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Yorkshire eyeing t20 quarter-finals
Yorkshire eased past Roses rivals Lancashire at Headingley last night to move to the brink of qualification for the Friends Life t20 quarter-finals with a 19-run success.
David Miller and Gary Ballance set up an imposing score of 180-6 with a record fifth-wicket stand of 91 in only 43 balls to recover from 86-4 after 13 overs.
Miller and Ballance scored 54 off 30 balls and 42 off 23 respectively as they took the Lightning attack apart in the closing stages of their innings.
Pakistan international Yasir Arafat suffered the most as he went for 55 from his four overs, the most expensive spell in Lancashire’s history.
And a fifth win from six North Division matches was secured – and top spot retained – as Yorkshire restricted their rivals to 161-5 from 20 overs. Mitchell Starc yet again led the way with figures of 2-21 from four overs.
The White Rose were on the back foot after they had been invited to bat first by Glen Chapple.
Adam Lyth fell to Arafat and Joe Root to Chapple, leaving the score at 39-2 in the sixth.
Phil Jaques hit five fours and a six in a sprightly 40 off 28 balls, but was amazed to be given run out by umpire Jeff Evans after Steven Croft’s direct hit at the non-striker’s end as he came back for the second.
And when Gary Keedy removed Jonny Bairstow, released to play by England, the hosts were 84-4.
But that brought Miller and Ballance together as they stunned the visitors and entertained a vocal home crowd of 10,350 with some ferocious hitting.
Between them, they whacked ten fours and four sixes. Miller hit three of them, including a reverse sweep off Keedy’s left-arm spin.
Starc bowled Stephen Moore around his legs in the second over before Smith holed out off Rich Pyrah in the sixth over.
Karl Brown (46) and Croft added 82 inside ten overs for the third wicket, but they rarely looked like getting ahead of the rate thanks to some impressive bowling from Moin Ashraf and Azeem Rafiq, who claimed a wicket apiece.
It left the visitors needing 33 off the last two overs and 27 off the last, in which Starc had Croft caught at mid-off for a top-score of 56 off 49. Yorkshire’s next match is against Nottinghamshire, their closest rivals, at Trent Bridge on Thursday.
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