North Group, Nottingham, August 08 - 11, 2020, Bob Willis Trophy
264 & 278
(T:188) 355 & 97

Yorkshire won by 90 runs


Nottinghamshire slump to 97 all out as Yorkshire seize on old frailties

Another dismal batting display from team that has forgotten how to win

Jordan Thompson jumps for joy in celebration, Nottinghamshire v Yorkshire, Bob Willis Trophy, Trent Bridge, August 11, 2020

Jordan Thompson jumps for joy in celebration  •  Getty Images

Yorkshire 264 (Thompson 98, Brook 62; Nash 3-20) and 278 (Bairstow 75, Lyth 50; Chappell 4-59, Carter 4-76) beat Nottinghamshire 355 (Moores 106, Mullaney 50) and 97 (Thompson 3-6, Olivier 3-29) by 90 runs
The haze at Trent Bridge this morning reminded one or two spectators of Amritsar in the era when MCC played North Zone on tours that were adventures rich and strange. This match also possessed its mysteries, of course, and it was really not until early afternoon that one could discern its clear course. Then Yorkshire's bowlers seemed to take wickets in almost every over they delivered and a final day we thought might be a tense affair became anything but.
Needing 188 to record their first four-day victory since June 2018, Nottinghamshire got barely halfway to their target. A week after Derbyshire had chased down 365 on this ground, Steven Mullaney's side collapsed to 97 all out, losing their last seven wickets for 36 runs in 13.1 overs. When it isn't Fynn Hudson-Prentice, it's Jordan Thompson. When it isn't Michael Cohen, it's Jack Shutt. When it isn't someone, it's someone else.
Much might be made of the fact that the fourth innings of this match was played on an eighth-day pitch, Nottinghamshire having opted to use the strip on which they had lost to Derbyshire. But that argument really does not account for the home side's collapse. Far more persuasive explanations are the excellence of Yorkshire's bowling - all five members of the attack took wickets - and the mental fragility of batsmen, some of whom may not be able to recall the last time they played in a side that successfully overhauled a total in a first-class match.
The achievement of Yorkshire's bowlers was particularly commendable given that both Ben Coad and Matthew Fisher were unable to play in this game because of injury. Neither will appear in Saturday's match against Derbyshire, who lead Yorkshire by four points at the top of the North Group. In their absence Duanne Olivier took three wickets and led the attack with aggression and accuracy while Thompson completed a very fine all-round game by returning figures of 3 for 6.
And the heart was gladdened by the success of Shutt, who expunged any memory of his spell on Sunday by having Peter Trego leg before wicket with his fourth ball and completing the win when Samit Patel obligingly chipped him to Dawid Malan at midwicket. They were Shutt's maiden first-class wickets and there seems no doubt he will recall this match fondly, both for his successes and for his response to adversity.
Such, of course, was Nottinghamshire's broad intention at the start of play and the morning began particularly well for the home side, who took the last three Yorkshire wickets for the addition of only 19 runs. Carter bagged a couple, both courtesy of catches at slip by Mullaney, but the Notts skipper may have been more pleased that his side needed fewer than 200 to win. Another 40 or so runs, so we thought, would have made the target trickier and seized something of a psychological advantage. Not too many folk suspected that the task was already tricky enough for batsmen who seem riddled with self-doubt.
Yet even as it was, the odds were six to five and pick 'em at lunch when Nottinghamshire were 46 for 3, the third batsman dismissed being Ben Duckett, who fended Olivier into the gully, where Malan took a good diving catch. That dismissal was important because it tilted the match a shade Yorkshire's way and because Duckett had been batting busily and well, taking only 22 balls over his 19 runs. The wickets of the openers were also significant, though. Chris Nash was leg before to Olivier for 11, albeit the batsman had a good case the ball was missing leg, and Haseeb Hameed fell to Dominic Leech for the second time in the match when an attempted leg glance only tickled the ball to Jonny Bairstow.
Fifteen minutes after lunch Joe Clarke played too early at Olivier and gave the bowler a low return catch. That left the home side on 61 for four and Nottinghamshire's plight was then epitomised by the downfall of their warriors. Almost immediately Mullaney fenced limply at a ball from Steven Patterson and Tom Moores lost his middle and leg stumps when trying to drive a delivery from Thompson that snaked back in to him. That was Thompson's third ball of the innings and similarly swift triumphs awaited Shutt, who ended the innings with 2 for 14 from 3.2 overs.
After the match Patterson talked warmly about the achievements of cricketers like Thompson, Shutt and Leech, who have only a handful of first-class matches between them. The skipper rightly stressed the importance of trusting the players one selects rather than leaving them to watch their colleagues play cricket. A different task of leadership awaits Mullaney and Peter Moores after their side's two defeats in the Bob Willis Trophy. But there is little time available for wound-licking. Lancashire visit Trent Bridge on Saturday.

Paul Edwards is a freelance cricket writer. He has written for the Times, ESPNcricinfo, Wisden, Southport Visiter and other publications

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