Gough denies Blackwell in thriller
Yorkshire 261 for 5 (Rudolph 127, Gale 53) beat Somerset 242 (Blackwell 97, Gillespie 3-35, Gough 3-45) by nine runs (D/L method)
In a thrilling Pro40 match at Scarborough, Yorkshire finished as victors over Somerset by nine runs with one over to spare, the target adjusted by Duckworth-Lewis. The highlights were outstanding innings by Jacques Rudolph and Ian Blackwell, and a marvellous coup de grace administered by Darren Gough.
Yorkshire batted on winning the toss. Rudolph frequently opens the batting, especially in one-day matches, in his native South Africa, but rarely has he provided a team with such a rollicking start. In the second over of the innings, bowled by Peter Trego, he drove two superb fours, and then scored 18 off Trego's next over, including a six over midwicket. He raced to his first fifty off 28 balls, hitting nine fours and two sixes.
The first wicket put on 72 runs in eight overs before Craig White departed for 15. Four were down for 108, including the double-century maker of the previous day, Younis Khan, who was adjudged lbw to a ball that looked a little high without scoring. Rudolph now consolidated, along with Andrew Gale (53 not out), in a partnership of 111.
When he departed, lbw attempting a reverse sweep, he had made 127 off 114 balls with seven fours and two sixes. A final blaze from Tim Bresnan (29 not out off 11 balls), including three successive big sixes off Gareth Andrew, took Yorkshire to 261 for five.
Yorkshire struck a quick blow when Marcus Trescothick, with just a boundary to his credit, played on to Jason Gillespie. But Justin Langer came out and batted as if he intended polishing off the target single-handedly, with a stream of impressive boundaries. It was quickly obvious that this was the crucial wicket, but it took a little good fortune: he had 36 to his credit when Gillespie bowled him with a ball that kept strangely low.
Some rather loose bowling, especially by Bresnan, kept Somerset above five an over, but wickets fell steadily. Gillespie finished with three for 35, bowling his eight overs straight through. Then Blackwell decided to climb in. He had played himself in steadily, but now began to look for the boundary and beyond. The sixes began to fly, both straight and leg-side, his fifty came off 41 balls, and Yorkshire's second-string bowlers struggled. The balance of the match was swinging.
As the match headed towards a thrilling climax, the sky clouded over and some rain began to fall, with Somerset just behind the Duckworth-Lewis rate. The players went off in the 32nd over with Somerset 203 for 6, just one run behind. Two overs were lost, and the target revised to 252.
The break interrupted Somerset's momentum, and Blackwell was not into his stride again when he was brilliantly stumped down the leg side by Gerard Brophy for 97. But Somerset continued to fight. Craig Keiswetter hit gallantly for 38, and with two overs left, the last two wickets needed to score 12 runs to win. Then came Gough to bowl the last two batsmen in his own inimitable style.