Theoretical discussion over whether Yorkshire's steady but unspectacular 234 for 6 would prove sufficient in their floodlit Norwich Union League match here last night was rendered redundant in just six astonishing overs of Warwick- shire's lowest-ever innings in one-day league cricket.
After Chris Silverwood and Steve Kirby had fired into them, the battered Bears were reduced to 12 for 6, with even the lowest innings total in the 32-year history of the league beckoning like a beacon in the gloom.
That benchmark 23 by Middlesex on the same ground in 1974 was safely negotiated, largely thanks to no-balls and free hits, as Yorkshire appeared unable to believe how easy it had become.
For Warwickshire, batting conditions suddenly seemed to have become impossible, as Silverwood removed Neil Carter and Mark Wagh worryingly announced to the crowd as Mark Waugh with the second and third balls of his first over.
Kirby, surely the discovery of the season since being recruited from club cricket in Leicestershire, was equally hostile from the other end, dispatching Nick Knight and Dougie Brown in his first two overs.
When Silverwood yorked Michael Powell, he had taken three wickets in 12 balls, whilst conceding a single, and Warwickshire were on their way to all manner of unwanted records. But Trevor Penney lashed out at what was offered until he was run-out prompting a bizarre football-style sit-down celebration and they beat Glamorgan's worst-ever National League total of 44.
Silverwood skittled Ashley Giles and Keith Piper's resistance ended with an edge off Ryan Sidebottom, who finished matters off with the sun still slanting down by having Vasbert Drakes caught and bowled with his side still six short of the 65 they managed against Kent in 1979.
Yorkshire's innings had been a stop-start affair, underpinned by Matthew Wood's stolid 68 and enlivened by the hitting of Gavin Hamilton, Darren Lehmann and Gary Fellows. The 20 they took off a Giles over towards the end after the enterprising Fellows had put one through Drakes' hands on the boundary for six even looked as though it might be significant.
The only downside Yorkshire's captain, David Byas, could see was the task of deciding who drops out for Darren Gough and Craig White in the C&G quarter-final against the same, shell-shocked opposition here tomorrow.
* Graeme Hick has signed a new contract with Worcestershire which commits him to the county until 2004.Reuse content