Cricket: Constant drama as Yorkshire triumph

Yorkshire 260-7 Derbyshire 260-7 Yorkshire win on higher run rate in first 25 overs
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The Independent Online
Yorkshire revived their hopes of reaching the last eight of the Benson and Hedges Cup with one of the stranger last-ball victories yesterday, a result that leaves the highly-competitive Group A still wide open.

The outcome was determined by the scores after 25 overs of the respective innings, at which point Yorkshire had been 116 for 2 against Derbyshire' s 103 for 2. But this verdict followed umpire David Constant's decision to penalise Yorkshire's England bowler, Chris Silverwood, for bowling a ball above waist height as he attempted to stop Phil DeFreitas winning the tie with a six off the last ball.

Silverwood had thought he had done enough to clinch the contest with a superb leg-stump yorker to remove Karl Krikken with the second ball of the last over, leaving Derbyshire still nine short of their target. Now he was nonplussed by Constant's ruling, which added four runs to the home side's total - two for the no-ball called in addition to the two DeFreitas managed to run. This took Derbyshire's score to 259 for 7, one fewer than Yorkshire's.

To add to the sense of drama, a long delay preceded the last delivery as it was established whether DeFreitas needed to score one or two to win. Given that Yorkshire had also lost seven wickets, the 25-over totals became the determining factor, meaning Derbyshire needed 261. Silverwood had the final word, this time producing a conventional "block-hole" ball that DeFreitas could only dig out before taking the single that was not enough.

But for the suspicion of unsporting behaviour, Silverwood would have been a candidate for the Gold Award, having taken two of the three wickets to fall during a vital mid-innings breakthrough by Yorkshire. With Kim Barnett and Gul Khan building an impressive partnership, adding 78 in 17 overs, Derbyshire seemed favourites to clinch a third group win at 175 for 2, needing another 86 off 12 overs.

Silverwood dismissed Khan with the first ball of his second spell and removed Adrian Rollins in his next over. In between, left-arm spinner Richard Stemp - who pipped his team-mate to the man-of-the-match prize - claimed the vital wicket of Kim Barnett as Derbyshire stumbled to 183 for 5 in the space of three overs. Barnett, who also took three wickets bowling gentle medium pace as opposed to leg-breaks, was following his match-winning unbeaten 112 against Lancashire on Wednesday.

While DeFreitas and Krikken were able to pool their vast experience of tight limited-overs finishes, a home win remained possible, even with 59 still wanted off the last seven overs. They managed 50 before Krikken's demise, which tilted the odds Yorkshire's way before Constant's decision left the outcome in the balance.

Yorkshire, who felt the pitch was good enough to bat first after winning the toss, might have had 40 or 50 runs more had they not stumbled after a promising start. Against an attack lacking Dominic Cork (injured) and Devon Malcolm, who was left out, Martyn Moxon and Michael Vaughan put on 71 in 13 overs and at 150 for 2 in the 31st over everything looked set for a total in excess of 300.

However, the loss of three wickets for 20 runs in the next six overs - including a disappointing exit by the Australian newcomer, Darren Lehmann, upset matters, but the arrival of Craig White to partner Anthony McGrath restored Yorkshire's equilibrium and a stand of 69 in 11 overs.