David Hopps writes on county cricket for ESPNcricinfo @davidkhopps
Yorkshire 191 for 5 (Brook 83*, Thompson 66*, Pennington 4-24) beat Worcestershire 179 for 5 (Wessels 77, Cox 61*) by 12 runs
Sometimes it is not just about talent, it is about desire. Rarely has that been more apparent than in the way that the up-and-coming Yorkshire pair of Jordan Thompson and Harry Brook transformed a calamitous position to claim victory on an improbable record-breaking night in the Vitality Blast.
Their stand of 141 in 56 balls was the highest sixth-wicket partnership in the history of the Blast and the second highest-ever in the world for that wicket, dwarfed only by the 161 shared by Andre Russell and Kennar Lewis for Jamaica Tallawahs against Trinbago Knight Riders in Port of Spain three years ago.
But it was not just about an extraordinary statistic, it was about the message it conveyed. That Thompson and Brook are players brimming with promise is known throughout Yorkshire, to some extent beyond. But this was the night they came of age and, as they did, they questioned some enfeebled batting that had gone before.
"Everything seemed in slow motion," said Thompson, thereby taking the opposite view to those of us who just got to watch it and thought everything felt speeded up.
T20 matches are, by their nature, unstable, but the pair's refusal to yield was quite something. When Thompson joined Brook, they were 50 for 5 after 10.5 overs and that fifty had been met with derisive cheers. Dillon Pennington, strong and purposeful, had taken four wickets in his first eight balls for Worcestershire, including a triple-wicket maiden.
Worcestershire have figured in some insipid Powerplays on successive nights. On Tuesday, they scraped 20 for 4 against Notts, only posted 86 for 8 and lost in 6.2 overs. This time it was they who restricted Yorkshire to 18 for 4, but they still took another beating.
Yorkshire were not just without their England trio of Jonny Bairstow, Dawid Malan and David Wiley, they lacked Tom Kohler-Cadmore, who had fractured a finger keeping wicket, and Will Fraine, who had strained his side while range-hitting in practice 24 hours before the game. In the way Yorkshire started their innings, it felt as if there was an underlying sense of pessimism.
From there, Brook smashed 83 not out off 54 balls and Thompson 66 from 28, career-best scores for players who only had one T20 half-century each at start of play. They rallied Yorkshire to 191 for 5, and when Worcestershire fell 12 runs short, a fifth victory in seven took them to the top of North Group. Unless other top-order batters capture their mood, they may need their slender points cushion ahead of fifth place, although a long tail will help.
Pennington removed Adam Lyth, Jonny Tattersall and Gary Ballance in his first over - a triple-wicket maiden in the third of the match - and then trapped Joe Root lbw for 1 in his next. Root fell to a decent inswinger, but the rest lacked conviction: Lyth (his rampant start to the season a distant memory) slicing to third man; Tattersall, playing his first game since being loaned out to Gloucestershire, dragging a pull to short midwicket when a cut shot would have been a better option; and Ballance, strangely ineffectual in T20 and often overlooked as a result, pulling his third ball to deep square leg.
Brook,initially looking slight and wan, might easily have joined them. He was dropped on 2 by Riki Wessels at midwicket and had only 6 from 19 balls when he came to life and gratefully struck an innings-saving half volley from Barnard over long off for six.
It was when he was joined by Thompson, however, that belief flooded into Yorkshire's batting. Brook's ability can need enticing out at times, but Thompson's capability flares on the surface for all to see. His head might have lifted now and then, and maybe the ball did not always fly exactly where he planned, but he relished the fight and his backswing brooked no argument.
They peppered the ball to all parts, a sense of desperation insisting they just played by instinct. Thompson took 17 from five balls from Pennington, 21 coming from his last over. Every Worcestershire bowler was emphatically broken in turn and 28 came from the last from Charlie Morris, the innings ending when Ish Sodhi, who was surprisingly limited to two overs, dived over one at extra cover.
Worcestershire's innings possessed far more sanity, but it was not a night when sanity prevailed. Wessels tried his best to atone for the earlier catching error with a season's-best 77 in all competitions. From 50 for 3 in the eighth over, he shared 68 in seven overs with captain Ben Cox, but when he was yorked by Matthew Fisher at 118 for 4 in the 15th, the game titled towards Yorkshire.
Lockie Ferguson leaked 20 from the penultimate over, leaving Fisher to defend 23 from the last, and, although Cox finished 61 not out, he did so comfortably enough. "I think we had a pretty good game," said Pennington, loyally, understandably not wanting his own wonderful night to be ruined.