Royal London Cup: Yorkshire v Surrey - Misery for Yorkshire as they miss out on Lord's final yet again in Headingley defeat
Three wickets in nine balls at a cost of two runs for Stuart Meaker tore the heart out of Yorkshire's batting at Headingley and sent Surrey through to the final of the Royal London One-Day Cup at Lord's.
A century for man-of-the-match Steven Davies and 90 from Ben Foakes left Yorkshire Vikings chasing a 256 target and although they recovered well after Meaker’s dramatic intervention, thanks to a brave 68 from Tim Bresnan, the task was just beyond them and they were bowled out for 236 to lose by 19 runs with seven balls remaining.
Surrey now have the chance to avenge last season’s final defeat by Gloucestershire but for Yorkshire it was the second consecutive year that they have stumbled at the last-four stage.
It also continued a depressing run of semi-final reverses in List A cricket for Yorkshire, who have now lost 17 times out of 20 on such occasions since 1979.
Captain Alex Lees admitted - combined with defeat in last week’s T20 Blast semi-final to Durham Jets - Yorkshire hadn’t been good enough to progress in either game.
“I think we are all gutted to lose because we have played some great white ball cricket this season,” said Lees. “But when it has mattered in two semi-finals over the past week we have not been good enough.
“I thought it was a reachable target and we needed some contributions from the top five and this didn’t happen. All credit to the Surrey bowlers who kept going.”
Lees was also quick to praise the efforts of Bresnan, adding: “He has won three or four games single-handed for us and has been exceptional both with the bat and ball. His big contribution almost got us there. When we look back it will have been a positive season but you still don’t want to lose two semi-finals.”
Yorkshire lost Adam Lyth to Jade Dernbach in their third over and after skipper, Alex Lees, had played some solid strokes in reaching 26 he was bowled driving at his opposite number, Gareth Batty.
At 74-2 in 19 overs, however, Yorkshire were still handily placed until Meaker, bowling from the football end, began his lethal burst.
Jonny Bairstow, released by England for the match, drove gently to Dominic Sibley at mid-wicket; Gary Ballance was caught behind trying to flick over the top of the slips and Jack Leaning dragged into his leg-stump.
The slide to 81-5 was halted by Bresnan and 20-year-old all-rounder, Matthew Waite, who enjoyed a fine match in which he earlier captured three wickets and then scored 38 in an enterprising stand of 80 in 16 overs with his senior partner.
Waite survived a confident appeal for a catch off Batty’s bowling but in the next over from Sam Curran he drove into Batty’s hands at mid-on. Bresnan and Will Rhodes kept the hopes of the 4,836 crowd alive with a busy stand of 46 which ended at 207 in the 45th over when Rhodes played to backward point and set off for a single but was beaten by Tom Curran’s direct hit on the stumps at the bowler’s end.
Bresnan and Azeem Rafiq continued to battle hard, but when Tom Curran sent back both Rafiq and Steven Patterson in the 48th over to make it 236-9 the task was just beyond Yorkshire and the match ended when Bresnan drove Dernbach to Sibley at long-off, his 68 coming off 82 balls with two fours and a six.
Put in to bat, Surrey found themselves on eight for two by the third over, with Kumar Sangakkara one of the wickets to fall, but the early setbacks did not unsettle Davies whose 104 followed consecutive Championship scores of 117, 52 and 56 against Yorkshire this season.
Jack Brooks, in his first List A match of the summer, struck in the day’s second over as Dibley shaped to play to leg but missed and was lbw. Sangakkara was quick of the mark, cutting Bresnan for four, but in the same over the Sri Lankan drove loosely to Rafiq in the covers.
Davies, however, made smooth progress with some splendidly timed shots through the covers, taking boundaries off consecutive balls from Brooks, and he hit 34 of the first 48 runs scored.
But at 61-2 in 14 overs, Waite joined the attack and his first delivery was flicked casually to long leg by Burns for Patterson to hold a good catch dropping to his knees.
It should have been an even more memorable over for Waite but three balls later Davies, on 43, drove back past the bowler’s hands and the chance went begging.
Had Davies gone then, Surrey would have been in big trouble but they were rescued by Davies’ and Foakes’ partnership of 130, the visitors’ highest for the fourth wicket in List A cricket against Yorkshire and beating the 110 by Monty Lynch and Andrew Needham at Bradford in 1985.
Davies, having reached his half-century from 57 deliveries, continued to time the ball to perfection, hooking Bresnan for four and on-driving Rafiq for six while Foakes moved smartly to his own 50 from 51 balls, the stand entering three figures in 21 overs.
A single to Davies off Patterson took him to his century off 112 balls with ten fours and a six, but four runs later he hit a low full toss from Waite straight to Rhodes on the mid-wicket boundary.
Surrey were 191-4 in the 39th over and they lost much of their momentum in the last dozen overs or so, Sam Curran going for 16 when he was bowled by Waite in a futile and ungainly attempt to scoop the ball round the corner.
Waite’s figures of three for 48 were Yorkshire’s best of the day and at the end of his stint he received warm and prolonged applause from the appreciative crowd.
Foakes struck Bresnan high over long on for six but was denied a century when a ramp shot went wrong and he was caught by Brooks for 90 from 100 balls with seven fours to go alongside his big hit.
Surrey debutant, Ollie Pope, was run out for 20 off the last ball of an innings which never quite blossomed as much as it might of done, although it may never have bloomed at all but for Davies and Foakes.
As it happened (the last 10 overs) ...
49.5 overs - WICKET - GAME OVER - Bresnan hits high full tos down the throat of Sibley at long-off from the bowling of Jake Dernbach - Bresnan dismissed for 68. Surrey win by 19 runs
48 overs: WICKET - Yorkshire 234-9 - Steve Patterson goes first ball, ball stopped on him and he just looped a catch up to Sangakarra at mid on.
47. 3 overs: WICKET - Yorkshire 231-8 - Rafiq hits full toss down to long on where he is caught by Burns off Tom Curran - Steven Patterson joins Bresnan who is 64 no
47 overs: Yorkshire 229-7 - Another good over Yorkshire, good running once again - Bresnan 64 no; Rafiq 5 no. 27 needed off 18 balls
46 overs: Yorkshire 222 -7 - Good over for Yorkshire, 143 runs including big six over long on from Bresnan and some cracking running between the wickets; Bresnan 62 no; Rafiq 2 no
45 overs: Yorkshire 209- 7 - Two runs off the last ball brings up 50 for Bresnan, who is joined at the crease by Azeem Rafiq - Bresnan, 51 no; Rafiq 0 no 44.5 overs: WICKET Yorkshire 207-7 - Rhodes run out from direct hit by ???? at backward point. Rhodes hesitated slightly before setting off and it proved costly
44 overs: Yorkshire 202-6 - Bresnan 47 no; Rhodes 21 no - 54 needed off 36 balls. Surrey bowling nice and tight, making it difficult for both Bresnan and Rhodes to get them away.
43 overs: Yorkshire 193-6 - Bresnan 44 no; Rhodes 15 no - 63 off 41 needed
42 overs: Yorkshire 188-6 - Bresnan 42 no; Rhodes 12 no- 68 needed off 48 balls
41 overs: Yorkshire 179-6 - Bresnan 37 no; Rhodes 10 no - 77 needed
40 overs: Yorkshire 173-6 - Bresnan 36 no; Rhodes 4no - 83 runs needed