Rudolph keeps Yorkshire on top
Yorkshire 250 for 6 beat Middlesex 245 for 8 by five runs
South African Jacques Rudolph continued his phenomenal Clydesdale Bank 40 form as Yorkshire Carnegie extended their lead at the top of Group B with a five-run win over Middlesex Panthers in front of a packed 6,500-strong crowd at Scarborough. The prolific left-handed opener went into the game as the competition's leading scorer with 518 runs at an average of 85.50 and he completed his third century of the season with an unbeaten 124 off 108 balls.
His highly-polished innings guided Yorkshire to 250 for 6 and put them on track for their ninth win in 10 games with just two group matches still to play, with Middlesex making a valiant attempt but finishing on 245 for 8.
Yorkshire all-rounder Richard Pyrah was presented with his first-team cap by captain Andrew Gale shortly before the match began, but Ajmal Shahzad had to pull out because of a recurrence of the ankle injury which kept him out of the England squad. Tim Bresnan, who has been included in the England squad for the final Test against Pakistan, took his place in the side.
Winning the toss, Yorkshire were given a good start by Gale, who made 36 out of 50 inside eight overs before Toby Roland-Jones claimed the first of his three wickets when the captain skied him to Tom Scollay on the square leg boundary. Adam Lyth did not last long on his home ground but Anthony McGrath then joined Rudolph - dropped by wicketkeeper John Simpson when on 10 - in a third-wicket partnership which contributed 138 in 23 overs.
The stand was ended by Tim Murtagh, who also grabbed three wickets, McGrath falling to a catch on the rope by Dawid Malan after striking 68 off 75 balls with six fours. Middlesex checked the scoring for a while with three wickets going down in as many overs in the third powerplay but Rudolph glided to his century from 98 balls with nine boundaries and remained firmly in control until the overs expired.
Opener Scott Newman kept Middlesex in the hunt with a powerful 77 from 70 balls with five fours and three sixes, and he and John Simpson had put on 47 for the first wicket in nine overs when Simpson fell lbw to Adil Rashid's first ball. Newman and Owais Shah then added 54 together before McGrath too picked up a wicket with his first ball by knocking back Shah's stumps and when Malan was bowled attempting to reverse sweep Rashid, Middlesex were 135 for 3.
Two runs later, Bresnan yorked Newman and Middlesex stumbled until Neil Dexter was joined by Roland-Jones in a last-gasp ninth-wicket stand which added 51 from 37 balls, Dexter reaching his half-century from 39 deliveries with six boundaries. McGrath was recalled to bowl the last over with 13 required and Middlesex were unable to manage the boundaries they required to cross the line.