Williamson: Lees is the real deal for Yorkshire

Alex Lees made a T20 career-best 67 off 44 balls against Derbyshire

Alex Lees made a T20 career-best 67 off 44 balls against Derbyshire

First published in Sport

KANE Williamson has hailed the form of Yorkshire young gun Alex Lees in this summer’s NatWest T20 Blast.

Lees has earned the praise of the classy New Zealand batsman having scored 284 runs from eight matches, including two half-centuries against Derbyshire. The left-hander is the county’s leading Twenty20 run-scorer.

It is a haul which has helped the Vikings close in on a quarter-final place, something a win over Birmingham Bears at Headingley tonight would secure.

Lees, 21, and Williamson batted together briefly during Sunday’s win over Derby at Chesterfield. They shared 36 for the second wicket before Lees recorded a career-best 67 off 44 balls.

“That innings was unbelievable, and he has done it consistently, which is the most pleasing thing for him and the team,” said Williamson.

“When he came to the crease, I was just happy to get the ones and give him the strike. I was in the best seat to watch.

“It’s a great thing for a young player. His four-day game is obviously going very well, so to be able to adapt and do it so quickly in a different format is extremely positive going forward.”

Yorkshire have put themselves in a great position to qualify for the last eight for the second time in three seasons thanks to successive wins over Durham and Derby within three days.

Williamson returned to the team to open after international duty in the West Indies, including captaining the Kiwis in two T20 internationals, and he described the Yorkshire wins as “very clinical”.

“They were two surfaces which were somewhat different, but the way we adapted and played smart cricket was something which we took out of both games,” he added.

“The thing you need to be in this format day in and day out is extremely brave and confident, particularly with the bat, because you have to keep playing your shots whatever the situation.

“I think that would be a major positive for our team from the last two games after a couple of slow ones while I was away.”

Williamson will return to LV= County Championship action against Middlesex at Scarborough tomorrow, replacing Australian Aaron Finch. The first day starts at noon, not 11am.

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