Yorkshire 183 for 5 (Brook 72, Kohler-Cadmore 67) tied with Lancashire 183 for 7 (Salt 59)
Neither the frequently overcast skies nor the late May appointment to chill made a scruple of difference. This may not have been the hot summer’s night beloved of Meatloaf and connoisseurs of these unique occasions but both crowd and players know what is expected of them. And although we also missed the advancing darkness that so often adds to the drama of short-form cricket in England, maybe that was for the best, too. For in a last over that was frenetic and absurd even by the standards of these encounters Lancashire managed to tie with Yorkshire when Richard Gleeson trapped Harry Brook leg before wicket for 72 with the last ball of the 20th over when the Vikings required just one scampered single to win a T20 match at Emirates Old Trafford for the first time since 2014. It is the third tie between the sides in 33 short-form matches.
And, of course, it shouldn’t have been a tie at all. The pockets of Yorkshire supporters among the 14, 000 crowd and the affluent ones draping White Rose banners from the Hilton Garden Hotel will tell you that. For after losing their first three wickets for 56 runs inside the first eight overs, Yorkshire had kept pace with a tough asking rate thanks entirely to a splendid third-wicket stand of 115 between Tom Kohler-Cadmore and Brook. Lancashire’s fielders had dropped the pair, Kohler-Cadmore being spilled by Liam Livingstone when only 14 in the second over. Another 13 runs were needed off the last over but Lancastrian indiscipline – Gleeson bowled a high full toss when Yorkshire needed six off two balls – and eased matters outrageously. A scrambled two had left Brook needing one run and Brook has middled almost every shot he’s played this season…So how the chuffin’ ‘ell did he fail on this occasion?
And, of course, it shouldn’t have been a tie at all. The vast majority of the home crowd belting out the anthems as though it was the Last Night of the Proms will tell you that. Lancashire’s bowlers had never really let Kohler-Cadmore and Brook off the leash. Gleeson should have defended 13 off six and certainly 10 off three. But Shadab Khan squeezed his first ball for four and then Gleeson clearly laboured under the illusion he was a baseball pitcher. (He wasn’t alone; Luke Wood had bowled a similar full toss.) Thank God he’d managed to bowl a straight one last up.
But it was that sort of evening. Both sides could be relieved and both disappointed. Supporters of both teams, sated with drama and fluctuation, were left wondering how the hell it had come to this.
Well…some three hours later, before the sun got in everyone’s eyes, Lancashire’s powerplay had galloped along at a sprightly all-but-ten runs an over, which is more or less the par for this particular course on this particular evening. The only wicket to fall in those first six overs was that of Keaton Jennings, who made 19 off 14 balls before driving Matthew Revis into the midriff of Adam Lyth at mid-on. Given that he had been deposited over long-on for six by Phil Salt a few balls previously, Revis’s clenched-fist joy was understandable.
Steven Croft made 13 before perishing in the deep to Adil Rashid but one had the feeling – this is showbiz on grass after all – that Jennings and Croft were the warm-up acts for Livingstone and Tim David, Lancashire’s Singaporean big hitter and a man who has never played a game of first-class cricket in all his spit. To a degree, that under-card instinct proved to be well-founded. Livingstone managed just one six in his 16-ball 23 but David smote three maximums deep into the stands and both energised the Emirates Old Trafford crowd. Livingstone, who only arrived back from the IPL on Thursday, helped Salt add 45 in five overs for the third wicket before he was caught at long-on by Brook off Jordan Thompson.
Two overs later Salt was run out by Thompson’s throw from the deep but batting in T20 matches has become something of a relay exercise in which it is not a baton that is passed on as much as a bludgeon. As long as a batter doesn’t eat up balls, his indiscretions are, to a degree, tolerated. So Salt’s 59 in his maiden T20 innings for Lancashire and a bit of late-order whacking by Danny Lamb hoisted the total to 183. Home supporters of a statistical bent will have noted that Lancashire have won 80% of their home T20 games whenever they’ve scored above 168. Then again, what about the 20%…?
Yorkshire’s pursuit nearly matched Lancashire’s in the Powerplay overs but it seemed crucial when they lost two wickets, both to Wood, in the first five overs. Dawid Malan was caught behind when swiping and Lyth was bowled when making room to work the ball away. Wood had also conceded 22 runs off his first two overs but his part in the game was not yet done. Joe Root made three off four balls before swinging the third ball of Matt Parkinson’s spell to the safe hands of the ex-Nottinghamshire man at deep square leg. That left Yorkshire poorly placed in the seventh over but Kohler-Cadmore and Brook consolidated and then accelerated. Kohler-Cadmore took 50 balls over his 67 before being run out off the last ball of the nineteenth over; Brook hit three sixes in his 72 and perhaps a few Yorkshire supporters thought he would take them home. The crowd settled for the last over and wondered which side would prevail; they little guessed it would be neither.
Paul Edwards is a freelance cricket writer. He has written for the Times, ESPNcricinfo, Wisden, Southport Visiter and other publications