Spin key to Tykes success
The value of slow bowlers in the high-speed form of cricket was again underlined as Durham made a disastrous start to their Twenty20 Cup campaign at Headingley last night.
Yorkshire coasted to an eight-wicket victory after restricting Durham to a total of 121 for eight with Richard Dawson and Darren Lehmann taking four for 33 between them in eight overs in mid-innings.
On a pitch with pace and bounce a total of 160 was the minimum requirement and Durham's feeble effort made it a poor spectacle for a disappointing crowd of 4,884.
Despite poor light, Yorkshire were not unduly handicapped after choosing to bat second as they raced home with 22 balls to spare. Lehmann's unbeaten 37 meant he was unrivalled for the Man of the Match award.
Perhaps those who like the fast-food version of the game found some pleasure in it, but to anyone who prefers more leisurely, high-quality fare it was as depressing as a visit to a burger bar.
There wasn't even a dash of Mustard to spice things up as Durham's best hope of some swashbuckling strokes, wicketkeeper Phil Mustard, surrendered second ball.
Put in to bat, Durham were 71 for three after ten overs, but with the help of a second run-out it became 99 for eight and only 14 runs came off five overs before the last one yielded 11 with the help of two edged fours.
Gordon Muchall, left out of Durham's C & G Trophy team for the last five games after three successive single figure scores, was sent in to open and was the only top six batsman to reach double figures.
Relying mainly on authentic strokes, he had seven high-class boundaries in his 46 off 40 balls, but the next highest scorer was Callum Thorp with 13.
Thorp swept the only six of the innings off Lehmann before becoming the third batsman to surrender to the left-arm dross purveyed by his fellow Australian.
Gary Pratt tried to reverse sweep Lehmann's first ball and helped it into his stumps, Gareth Breese turned a good-length ball into a yorker and when Thorp swotted a catch to mid-wicket Lehmann was left with three for 19.
Durham decided not to risk Ottis Gibson after having an injecton in his damaged wrist, although he could play in tonight's match at Trent Bridge.
In his absence the two most likely swift scorers were Jimmy Maher and Mustard, but after 19 balls of the innings both had departed.
Maher cut and pulled two fours but went down the pitch in the third over and edged a short ball from Deon Kruis to wicketkeeper Gerard Brophy.
Mustard scampered a single off the first ball he faced then drove the first ball of the fourth over straight into mid-off's hands.
That brought in Dale Benkenstein with the score on 17 for two, but his hopes of bringing some sensible ballast to the innings vanished with an unfortunate run out.
After playing the ball behind point for a single he saw a wild throw evade Brophy and turned to go back for a second. But Muchall declined, probably correctly, and Benkenstein failed to beat Anthony McGrath's throw from mid-wicket.
Yorkshire preferred Scarborough College product Chris Gilbert to Matt Wood, while Mitch Claydon was included as neither Tim Bresnan nor Matthew Hoggard was available.
Jason Gillespie opened up with three dot balls, although the third was a bouncer which ought to have been signalled wide by Trevor Jesty.
Muchall took a single off the fourth ball and Maher cut the fifth for four, then Muchall pulled Claydon's first ball for four just out of the diving Andrew Gale's reach at backward square leg.
It was the closest Muchall came to giving a chance until he was fifth out with the score on 74 in the 12th over, slicing Dawson to backward point.
Any chance of a respectable total went with him, and given that there was no need to hurry it was foolish of Michael Lumb to get out in the third over of the reply.
He had already taken three fours off the over from Neil Killeen to reach 17 but got carried away and drove a catch to mid-off.
With the help of a bouncer from Thorp, which soared high over Mustard for four byes, Yorkshire were 44 for one after four overs, when Mick Lewis came on.
Lehmann pulled his first and third balls for four and cut the sixth fiercely to the rope, but Lewis was happier bowling at White and conceded only three off his next eight balls before the Yorkshire captain clipped him through mid-wicket for four.
But White departed for 25 in the next over, making it 72 for two in the tenth, when he lifted Breese to Muchall on the mid-wicket boundary.
Yorkshire were only four runs ahead of Durham's total at the mid-innings point, but the one-day expertise of Lehmann and Anthony McGrath meant there was little danger of a repeat of Durham's collapse.
In Lewis's fourth and final over McGrath pulled him for a six, which struck a boy in the face, causing a seven-minute delay as the light grew even worse. But only 38 were needed off nine overs at that stage and there was little left-arm spinner Graeme Bridge could do about it on his belated introduction.
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