Another dazzling innings from Jonny Bairstow helped to race Yorkshire Vikings to an unlikely victory over Durham Jets in the NatWest T20 Bash at Headingley.
Chasing a formidable 192, Bairstow instigated a recovery from 66 for four with a magnificent 92 from 42 deliveries with eight fours and four sixes as Yorkshire charged home by five wickets with seven balls to spare.
The victory boosted Yorkshire’s chances of climbing up the North table and gaining a place in the quarter-finals but it left Durham with still quite a lot of work to do to make sure they make it through to the last eight.
Bairstow’s blast overshadowed a rousing unbeaten 91 from Durham Jets rookie batsman, Graham Clark, which looked to have set his side up for a convincing win.
This was only Clark’s third match in the competition - he had managed just five runs in his two games in early June - but now he raced to Durham’s highest individual score of the season off 91 balls with 14 fours and a six.
Although he survived two difficult chances on 21 and 38, he still dominated the crease, firstly helping the Jets recover from 49 for four and later combining with John Hastings to smash an unbroken 57 in 19 deliveries, Hastings’ brutal contribution being 43 from a mere 12 balls with five fours and three sixes, the last four overs leaking 69 runs.
The onslaught raced Durham to 191 for six from their 20 overs and Matthew Fisher soaked up much of the punishment, his four overs costing 53 with Clark and Hastings plundering 21 off his final over.
Yorkshire chose not to bowl Tim Bresnan but there was a fine debut appearance in front of a 9,536 crowd from 19-year-old paceman, Josh Shaw, the son of former Yorkshire fast bowler, Chris. Sharing the opening attack with off-spinner, Glenn Maxwell, he began with two sharp overs which gave away only ten runs but he suffered a bit later on when Durham pressed hard on the accelerator.
Spinners Maxwell and Adil Rashid, released by England for this game and Sunday’s encounter with Derbyshire at Chesterfield, both bowled tidily before the visitors took control, Maxwell finishing with two for 28 after dismissing Phil Mustard and Mark Stoneman in his first two overs, and Rashid two for 26.
Yorkshire’s bid to move clear of their next-to-bottom place in the table appeared to have suffered a massive setback off the first ball of their reply which Aaron Finch hit straight into the hands of Scott Borthwick on the mid-wicket boundary, the Australian having made only 76 in six innings so far this season.
Hastings was the wicket-taker and in a splendid all-round performance he had skipper Andrew Gale caught behind in his next over before Alex Lees was also held by Mustard off Usman Arshad to make it 28 for three.
Jonny Bairstow was off the mark with a first-ball boundary and he showed further defiance by smacking Borthwick for a straight six but Yorkshire lost another crucial wicket at 66 when Maxwell was bowled aiming to cut Borthwick.
Now Jack Leaning joined the unstoppable Bairstow, who lashed an unbeaten 102 against Durham at Riverside last season, and the wicketkeeper-batsman charged to his 50 from 24 balls with four fours and three sixes to register his first half-century in the competition this summer.
The pair had put on 97 from 54 balls and Bairstow seemed to be cruising to his century until he skied Arshad to Paul Collingwood.
Yorkshire were 163 for five in the 17th over but Bresnan came in to finish the game in brutal fashion with consecutive sixes off Arshad in the penultimate over, Leaning ending unbeaten on 39 from 31 balls with two fours and a six and Bresnan 24 from eight deliveries with two fours and two sixes.
Yorkshire captain Andrew Gale said: “I was a bit stunned by the performance and it was a nice way to bounce back after the Roses match last week. It was an outstanding performance but I was a bit disappointed that we gave them 20 or 30 runs more than we should have done.
“We didn’t start very well but Jonny Bairstow was outstanding. He is in the form of his life and we are very lucky to have him at the moment. At some stage England are going to come calling.”