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Vitality Blast: Yorkshire beat Worcestershire, holders Kent Spitfires lose to Somerset

Harry Brook and Joe Root
Joe Root and Harry Brook timed Yorkshire’s run-chase to perfection

Harry Brook and Joe Root shared an unbroken stand of 87 as Yorkshire Vikings beat Worcestershire Rapids by seven wickets at Headingley on the opening night of this season’s T20 Blast.

Jack Haynes made 61 off 33 balls as the visitors totalled 172-9, but Brook (60 off 27) and Root (35) – who are both in England’s squad for next week’s first Test against New Zealand – steered their side to 175-3 with 11 balls to spare.

The start of the 20th season of England’s domestic Twenty20 competition also included a rematch of last year’s final as trophy holders Kent Spitfires recovered to make 162-6 against Somerset, thanks to Jack Leaning’s 72 not out off 43 balls.

It was not enough as Rilee Rossouw (81 not out) and Tom Abell (48 not out) put on 121 to see Somerset to 166-2 and an eight-wicket victory.

Root back as captain – temporarily

Root gave up the England Test captaincy last month, but was named Yorkshire skipper for the evening with David Willey unavailable.

He lost the toss, with 2018 winners Worcestershire opting to bat first, and although Ed Pollock went early, in-form Haynes and Brett D’Oliveira were soon racing along at more than 10 an over for the Rapids.

When Root came on to bowl, Haynes hammered his first delivery for six, but he proved to be the partnership breaker as D’Oliveira, on 32, was caught at cover.

Haynes, who made a hundred in each of his last three Championship games, hit five sixes but was caught at deep mid-wicket off Matthew Revis in the 12th over.

Ben Cox and Jake Libby went in the same over from Jordan Thompson (3-35) and Gareth Roderick then followed, a victim of an unusual run-out.

He played the ball back down the pitch and it hit the stumps, dislodging one bail – Roderick opted to go for a single, but bowler Haris Rauf ran across to the leg side and beat the batter with a throw which knocked off the other bail.

The innings ended when Pat Brown, who missed the entire 2021 Blast because of injury, was run out and the Rapids had only scored 30 off the last 27 balls.

Yorkshire were given a positive start in reply by Adam Lyth and Dawid Malan, who put on 70 in 7.4 overs.

When Malan holed out, Yorkshire were 88-3 and although Root had a stroke of luck on six when he almost played on to Charlie Morris, he and Brook – who raced to 50 off 23 balls – comfortably knocked off the runs.

Kent top order fails

Rilee Rossouw
Rilee Rossouw made a century to help Hampshire win the One-Day Cup in 2018

Defending champions Kent had three England players in their top four, but Zak Crawley, Sam Billings and Joe Denly all fell for single-figure scores at Canterbury as the Spitfires, who won the toss, struggled to come to terms with the pitch.

Only Leaning – who went in at 31-3 – seemed to have the measure of the conditions and found support from Jordan Cox (11) and George Linde (29) who joined him in stands of 52 and 54.

He reached 50 off 31 balls with a huge leg-side six towards a block of flats outside the ground as Kent added 69 off the last five overs to give themselves a chance.

Tom Banton scored 107 not out in last season’s corresponding fixture, which Somerset won by 10 wickets, but this time managed only nine before being caught at mid-wicket off Matt Milnes.

They were 45-2 when Will Smeed picked out Cox off Freddie Klaassen, but powerful South African Rossouw marked his debut with a 41-ball fifty after being dropped by Daniel Bell-Drummond on 49, a leaping one-handed chance off Qais Ahmad.

He struck two sixes in his 54-ball knock and ended the game from the first ball of the final over by drilling Klaassen past mid-off for his seventh four.

Thursday’s fixtures

Radlett: Middlesex v Gloucestershire (16:30 BST)

Edgbaston: Birmingham Bears v Northamptonshire Steelbacks (18:30)

Leicester: Leicestershire Foxes v Durham (18:30)

Hove: Sussex Sharks v Glamorgan (19:00)

Friday’s fixtures

Bristol: Gloucestershire v Sussex Sharks (18:30)

Old Trafford: Lancashire Lightning v Yorkshire Vikings (18:30)

Northampton: Northamptonshire Steelbacks v Durham (18:30)

Trent Bridge: Notts Outlaws v Worcestershire Rapids (18:30)

The Oval: Surrey v Glamorgan (18:30)

Derby: Derbyshire Falcons v Birmingham Bears (19:00)

Ageas Bowl: Hampshire Hawks v Middlesex (19:00)

Canterbury: Kent Spitfires v Essex Eagles (19:00)

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