10:08pm Friday 6th June 2014
By Graham Hardcastle
Aaron Finch silenced a packed Emirates Old Trafford and fired Yorkshire to a stunning NatWest T20 Blast win over Lancashire.
The Australian T20 specialist had to contend with the loss of Andrew Gale in the first over of the 180 chase as he made 88 off 55 balls.
There was controversy at the end as Lancashire were penalised six penalty runs for not bowling their overs on time, with the target going from 15 off the last over to nine.
Jonny Bairstow’s unbeaten 19 off 13 balls proved crucial, although Rich Pyrah hit the winning runs with a six over cover point off Kabir Ali to seal a five-wicket Roses victory with three balls left.
Finch and a measured Alex Lees shared 99 for the second wicket to recover from 3-1 and win their second North Division match in four outings.
Finch even hit the Point Conference facility with a six twice in a Jordan Clark over as Yorkshire reached 128-2 after 15 overs.
Junaid Khan bowled an excellent penultimate over but the sloppy hosts were undone by their lack of awareness, although they will no doubt complain about a lengthy delay for a Tim Bresnan helmet problem.
Tom Smith smashed 55, and brought up the equal fastest fifty in Lightning T20 history off 22 balls, before captain Paul Horton’s 60 boosted the hosts to a commanding 179-6 after electing to bat.
Smith clouted Jack Brooks for a six and two fours at the start of the fourth over before hitting Pyrah for four fours from the start of the fifth as Lancashire reached the powerplay at 65-1.
Yorkshire dragged it back well through the next four overs as they only conceded 15 runs, including the dismissal of Smith brilliantly caught at long-off by a combination of Adam Lyth and Finch off Adil Rashid. Lyth parried the ball to Finch before diving over the boundary rope.
Finch later hit the Point with two monster blows before Bairstow then took 15 off Smith in the 18th over as the target became 20 off two.
Yorkshire next host Nottinghamshire in the LV= County Championship, starting at Headingley on Sunday.
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