Harry Brook has a Blast in Yorkshire's T20 Roses triumph over Lancashire
Harry Brook’s career best unbeaten 91 off 50 balls and a Lockie Ferguson hat-trick gave Yorkshire a rare Vitality Blast victory over Lancashire that all but secured quarter-final qualification.
Brook’s average in this season’s Blast stands at a staggering 115.75 from 10 innings after his sixth unbeaten effort royally entertained the 4,000 strong Emerald Headingley crowd, pushing the Vikings to 180 for four.
The Lightning then responded with a battling 171 for eight, recovering from 70 for four to require 20 from last over.
But New Zealand quick Ferguson claimed wickets with the last three balls to seal a nine-run success and consign the Lightning to a fifth defeat in 11 games.
For Yorkshire, a seventh win in 11 moved them to 15 points - a total widely accepted as the qualification mark. This was their first Roses Blast win since 2017.
Yorkshire, having elected to bat, lost Mark Stoneman and Jordan Thompson to fall to 30 for two in the fifth over before Brook and captain Adam Lyth shared 77 inside nine.
Lyth’s 52 off 40 balls represented his first 50 of the 2021 Blast. Brook is the competition’s leading run-scorer with 463 and has the best average.
From 107 for two in the 14th over, Lancashire dragged things back admirably. But 20 runs came off Matthew Parkinson in the 17th, including two sixes over long-on for Brook, to take the hosts to 140 for four and herald late fireworks.
On a day which saw a host of Hundred signings announced, 22-year-old Brook, a Northern Supercharger for a couple of months now, proved he could be one to watch in the competition.
He hit the first three balls of the last over from Saqib Mahmood for four, giving his side momentum at halfway.
Lyth’s off-spin bowled Kiwi Finn Allen following an ugly slog-sweep in the second over - 13 for one - to strengthen Yorkshire’s grip on what would be a first quarter-final appearance since 2016.
Matthew Waite and Ferguson also ousted Alex Davies and Dane Vilas inside the power play - 34 for three.
Given the Lightning’s recent batting struggles in 20-over cricket, it was difficult to see a way back.
But Jones and Steven Croft, with 41, superbly shared 85 to give their side hope from 70 for four in the 11th over. Unbeaten Jones top-scored with 61.
Ferguson, however, had Luke Wells and Tom Hartley caught either side of bowling Luke Wood to seal victory in style with Yorkshire’s first T20 hat-trick.
Lancashire’s captain Vilas said: “We’re very disappointed we lost, it’s tough. These games are huge and we need to start winning them. We’re putting pressure on ourselves.
“Saying that, it was an unbelievable fight all the way through from Rob Jones and Steven Croft to get us so close in the end.
“Unfortunately we left them with a bit too much work to do at the back end. Jonesy is bitterly disappointed but he was unbelievable.
“We have three games left and we know we need to win all three. And hopefully we can avenge this defeat at Old Trafford.”
Lancashire slip to sixth in the nine-team division and their next T20 game is at home to Norhtamptonshire Steelbacks next Friday. Before then they return to County Championship mode on Sunday, when Kent visit Old Trafford.