The death of Tom Maynard cast a dark shadow over today's Friends Life t20 action, with flags flying at half mast and black armbands on display. As for the matches themselves, there were wins for Yorkshire and Middlesex, although that hardly seemed to matter in the circumstances as the cricketing world mourned the loss of one of its brightest talents.
In the North Group match at Derby, Moin Ashraf and Richard Pyrah ran through the home side’s middle-order to hand Yorkshire a comprehensive 41-run win. Needing 151 to win, the Falcons got off to a promising start as Australian top-order batsman Usman Khawaja and former Unicorns and Somerset batsman Wes Durston added 43 for the first wicket inside the powerplay. However, Khawaja was caught behind by his fellow countryman Mitchell Starc and the rot set in. Ashraf (four for 18) was the next to strike, trapping Durston in front for 21, while Pyrah picked up the scalps of Ross Whiteley, Chesney Hughes and Tom Poynton on his way to figures of three for 21 as Derbyshire were eventually all out for just 109.
Gary Ballance had added some late momentum to a stuttering Yorkshire innings as he bludgeoned three sixes on his way to an unbeaten 47 from 35 balls. Captain Andrew Gale had begun the innings brightly with a 26-ball knock of 39, but David Wainwright tormented his former team-mates on the way to figures of two for 14 and they struggled in the middle of the innings before finally ending on 150 for five.
The win moves Yorkshire ahead of Derbyshire into second position in the North Group, with four points from three games.
Toby Roland-Jones and Paul Stirling were the stars of Middlesex’s six-wicket win over Hampshire at Southampton. Stirling made 71 from only 49 balls and shared a third-wicket stand of 107 with Dawid Malan (46 from 35) as Middlesex re-jigged their batting order in search of their first win of the competition. The pair were parted just before they surpassed the home side’s total of 157 for six, but Neil Dexter and Gareth Berg saw them home with four balls to spare.
Roland-Jones (four for 25) had earlier reduced the Royals to 42 for three after they had elected to bat, but James Vince held the innings together with a mature innings of 64 not out from 47 balls as they closed strongly.
The win takes Middlesex up to fourth in the South Group behind Surrey, Sussex and Kent, with Hampshire slipping down to fifth, and only Essex keeping them off the bottom.
Tomorrow’s FLt20 Fixture:
Midlands/West/Wales Group, Warwickshire v Northamptonshire at Edgbaston (match starts at 1800 GMT)
The home side's director of cricket Ashley Giles has defended his decision not to sign any big names for this season's competition. He said, "I am not a believer in going out and signing a couple of names for T20. That's not our policy. Of course we want to win it, but I don't want to invest over £100,000 that goes straight out of the country."
Nontheless, the Bears, without a win in their first three matches, deperately need to change that tonight, and will not be helped by the call-up of all-rounder Chris Woakes by England. They could recall club captain Jim Troughton or all-rounder Neil Carter for this evening's fixture.
Possible Warwickshire XI: Laurie Evans, Varun Chopra (captain), William Porterfield, Darren maddy, Rikki Clarke, Neil Carter, Keith Barker, Steffan Piolet, Richard Johnson (wicket-keeper), Jeetan Patel, Chris Wright.4
Northamptonshire are likely to be unchanged, unless captain Andrew Hall is declared fit, in spite of their narrow defeat to Somerset on Sunday. One possible change is to bring in Lee Daggett for Rob Keogh.
Possible Northamptonshire XI: Rob Newton, Kyle Coetzer, Niall O'Brien (wicket-keeper), Cameron White, Alex Wakely, Andrew Hall/Rob Keogh, David Willey, James Middlebrook, Con de Lange, Chaminda Vaas, Jack Brooks.
Weather Forecast: The match will be played under almost clear blue skies, with only the outside chance of catching a light shower. Temperatures will reach around 19 degrees Celsius at their peak.
County News In Brief:
Surrey have postponed their Friends Life t20 match against Hampshire on Wednesday as a mark of respect for Tom Maynard.
Lancashire fast-bowler Sajid Mahmood has been handed three penalty points following a second level one breach of the ECB’s disciplinary code in the space of two years. He now has six points; the accumulation of another three will result in an automatic suspension.
© Cricket World 2012
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