Jonny Tattersall, Harry Brook guide Yorkshire to victory as Nottinghamshire wobble

Yorkshire 202 for 5 (Tattersall 48*, Brook 40) beat Nottinghamshire 179 for 7 (Mullaney 79, Christian 56, Drakes 3-31) by 23 runs

Nottinghamshire are wobbling. Nobody should be unwise enough to write their obituary because in recent years there has been no finer T20 side in England, but two wins in six, their latest defeat by 23 runs against Yorkshire at Headingley, leave them which much to do as the North Group heads towards its mid-point.

Yorkshire’s total of 202 had put them ahead of the game, amply so when Notts stumbled to 50 for 5 at the start of the eighth over, but news was filtering through that it was nine fewer than Boris Johnson’s votes in the Conservatives’ No Confidence vote, and he must be worried sick so nothing could be taken for granted.

Doubts were also encouraged by the fact that Yorkshire had not beaten Notts since 2017 and had to defend their total on another excellent Leeds batting surface. On so many occasions they had gazed upon the Outlaws and thought: “If only we dared to play like this”. Two old stagers, Steven Mullaney and Dan Christian, had the presence of mind to take the game close and prey upon their opponent’s uncertainty – their stand 114 off 66. Mullaney’s contribution was a T20-best of 79 from 46 but when he flat-batted Jordan Thompson to the extra cover boundary, they never threatened to find 47 more off the last three overs.

There was recurring concern, amid all this, about a Yorkshire player who did not make the final XI. Tom Kohler-Cadmore’s long-term concussion issues again forced his omission after only three games back, but from this disturbing backdrop, Jonny Tattersall stood in behind the stumps and grasped the chance to revive a career that has been hanging by a thread with an unbeaten 48 from 30 balls of gathering self-belief.

Tattersall was released by Yorkshire as a young pro before he was brought back by Andrew Gale who believed he just needed to develop a more positive presence to forge a successful career. But Gale lost his coaching job last winter, one of many to be summarily removed during the Azeem Rafiq racism allegations. By then, Tattersall had lost his Championship place to the young buck, Harry Duke, late last season, and was stood down, too, in T20.

Tattersall is not the most potent strokemaker, but to come to the crease at 123 for 4 from 11.5 overs offered a perfect opportunity to strike out. Alongside him, Will Fraine scratched and scraped his way to 19 from 20 balls – it is no joke to suggest that now that tactical Retired Outs are in vogue Fraine could justifiably have been stood down for Thompson a couple of overs before his dismissal. If the rule is there then use it.

Tattersall suggested afterwards that it was not the easiest wicket on which to start an innings, and that rotating the strike while awaiting an occasional boundary was tactically sound, but from the outer it appeared that their initial conservatism at only four-down was excessive. Tattersall’s innings eventually blossomed, his skip down the pitch to strike Samit Patel straight for six revealing growing ambition, and their stand of 65 in 42 balls discovered purpose in the nick of time.

This stand apart, there appears to be a more daring mindset in Yorkshire’s batting approach this season, for all their unpredictable results. How can there not be with Finn Allen at the top of the order? Two yanked sixes in succession against Jake Ball told of his danger until Ball had him lbw on the back leg with the next. Adam Lyth, who shared Allen’s intent, found movement to clip his off stump. He finished with 3 for 29, his failure to bowl out his spell a surprise.

Harry Brook‘s return from an inactive England call-up – a debut in some form or other surely cannot be long delayed – bolstered a Yorkshire batting line-up that, in Kohler-Cadmore’s absence, is stretched to the limit. Brook and David Willey set the innings up with a stand of 76 in 37 balls. Both might have perished early – Ball and Luke Fletcher both beat Brook’s inside edge before he had settled, but having survived he unveiled a by-now recognisable array of risk-free shots. Willey chipped Calvin Harrison over a somewhat statuesque Joe Clarke at deep square leg with inches to spare.

But Notts’ spinners began to make inroads. Harrison had Willey caught at long-off for 34 then Brook was bowled by Patel as he made room to free up the cover region.

Willey played a central role for Yorkshire in the field. There was early swing to be had and he used it to good effect as he bowled Alex Hales for a golden duck two balls into the chase. West Indian Dominic Drakes struck twice in as many balls in the second over as Clarke gloved an attempted pull in the next over, Tattersall making copious ground down the leg-side to rescue a low catch, and Patel inside-edged one onto leg stump.

By the 16th over, however, the outcome was still not certain. Thompson wants for variation in such circumstances and, for once, Adil Rashid did not bowl out. Willey turned to himself for a crucial 16th over, with 67 needed from five. He was refused a double run-out claim from his last ball – Mullaney taking two runs as he was ruled in at both ends – but he did enough to keep the game out of Nottinghamshire’s reach.

David Hopps writes on county cricket for ESPNcricinfo @davidkhopps

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