North Group, Headingley May 1, 2017

Rashid, Rafiq snuff out Lancashire to claim Roses rights

Yorkshire 296 for 9 (Handscomb 86, Ballance 85, McLaren 3-43) beat Lancashire 217 (Rafiq 4-47) by 79 runs
Scorecard

Yorkshire captain Gary Ballance maintained his excellent form with 85 © Getty Images

Liam Livingstone first came to prominence in a Roses match almost a year ago when he flayed Yorkshire at Old Trafford in the NatWest Blast. If that was not enough to make Yorkshire wary, since then he has been tipped for great things, temporarily elevated to the Lancashire captaincy and presumably made more ravenous than ever by his exclusion from England's Champions Trophy squad.

Not just for Yorkshire, but for a partisan Headingley crowd, Livingstone has become the wicket most wanted. He looked in ominous mood in making 32 from 37 balls - although he would look more ominous in Lancashire red than sponsors' green - the boundary was cleared on two occasions, but then Adil Rashid found an excellent googly to bowl him off the inside edge. Another googly had brought about a similar end for Alex Davies and he generally caused uncertainty throughout.

Spin proved to be Yorkshire's route to a comfortable 79-run victory as Rashid and the offspinner Azeem Rafiq were at the top of their game on a surface offering them a little purchase, sharing six wickets, bowling with craft and competitive edge and ensuring that Yorkshire's 296 for 9 was never seriously challenged. Rafiq took 4 for 47 and it was an appropriate end when the pair combined for the final wicket.

Such composure was perhaps more than Yorkshire expected after a downbeat end to their innings. An excellent stand of 143 in 20 overs between Gary Ballance and Peter Handscomb gave them visions of 330 when they were 230 for 3 with more than 12 overs remaining but Steven Parry removed David Willey, Ballance and Rashid in the space of eight deliveries and as it was they scrambled what they could.

Yorkshire's director of cricket, Martyn Moxon, could not have been happier with the matchwinning alliance. "It was a fantastic display of batting because the conditions at that time were tricky with the lights on and dampness in the pitch," he said. "We still felt that 290 was a good score if we bowled well. And we certainly did."

Quite why there were only two Royal London Cup ties on a Bank Holiday must remain one of those mysteries in which English county cricket specialises. Whereas Roses T20s are sold out well in advance, a 50-over tie can pull in around 5000 with a host of England players involved and nobody looks too downbeat.

For Yorkshire's contingent, there was limited reward. Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root both got a start only to fall to Ryan McLaren, a Lancashire overseas player who might not thrill the popular side but who has brought grunts of satisfaction from the Old Trafford cognoscenti. Bairstow's 28 included successive pulled sixes off Tom Bailey before he inside-edged a drive to the wicketkeeper, Davies; Root also reached the 20s but then fell to a leaping cut to backward point.

The authority with which Ballance and Handscomb rebalanced Yorkshire's innings was impressive. The attention given to the occasional appearances of Root and Bairstow is understandable but such is the disruptive nature of England calls that to a large degree it is with Ballance and Handscomb that Yorkshire's season rests.

Handscomb's end was certainly eye-catching, a marked change in tempo bringing him 18 off four balls from Luke Procter, murderous intent apparent in every one of them, before another intemperate blow brought his downfall on the leg side.

Ballance has been in wonderful form this season, although this was a more robust contribution which required a few fortunate inside edges to keep it alive. Nevertheless, he seemed destined for a fourth hundred in seven knocks when Parry defeated his reverse sweep. Three botched pulls and a run-out ensured a humdrum end to Yorkshire's innings.

Lancashire's batting order will bring debate. Haseeb Hameed came in at No. 3 - having made 88 at opener three days ago - presumably in the hope of Procter providing a flying start and Livingstone was held back until No. 5, which seems a place too low for a player of his ambition to shape the game most effectively.

Livingstone did threaten, driving Liam Plunkett from the attack with two spectacular sixes but Rashid's googly ensured Yorkshire's second win and left Lancashire with two defeats and much to ponder.

David Hopps is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo @davidkhopps

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Erihsacnal on May 2, 2017, 14:57 GMT

    Liam Livingstone will be finding out that captaincy in white-ball cricket is very different from the longer game - you need a good plan before you step on the pitch. Changing the batting order made no sense, and Lancs could have done with another spinner. Lancs used to know all this and once had great success in one-day cricket, but at the moment they're somehow not making the most of their potential in this competition.

  • Martin00 on May 2, 2017, 14:26 GMT

    The issue with Ballance is that he was rightly dropped when his form dipped, and then recalled when he had still not recovered his form. Ask any Yorkshire supporter and they will tell you that last season he was not playing like we know he can - and yet he was rushed back to the England set up. I'm afraid I don't buy this "found out" business. The idea that it took a dozen test matches for players to assess his technique is a nonsense. No, his form dipped and he got out for low scores. Was David Gower found out because he used to get out driving outside the off stump? Maybe, but he still managed to average 43 in Tests. He did that because of the days when he was in form. Balance will always get out in strange ways as he has a strange technique, but that isn't the same as saying that he has a fundamental weakness.

  • jackiethepen on May 2, 2017, 8:52 GMT

    Ballance's form is a credit to him but it is hard to agree with CricFan...531 that he's been treated poorly by the ECB. He's been backed to the hilt on several occasions, not least by Andy Flower, which no doubt led him to be recalled to the Test side. But being recalled is one thing and performing is another and twice now he's been found out by different bowling attacks. As for the World Cup he was chosen to bat at 3, replacing James Taylor who had made a decent fist of it in the warm ups. Feel sorry for Taylor ( who then thought he had a career) and England. It messed up our campaign when Moores made those last minute changes before the first match. Moores was just a dreadful coach who lost his nerve. And yet the media still blame the side. Ballance wasn't the only player to suffer.

  • cricfan11805190 on May 2, 2017, 4:16 GMT

    If Lynn is not fit for the CT ,Handscomb will get a callup

  • bruvvereccles94 on May 1, 2017, 21:45 GMT

    I was at the match. The bowlers who looked most deadly were Bresnan and Rashid, and I think Rafiq was lucky to be the one who took the tail enders' wickets. Ballance and Handscomb obviously batted well for Yorkshire, Ballance in particular making it look all so easy. A mention also for YJB's two sixes into the (intentionally) empty stands - extra time had to be added on when the ball turned out to be hard to find. Also some stunning catches on the Yorkshire side, (Plunkett, Fisher, Lyth, Handscomb).

    On the Lancashire side, the most threatening bowler was clearly McLaren (a bit of an off day for Anderson), and Davies and Livingstone were batsmen that the crowd was very glad to see the back of.

    No praise for the slob who tried to walk in front of me in the middle of an over, and nearly prevented me from seeing Handscomb's dismissal. Probably he had had too much beer already.

  • skilebow on May 1, 2017, 21:28 GMT

    2 good wins but i think we'll struggle when the 5 of them go off for England duty.

  • templar51 on May 1, 2017, 18:41 GMT

    3 years ago , there was a strong feeling among Yorkshire supporters that Ballance would outperform Root and Bairstow. Then he was discovered by England and he has now completed his 2 years in the desert which is a routine result for so many potential England players. This year , he has again reached the heights of the promise he showed earlier in his career. Nor has the captaincy adversely affected his performances. Well done.

  • cricfan45942531 on May 1, 2017, 18:23 GMT

    Good to see Ballance back in form, if he can work on the few weak points in his technique I still think he can become the great Test player he looked like he'd become a couple of years ago. I doubt he ever makes it back to the ODI side but his record in the shorter formats was outstanding until his recent slump. Much like Trott in that respect. He's been treated poorly by the ECB, thrown into the world cup team in an unfamiliar role having shown nothing in ODIs previously, after he unsurprisingly fails and his confidence destroyed his test form then falls away. Brought back into the team when he was in bad form and gets discarded again. Now he's at the back of the queue, out of the spotlight - I hope he can make it back.

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