Steelbacks' winning T20 start ends as Vikings sail to comfortable success

Ricardo Vasconcelos (photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)Ricardo Vasconcelos (photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
Ricardo Vasconcelos (photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
Northamptonshire Steelbacks saw their winning start to the Vitality Blast come to an end as Yorkshire Vikings claimed a 29-run victory at Wantage Road.

Jordan Thompson claimed three wickets in 18 miserly overs and hit a crucial quickfire 20 as the Vikings inflicted a comprehensive defeat on their hosts.

Dom Bess and Matt Revis also shared two wickets apiece as the Vikings restricted the Steelbacks to 157 for eight chasing 187 to win.

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Ravi Bopara had kept the hosts in the hunt with 35 to follow bowling figures of four for 34, and Ricardo Vasconcelos made 37, but with wickets falling regularly, the momentum was all with the Vikings.

Former England T20 team-mates Joe Root (35) and Dawid Malan (41) got Yorkshire off to an explosive start, putting on 67 in 8.1 overs before the Vikings faltered to 100 for four in the 13th over.

But a record fifth-wicket partnership for Yorkshire against Northamptonshire of 64 between Shan Masood and Dom Bess and some power hitting in the final over from Thompson helped them up to 186 for six.

Earlier, Root went on the offensive immediately against Ben Sanderson, striking him for consecutive boundaries, before whipping him over deep midwicket and hooking David Willey to fine leg.

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Malan was also locating the ropes and with Root on driving Sanderson for four off the final ball of the powerplay, Yorkshire were well placed at 55 without loss.

Root’s departure came in dramatic style though as he slogged Bopara towards cow corner and picked out George Bartlett who held the ball, throwing it up as momentum carried him over the rope, before stepping back onto the pitch to complete the catch.

Bopara picked up his second wicket with the next delivery when he found some seam movement to bowl James Wharton.

Donovan Ferreira smashed two huge sixes over deep midwicket off consecutive balls from Bopara but skied his next delivery to Matthew Breetzke at long-off.

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Malan meanwhile struck the scoreboard as he hit Bopara down the ground for six, but the bowler had the last laugh again as Malan was bowled stepping away.

Incoming batter Bess was busy from the outset, taking 12 runs off Sikander Raza, including a switch hit for four, while Masood sent spinner Freddie Heldreich’s first two deliveries to the ropes and powered George Scrimshaw high over long-on for six.

Bess took consecutive boundaries off the 18th over, bowled by Willey, while Masood hit Scrimshaw for six in the penultimate over, the tall paceman had Bess caught at mid-off.

Thompson started an eventful final over by striking Willey for four and a six over long-on before he was dropped by Bartlett in the deep.

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Thompson garnered one more maximum before he was caught to give Willey his 299th T20 wicket.

For the Steelbacks, Vasconcelos targeted Dan Moriarty, dispatching him down the ground for six and four off consecutive deliveries.

But fellow opener Breetzke (11) swung and missed and was comprehensively bowled with the Steelbacks finishing the powerplay on 43 for one.

With the required run rate rapidly rising above 10 and Root proving difficult to get away, Vasconcelos eventually deployed the reverse sweep before swinging Bess high over deep square for six.

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If Willey had hopes of finishing his 100th T20 game for Northamptonshire with a big score, they were dashed when he picked out Root on the long-off boundary off Bess.

The former England spinner soon had a second when Vasconcelos was caught by Revis running in from the square-leg boundary.

Saif Zaib kept the Steelbacks in the chase with a big six swung off his hip behind square off Jafer Chohan, but his stay was brief as he skied one from Thompson, the bowler himself taking the catch as he ran towards square leg.

Two balls later, Thompson accounted for Raza when he hit down the ground and was caught by Root at long-off.

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Bopara hit Moriarty over long-off for six and pulled Chohan for four to take the Steelbacks past 100 in the 14th over, before blasting an enormous six off Revis over the food stalls at cow corner.

Lewis McManus too took the attack to Revis, hitting a maximum into the car park at the Abington Avenue end.

It took a special piece of fielding to dismiss Bopara when he swung Moriarty off his hip, only for Thompson to take a spectacular diving catch, running in from the deep square leg boundary.

Bartlett then fell cheaply to Thompson with the ball this time.

McManus hit Revis for consecutive fours, but departed for a spirited 26 off just 14 balls, caught by Moriarty off Revis as Yorkshire closed in on victory.

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