Yorkshire 245 for 6 (Willey 71, Ballance 66, Tattersall 52*) beat Northants 241 (Thurston 53, Willey 3-24) by four wickets
Yorkshire edged through to the Royal London Cup knockout stages for the fifth year running by beating already eliminated Northamptonshire at Emerald Headingley. The Vikings claimed a fourth successive North Group win by chasing 242 with four wickets in hand and an over remaining.
On a tense final day in North Group, they had to be satisfied with third place and an away tie in the play-offs, missing out on a home semi-final eliminator tie by not reaching their target in 41 overs in order to better Nottinghamshire’s net run-rate.
In fact, they nearly missed out all together by slipping to 134 for 5 with David Willey out for 71. But Gary Ballance and Jonny Tattersall, who made a maiden county half-century in his second attempt to make the grade at Headingley, went a long way to clinching the win with a calm 87-run stand for the sixth wicket inside 14 overs. Ballance made 66 off 61 balls and Tattersall 52 not out off 51.
Yorkshire now travel to Chelmsford to face Essex next Thursday for the right to advance to the semi-finals.
Willey, who was outstanding against Lancashire earlier in the week, starred with bat and ball against his former county, also taking 3 for 24 from 9.5 overs as Northants were bowled out for 241.
In pursuit, Yorkshire slipped to 14 for 2 early in the fifth over of their reply as Adam Lyth and Tom Kohler-Cadmore were both caught behind off Kleinveldt and Hutton. The hosts then stuttered as Rob Keogh’s offspin (2 for 26 from 10 overs) tied them down.
Willey was fast out of the blocks. He hit four of his first six balls for four, hit Kleinveldt for two leg-side sixes in the 10th over and reached 50 off 42 balls in the 17th over as the score advanced to 85 for 2. But shortly afterwards Keogh made two crucial breakthroughs, getting Joe Root caught behind reverse sweeping for 18 and Che Pujara lbw as the score slipped to 102 for four in the 25th over.
When Willey miscued Saif Zaib’s left-arm spin to long-on eight overs later, Yorkshire nerves were jangling. But Ballance and Tattersall held it together, reaching fifties to the delight of the 2000 strong home crowd before the former fell with 21 needed.
Willey had claimed two of the first three wickets as the visitors, who elected to bat, fell to 23 for 3. He had Ben Duckett caught behind and Ricardo Vasconcelos at first slip before returning at the death to get last man Ben Cotton caught at mid-off, but Yorkshire made things more difficult for themselves as Northants recovered from 101 for 6.
Debutant Charlie Thurston, 21, was the Northants standout with 53 off 62 balls. Thurston shared partnerships of 42 and 46 for the seventh and eighth wickets with Rory Kleinveldt and Graeme White, who finished 41 not out.