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John Ward at Headingley
June 18, 2008
Yorkshire 154 for 8 (McGrath 46, Mahmood 2-13) beat Lancashire 150 for 6 (Loye 43, Cross 42*, Pyrah 3-20)
It was far from Roses tradition, but Yorkshire's 8749 spectators went home very happy after a thrilling match that swung from one side to the other with almost every over, and ended with the result that most of them wanted. With two balls and two wickets to spare, Yorkshire were triumphant as Darren Gough showed he still has that match-winning quality.
With powerful hitting Gough slammed three fours off his first four balls, 13 coming off an over from Dominic Cork, and six were needed off the final over, bowled by Tom Smith. Adil Rashid took a single and then, crucially, came four byes, the keeper perhaps handicapped by the now enveloping gloom. Gough slashed the next ball to the point boundary, and Yorkshire had won a thriller in the darkness.
Yorkshire avoided the usual practice of batting on winning the toss and put Lancashire in; they may well have preferred to lose the toss, because the light was poor and the conditions damp. As they had the previous evening, Lancashire enjoyed a good second-wicket partnership between Mal Loye and Stuart Law, the former as unpredictable and the latter as forceful as ever. They showed little respect for Matthew Hoggard, whose three overs cost 25 runs for the wicket of opener Lou Vincent, caught at backward point for 3.
Yorkshire's key bowler was Richard Pyrah. Before he came on, Lancashire were going well, but he immediately yorked Law for 23. By the end of his four overs he had also accounted for Faf du Plessis (10) and Steven Croft (2), caught at long-on and bowled respectively. He did not remove Loye, but the dangerous opener again fell a little short of a major innings, scoring 43 off 33 balls before lofting a ball from Anthony McGrath to Pyrah at long-on.
With Lancashire 91 for 5 in the 15th over, Yorkshire had recovered the initiative, but then Gareth Cross and Kyle Hogg swung the balance again with a dashing stand of 45 at ten an over. Cross finished with an invaluable unbeaten 42 off 24 balls, including three successive boundaries off the last three balls of the innings, bowled by Darren Gough. Lancashire were glad to close on 150 for 6, thanks to his fine work.
Despite the loss of Andrew Gale in the first over, Yorkshire set off at a cracking pace. The instigator was Michael Vaughan, who played a masterly little cameo at number three of 21 off 12 balls. Eschewing the exotic strokes of so many batsmen in this competition, he stuck to skill and orthodoxy, hitting three fours and an effortless driven six over long-on from a slower ball from Hogg. He galvanized Gerard Brophy (28) into action and Yorkshire raced to 45 off the first four overs. So commanding did he look that it came as a surprise when he played over Smith's first delivery and was bowled.
After this, and with Yorkshire ahead on Duckworth-Lewis - an important factor with rain always threatening - the innings began to stagnate. Jacques Rudolph tried to take command before being stumped for 16; Anthony McGrath was still there, but biding his time. Again the balance swung as McGrath started to open out, and with four overs left Yorkshire needed 32.
But there were still more twists to come. Saj Mahmood, economical earlier, was lethal now, dismissing Pyrah and then the key man McGrath, yorked for 46 off 39 balls. At 121 for eight in the 17th over it was all but Lancashire's match now. But then Gough stood up to be counted.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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