Sydney Sixers 98-2 (Lumb 43no) beat
Yorkshire 96-9 (Starc 3-22) by 8 wickets
CLT20, Group B Match, Cape Town
Sydney Sixers showed just why they are one of the favourites for this year’s Champions League T20 by turning in a dominant performance to demolish Yorkshire in Cape Town. Their pace attack, undoubtedly the best in the tournament, held the English T20 runners-up to 96 for nine, while their powerful top-order scotched any suggestions about the slowness of the pitch by knocking off the runs in under nine overs.
Yorkshire, who, along with Auckland Aces, had to qualify for the main event, won the toss and elected to bat. They got off to a pleasing enough start, with captain Andrew Gale driving Steve O’Keefe through cover in the first over, and former Australia Test opener Phil Jaques hitting Mitchell Starc for two fours in his opening over.
However, the runs soon began to dry up and just 10 came off the next three overs, prompting Gale to wander across his stumps in an effort to try and manufacture a boundary, only to lose his leg stump to Josh Hazlewood. Jaques followed in the very next over for 21 off 19 balls, pulling Starc to Dominic Thornely at deep square-leg, and Yorkshire never regained any momentum.
Joe Root hit the only six off the innings - off Shane Watson - and played one or two nice strokes that hinted at the pedigree that has earnt him a call-up to this winter’s England Test squad in between the edges and miscues, while Adam Lyth dealt almost exclusively in edges. Root was the first of the two to go, attempting to pull a ball that kept a little low and being bowled to end a scratchy third-wicket partnership of 32 that had spanned 38 deliveries.
At this stage, the run rate stood at the depressing figure of 4.9 as Sydney’s pace attack bowled intelligently. Hazlewood, Cummins, Starc, and to a lesser extent Watson all made the most of their height and bowled back of a length, mixing up the pace and causing the odd ball to stop in the surface, making timing difficult. Hazlewood ended his four overs with figures of one for nine, while Cummins had two for 13.
The Yorkshire innings continued to splutter on, with Lyth the next to go, plinking Watson to point in the 16th over to depart for 18 off 25 balls. The lower-order didn’t show much fight and the last four overs of Yorkshire’s innings added 17 runs for the loss of five wickets.
In Yorkshire’s defence, they were without overseas players Mitchell Starc - playing for the opposition - and David Miller - recalled by his South African franchise ahead of their four-day game which starts on Thursday - not to mention England players Jonny Bairstow and Tim Bresnan, who the ECB, again showing scant regard for county clubs and their supporters, demanded rest after their dismal showing in the ICC World Twenty20.
Nevertheless, they should have performed better and to allow the Sixers to knock off the runs with a massive 67 balls to spare only served to rub salt into the wounds of their poor batting performance.
Persisting with opening the bowling with Joe Root didn’t work as he went for 11, while Ryan Sidebottom was taken apart by Brad Haddin and conceded 28 runs from his two overs. Michael Lumb, ironically an ex-Yorkshire player, was effective, ending unbeaten on 43 off 24 balls and made the most of the occasions when Yorkshire’s seamers strayed onto his pads.
Their main threat, that of spin, was also negated successfully as, by the time Azeem Rafiq and Adil Rashid came onto bowl, the match was more or less over.
Afterwards, Yorkshire’s captain Andrew Gale was left to reflect on the dismal display and insisted, in that time-honoured fashion of institutions when reflecting on a shambles, that "valuable lessons had been learned."
Yorkshire’s next match is on Thursday against Mumbai Indians, while Sydney Sixers, who now top Group B, play just before them, against Highveld Lions.
© Cricket World 2012
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