IT WAS a case of one step forwards, two steps back for Yorkshire as they beat Lancashire and lost to Leicestershire during a crucial weekend in their NatWest T20 Blast campaign.

The Vikings are now at the point of no return.

They must beat champions Northamptonshire in their final North Group game at Headingley on Thursday and hope that other results go their way in order to qualify for the quarter-finals.

Yorkshire remain inside the all-important top four places in the group with 13 points from 13 games, but other teams have games in hand.

Also Andrew Gale’s side complete their group fixtures the night before all of other teams, leaving them with a nervous wait until Friday night.

One thing in Yorkshire’s favour is a very healthy net run-rate, the first separator should teams finish on equal points. On that basis, a win should do it, but it is not certain.

Ironically, the Vikings posted scores of 182 on successive days - 182-7 against Lancashire at a sold-out Headingley on Friday night and 182-5 against Leicestershire at Grace Road on yesterday afternoon.

They defended the first to win by 19 runs, courtesy of captain Tim Bresnan’s remarkable haul of 6-19 from four overs, the third best figures recorded by anyone in the competition.

Leicester then reeled in their 183 target with two balls to spare to win by four wickets, with Luke Ronchi and Colin Ackermann hitting fifties.

Tom Kohler-Cadmore and Shaun Marsh had earlier hit 75 and 60. Kohler-Cadmore’s 40-ball effort represented his first fifty for the county.

“I feel we’ve played well enough to get through, but we just haven’t shown consistency,” said coach Gale yesterday.

“That’s been the story of our season in all formats.

“When you look back, that’s the fourth close game we’ve lost this year. We haven’t won those close games. What’s that down to? I don’t know.

“Both Derby games, the Durham game and this - they’ve all gone to the last over, and we’ve been on the wrong end of them.”

After Bresnan claimed three of four wickets to fall in the last over on Friday as Lancashire were bowled out for 163, he could not defend seven off the last at Grace Road.

Leicester were always ahead of the game from the moment New Zealander Ronchi smashed two fours and two sixes off Azeem Rafiq to take the score to 32-0 after two overs. He reached 50 off 19 balls. 

Although Rafiq gained revenge to remove him in the eighth over to leave the score at 84-3, the hard work had been done for the hosts.

“We just couldn't build any pressure,” said Gale.

“We knew they'd come out of the blocks hard. That's the way the've played their cricket throughout the competition.

“We knew Ronchi was going to be a key wicket.

"I still believed after the power-play when we got him out that we could build enough pressure to win the game with the inexperience they have in the middle order. 

“But we kept bowling a boundary ball once or twice and over, which cost us.”

In further frustration for Gale and Yorkshire, he revealed that Pakistan overseas' wicket-keeper Sarfaraz Ahmed must return home for a national training camp later this month. 

He would miss the quarter-finals and finals day if the Vikings qualify.