Aaron Finch kicked off his county cricket career by helping Yorkshire Vikings claim their first win of the NatWest T20 Blast competition with a convincing eight-wicket victory over Derbyshire Falcons at Headingley.
The world’s number one T20 international batsman, who has replaced Kane Williamson while he is absent on New Zealand’s tour of West Indies, hit just 19 runs off 17 balls but helped his new employers race to victory with six overs in hand.
It was a gentle introduction to England’s version of domestic T20 cricket for Finch after Yorkshire’s attack had restricted Derbyshire to a modest 127-6.
But on the same day that another big-hitter announced his intention to play T20 cricket, with the confirmation that Andrew Flintoff is to make his comeback for Lancashire – possibly against Yorkshire next week – Finch was able to make a low-key start to his stay at Headingley.
Finch hit his third ball for a straight six down the ground off Wes Durston but was outscored by a brilliant innings of 61 off 44 balls by Alex Lees that included four fours in a row off Mark Turner.
Lees dominated a Derbyshire attack that was weakened by the absence of Tony Palladino and Tim Groenewald from their line-up after they were delayed by traffic on the M1.
The pair arrived too late to be named in the team and Lees took advantage – so much so that Finch did not face his tenth ball until the seventh over.
He was eventually out when he hit an attempted drive down the ground off Marcus North high in the air, presenting his fellow Australian with a return catch, after hitting a four and a six in his brief innings.
Derbyshire’s knock was undermined virtually from the start and they never really recovered from Stephen Moore being run out from cover by Oliver Robinson in the fourth over, hitting only 11 fours in the whole of their innings.
Yorkshire were even able to get away with a sloppy fielding display, with Jack Leaning the biggest culprit. He dropped four catches – one off his own bowling and three in the deep – while Liam Plunkett also missed a chance.
Leaning has been included in Yorkshire’s 12-man squad for their County Championship match at Northamptonshire, which starts today.
He is joined by 18-year-old seamer Josh Shaw, an England under-19 international, in the absence of Ryan Sidebottom with a hamstring strain.
Yorkshire (v Northamptonshire) from: A Gale (capt), A Lees, A Lyth, A Finch, J Bairstow (wkt), J Leaning, A Rashid, L Plunkett, R Pyrah, J Brooks, S Patterson, J Shaw.