Inventive, outrageous cameo ends Yorkshire hopes after Gary Ballance puts Sussex under pressure
Sussex 178 for 5 (Wright 54, Rashid 27*, Thompson 3-28) beat Yorkshire 177 for 7 (Kohler-Cadmore 55, Ballance 55, Mills 3-39) by five wickets
Inventive, outrageous, and a reminder that Rashid is one of T20’s great crowd-pleasers: it was quite a finale. His unbeaten 27 from nine balls included two sixes, one almost miraculously pushed back into the field of play by Jordan Thompson, another thrashed straight back past him. With 22 needed from two overs, Rashid then tipped the balance with three successive boundaries against David Willey, the maddest of them a full toss flicked on the stoop over square leg. Chris Jordan hauled Matt Fisher over square leg to finish it.
Rashid, not available for Sussex for Finals Day, said: “Thanks to the coaching staff for sending me in early to finish the game. I think they bowled where I wanted. Even I don’t know [where it’s going] when I hit the ball. I just try to hit it strong.”
This Yorkshire side has been their most adept for years at T20 cricket. Forced to play their home quarter on a neutral ground at Chester-le-Street because of preparations for the Headingley Test, they brought the boundaries in to an extent that some found absurd, but they could not bring in the victory with it. Dreaming of a treble a few weeks ago, they are now left with an outside chance of the Championship and would probably have to win all four games.
Yorkshire’s 177 for 7 put Sussex under pressure. Sussex’s strength is in their bowling and, as if to exaggerate that, their selection appears to leave them a batter light – there were few other options than to promote Rashid up to No. 6. A strong start felt essential but even though Wright and Phil Salt provided it with 72 from 8.3 overs they always felt up against it.
Yorkshire were ragged in the field and both openers benefited. Matthew Waite, who had a particularly clumsy night, missed Salt’s top edge at fine leg, as he raced back, by a distance when the batter was 5. Wright’s escape came on 31, a colossal skier which Yorkshire happily left to the man with the gloves, Harry Duke, who barely laid them on it.
Lenham was the quickest and spun it the most among the Sussex trio. Wright gave him the second over. Lyth decided to impose himself against a raw kid, skipped down the pitch and miscued to mid-on where Jordan flung himself low to his right to take a catch to justify the captain’s gambit.
By the end of Yorkshire’s innings, Lenham had exemplary figures of 1 for 19 in three overs – further lustre in his debut season – his only blemish two successive leg-side sweep-ups in his third over for Ballance when he failed to find the googly he wanted.
Ballance was Yorkshire’s redeeming feature with 55 from 37 balls. It’s been a while since the Ballance fan club demanded his England Test recall and that should be enough of an excuse. It is doubtful whether he has played as certainly all season. He was ignored for the Hundred, and there was little sense of building form in the 50-over competition. But he carried the fight with solid, determined blows against spin and seam alike. With five overs left, he scented destruction against George Garton but picked out deep midwicket.
Kohler-Cadmore’s 55 from 49 balls was out of character for such a freewheeling batter – at the midway stage he had 11 from 21 balls after a fair bit of playing and missing. He was also fortunate not to be given out caught at the wicket when 1. A straight drive against Garton, in the 16th over, was arguably his first convincing attacking shot.
Successive sixes against Jordan, driven full toss followed by a crafty uppercut, gave him his slowest T20 fifty. He fell seven balls from the end, Salt tanking after a top-edge against Mills to hold a catch five metres in from the rope. It felt like an Outcome Knock – to be praised if Yorkshire won, censured if they lost. Instead, about an hour-and-a-half later, it was largely forgotten – the impudence of Rashid attracting all the attention.
David Hopps writes on county cricket for ESPNcricinfo @davidkhopps