Yorkshire gained their first victory of the season in the Friends Life t20 North Group but it was a desperately close run thing as they overcame Worcestershire by just two runs at Headingley.
The visitors however remained without a win in three games, but it was just the tonic they needed ahead of Friday night’s Roses clash at Old Trafford.
Defending a total of 152 for 7, Yorkshire were well served by man-of-the-match Richard Pyrah who captured 4 for 21 and Adil Rashid who claimed 3 for 19 off his four overs. But the real star performance came from Worcestershire’s Gareth Andrew who followed up his 3 for 30 by smashing an unbeaten 60 off 24 deliveries with five fours and four sixes.
Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan, playing in his second season for Worcestershire, took two wickets including a spectacular return catch but didn’t make any impact as he made just three off six balls in 21 laborious minutes in a bid to resurrect his side’s poor start but he fell to make the score 37 for four.
With Rashid and Pyrah each collecting two wickets in an over, Worcestershire slumped to 67 for 5 before Andrew set about the bowling, striking David Wainwright for two big sixes and a four in one over and hammering Steve Patterson for four and six to take his side into three figures.
James Cameron helped him add 59 in five overs for the sixth wicket before falling in another double-wicket over from Pyrah but Andrew refused to give up the fight and Ryan Sidebottom had to bowl the final over with 12 wanted.
Shaaiq Choudhry drove his first ball for three and when Andrew could only run a bye off the fifth his partner needed a boundary to win it for Worcestershire but he failed to make contact and the pair could only scamper another bye.
As so often has been the case this season, Yorkshire’s Andrew Gale got the innings off to a cracking start in an opening stand of 40 in 28 balls with Jonny Bairstow, the Yorkshire captain smacking five boundaries in his 29 off 15 deliveries before miscuing Shakib to Damien Wright running in from mid-on.
A powerful off-drive by Adam Lyth at the expense of Jack Shantry raised the 50 inside six overs but when Choudhry came on the left-hander drove his second ball straight to Moeen Ali at deep mid-on.
Bairstow was lbw swinging at Ali for 24 from 27 balls and Anthony McGrath just appeared to have got into his stride when he tamely played Andrew’s third ball to Shantry at midwicket, making it 99 for 4.
The slide continued as Gary Ballance flicked a ball from Andrew into Ben Scott’s gloves and the seamer picked up his third wicket by getting Gerard Brophy to hole out to Daryl Mitchell.
Shakib went full stretch to pluck a left-handed return catch from Pyrah out of the air and it was only some effective hitting by Sidebottom in the final over from Andrew that gave Yorkshire a total they were so narrowly able to defend.
-With The Daily Star input