Yorkshire Vikings made it two wins out of two in this season’s NatWest T20 Blast by beating Notts Outlaws by 6 wickets at Trent Bridge.
Set to score 144, the visitors chased down their target with seven balls to spare, with their captain, Andrew Gale, leading from the front with an unbeaten 68
Gale scored his runs from 55 balls, hitting 5 boundaries and a six and in the process he became the first Yorkshire batsman to pass 2,000 runs in T20 cricket.
Earlier, the Outlaws posted 143 for seven after being asked to bat first, with Samit Patel top-scoring with 41, made from 27 deliveries, with two fours and a couple of maximums.
The home side clearly missed the absent Alex Hales, away on Indian Premier League duty, whilst Yorkshire gave a debut to Australia’s World Cup winner Glenn Maxwell, whose commitments in the same tournament had come to an end.
Notts had seemed well set to post a sizeable score at the halfway stage of their innings, with 75 for three already on the board but Liam Plunkett, who finished with two for 18 from his four overs, then had James Taylor caught behind by Jonny Bairstow for only 3.
Riki Wessels and Brendan Taylor had fallen inside the first six powerplay overs, both to catches in the deep by Matthew Fisher. The 17 year old dived bravely to gather a top edge at third man off Wessels then had some good fortune in the next over when Taylor’s loft appeared to lodge in his clothing as he slid to make up the ground.
Patel hit both Rich Pyrah and Maxwell for sixes but once he’d fallen, also nicking through to Bairstow after being beaten by the flight and bounce of Adil Rashid, Steven Mullaney was left to muster as many as he could from the closing overs.
He muscled his way to 38 from 28 balls, before being run out looking for a second from the final ball of the innings. Mullaney’s versatile knock included a ramped four off Fisher and another six over extra cover off Maxwell, who finished with nought for 31.
Although Harry Gurney bowled a maiden at the start of the Vikings reply, Gale and Andrew Hodd were quickly into their stride and added 61 for the first wicket in 8.3 overs.
The stand was broken when Hodd drilled a Patel half volley into the hands of James Taylor at extra cover, for 22, and Alex Lees went in similar fashion in the next over, hitting Mullaney, who finished with two for 27, to the same fielder.
Jonny Bairstow fell victim to the second unusual catch of the evening. The England international skied the ball high over his head and a collision between Brendan Taylor and Luke Fletcher appeared inevitable as both charged for the dropping ball, which somehow bobbled off Taylor’s body and into his gloves.
Gale passed his 50 from 43 deliveries and remained to see his side over the finishing line, winning the match with a six off Sam Wood, although Maxwell wasn’t there to accompany him, after falling for a quickfire 20, which included two mighty maximums of his own.
Mike Newell, Notts director of cricket, said: “Lots of things didn’t go our way. We didn’t get things right tonight.
“It was a slightly disappointing performance but that’s the nature of T20
“I’ve said all along that you aren’t going to win 14 out of 14 , you just have to make sure you win the majority of your matches.
“They squeezed us in the first few overs, although the scores at the end of the powerplay overs were identical but the fact we’d lost two wickets was quite costly, especially Brendan and Riki, two explosive players so that was a costly loss there.
“If you don’t get wickets early yourself, you feel you are always hanging on to the game rather than dominating it and we were only ever hanging on.”