Lockie Ferguson makes winning debut as Yorkshire Vikings launch T20 campaign
WITH his handlebar moustache and gunslinger appearance, allied to his reputation as one of the fastest draws in town, Lockie Ferguson would not have looked out of place in the American Wild West, holding up stagecoaches, drinking whisky and charming the ladies in every saloon.
The new Yorkshire signing looks equally at home on the cricket field, of course, where he has developed into one of the world’s best white-ball bowlers, and he played his part on debut last night, taking 1-29 from four overs as Yorkshire beat Birmingham Bears by six wickets with nine balls to spare.
Ferguson took the wicket of Tim Bresnan, the former Yorkshire all-rounder, who was making his first appearance against the club that he left last summer after 19 years.
Bresnan tried to pull the fourth ball of Ferguson’s last over and got a top-edge through to wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow as Birmingham scrambled to an unconvincing 144-8 after being sent into bat on a muggy night in front of 4,449 fans.
Bresnan’s 23 – including a meaty six off Matthew Waite over mid-off that was caught by a spectator in the North-East Stand, who leapt around in ecstasy as though he had just won a year’s subscription to The Yorkshire Post – was the second-highest score of an innings that never recovered from being 6-2 after nine balls.
But for 59 from Sam Hain, with whom Bresnan added 49 for the seventh wicket, it would have been a particularly poor effort from the visiting team, who looked rusty on opening night.
For that, however, credit had to go to the Yorkshire bowlers, spearheaded by Jordan Thompson with a career-best equalling 3-23, plus two wickets apiece for Waite and David Willey.
Adil Rashid returned 0-26 from four overs on his first appearance for Yorkshire in any competition since early 2019, with sightings of the leg-spinner on county duty now only marginally more frequent than sightings of the Loch Ness Monster.
Ferguson helped set the tone for a good performance by Yorkshire in the field, pulling off a fine low catch at deep square-leg when the dangerous Ed Pollock lofted David Willey out towards the West Stand.
There was plenty of fancy dress on show in that part of the ground, along with interminable chants of “football’s coming home” – hey, it hasn’t even started yet.
Full tosses accounted for three of the wickets, with all eight batsmen perishing to catches – two by Thompson off his own bowling, including a spectacular effort to dismiss Carlos Brathwaite when the West Indian overseas player got a leading edge that Thompson had to scramble back to take diving at full stretch.
Bairstow, playing his first T20 for Yorkshire since the semi-final defeat to Durham in 2016, got the reply off to a rapid start after Adam Lyth fell to its fifth ball, slapping the left-arm spin of Danny Briggs to cover.
Bairstow greeted Bresnan’s entry into the attack by pulling his second delivery several rows back into the East Stand for six.
He repeated the feat from the first ball of Bresnan’s second over and also slog-swept Briggs for six, bringing the crowd to its feet.
Bairstow added 58 for the second wicket in 38 balls with Dawid Malan, who chipped Bresnan to mid-wicket before Bairstow chopped on as he tried to cut Briggs, having thumped 34 from 22 deliveries.
There were only five runs between the teams at the 10-over halfway stage – 79 to 74 in Yorkshire’s favour, the difference being that the hosts had lost only three wickets compared to Birmingham’s five.
Yorkshire were always in control as they paced the run-in, Tom Kohler-Cadmore and Harry Brook adding 49 in eight overs before Brook lofted Brathwaite to long-on.
Will Fraine injected late impetus just when required and Kohler-Cadmore launched a brace of sixes en route to a fine and confidence-boosting unbeaten 31 from 29 balls.
Not even a bare-torsoed male pitch invader, wearing the most garish orange trousers conceivable, disturbed the hosts’ equilibrium, the cretin seizing one of the bails and attempts at boundary-side capture by a steward as he disappeared from sight between a gap in the stands.
That cricket has missed spectators goes without saying.
That it has missed halfwits like that is a different story.