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Harry Brook stars again for Yorkshire but Lancashire snatch tie amid final-ball drama

Yorkshire 183 for 5 (Brook 72, Kohler-Cadmore 67) tied with Lancashire 183 for 7 (salt 59)

Neither the often cloudy sky, nor the appointment at the end of May to chill out made a difference. This may not have been the hot summer night loved by Meatloaf and connoisseurs of these unique occasions, but audiences and players alike know what’s expected of them. And while we also missed the encroaching darkness that so often adds to the drama of short-form cricket in England, perhaps that was for the best. For in a final over that was frenetic and absurd even by the standards of these encounters, Lancashire managed to tie into Yorkshire when Richard Gleeson caught Harry Brook’s leg for 72 with the last ball of the 20th left when the Vikings needed just one running single to win a T20 match at Emirates Old Trafford for the first time since 2014. It is the third draw between the sides in 33 short matches.

And of course it shouldn’t have been a draw at all. The pockets of Yorkshire supporters among the 14,000 crowd and the affluent who drape White Rose banners from the Hilton Garden Hotel will tell you that. For after losing their first three wickets for 56 runs in the first eight overs, Yorkshire had kept up with a tough ask rate, thanks in full to a stunning 115th third wicket score between Tom Kohler-Cadmore and Brook. Lancashire’s outfielders had dropped the pair, Kohler-Cadmore was spilled by Liam Livingstone when he was just 14 in the second left. A further 13 runs were needed on the last left, but Lancastrian’s lack of discipline – Gleeson threw a high full toss when Yorkshire needed six from two balls – and made things insanely easy. A jumbled two had left Brook needing one point and Brook has centered almost every shot he’s played this season… So how the chuffin did he fail on this occasion?

And of course it shouldn’t have been a draw at all. The vast majority of home crowds playing the anthems as if it were the Last Night of the Proms will tell you that. The Lancashire bowlers had never really let go of Kohler-Cadmore and Brook. Gleeson should have defended 13 out of six and at least 10 out of three. But Shadab Khan squeezed his first ball for four and then Gleeson clearly worked under the illusion that he was a baseball pitcher. (He wasn’t alone; Luke Wood had made a similar full throw.) Thank goodness he had managed to make a straight last.

But it was such an evening. Both parties could be relieved and both disappointed. Saturated with drama and fluctuation, supporters of both teams wondered how the heck had come to this.

Well… about three hours later, before the sun was in everyone’s eyes, Lancashire’s power play galloped on with a jumpy bar of ten over, which is more or less the benchmark for this particular course on this particular evening. The only wicket to fall in those first six overs was Keaton Jennings, who made 19 balls from 14 before driving Matthew Revis halfway into Adam Lyth’s midriff. Given that he had been deposited for six by Phil Salt a few balls earlier, Revis’s clenched fist was understandable.

Steven Croft made 13 before dying in the deep end for Adil Rashid, but there was a sense – this is showbiz on grass, after all – that Jennings and Croft were the warm-up acts for Livingstone and Tim David, Lancashire’s Singaporean big hitter and a man who has yet to never played a game of first-class cricket. To some extent, that under-card instinct turned out to be well founded. Livingstone scored just one six in his 16-ball 23, but David hit three maximums deep into the stands and both energized the Emirates Old Trafford crowd. Livingstone, who only came back from the IPL on Thursday, helped Salt add 45 in five overs for the third wicket before being caught long-on by Brook at Jordan Thompson.

Two overs later, Salt was thrown from the deep end by a pitch from Thompson, but batting in T20 games has become a sort of relay practice where it’s not so much a baton being passed as a bat. As long as a batter doesn’t eat balls, his indiscretions are tolerated to some degree. So Salt’s 59 in his first T20 innings for Lancashire and a bit of late-order whacking Danny Lamb brought the total to 183. Home supporters of a statistic inclination will have noticed that Lancashire has won 80% of their home T20 games when they’ scored above 168. But again, what about the 20%…?

Yorkshire’s pursuit closely matched Lancashire’s in the Powerplay overs, but it seemed crucial as they lost two wickets, both to Wood, in the first five overs. Dawid Malan was left behind to swipe and Lyth was bowled when he made room to clear the ball. Wood had also given up 22 runs from his first two overs, but his part in the game wasn’t over yet. Joe Root made three of four balls before swinging the third ball of Matt Parkinson’s spell into the safe hands of the ex-Nottinghamshire man with a deep square leg. That left Yorkshire poorly placed in the seventh over, but Kohler-Cadmore and Brook then consolidated and accelerated. Kohler-Cadmore took 50 balls over his 67 before being outplayed on the last ball of the nineteenth over; Brook hit three sixes in his 72 and maybe some Yorkshire supporters thought he’d take them home. The crowd settled for the latter, wondering which side would prevail; they suspected it would be neither.

Paul Edwards is a freelance cricket writer. He has written for the TimeESPNcricinfo, eraseSouthport visitor and other publications

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