Ben Stokes flops on comeback but Durham edge to win over Yorkshire
Ben Stokes made only five on his surprise return to action for Durham in the NatWest T20 Blast match against Yorkshire at Chester-le-Street as the home side edged victory in a storm-affected match.
Cleared early in the day by the ECB to play purely as a batsman as he recovers from his knee operation, he cracked Adam Lyth’s first ball off the back foot to short extra cover.
It was parried upwards by Kane Williamson, who dived to cling on one-handed just before the ball fell to ground.
Yorkshire’s T20 inadequacies were exposed as they were all out for 134 with three balls unused and Durham were 68 for three after 9.5 overs when a storm ended play.
They won by six runs on the Duckworth / Lewis calculations, which would not have been the case had Ryan Pringle not picked up two runs when he was dropped at long-off by Gary Ballance four balls before the storm broke.
Gordon Muchall drove the final ball of Azeem Rafiq’s over for a straight four to make sure Durham stayed ahead of the rate to pick up their third win from seven.
Yorkshire, again without their five England men, have won one and remain bottom of the group.
Despite 43 in 24 balls from opener Alex Lees and a sensible 48 from Jack Leaning, Yorkshire kept losing wickets to rash strokes.
Lyth smashed the first ball through the covers for four but in his next 17 balls Chris Rushworth took two for five.
Lyth went down the pitch swinging wildly and was bowled, and Rushworth’s third over was a wicket maiden. Williamson tried to break the shackles by attempting a scoop, only to lose his leg stump.
Lees made only three off his first 11 balls, then hammered 34 off the next nine with three fours and a leg-side six off Paul Coughlin followed by four fours off Usman Arshad.
Lees hit his eighth four off Scott Borthwick but then drove the leg-spinner to long-on, where Michael Richardson held a brilliant catch.
Rushworth returned for his final over in the 17th and held on to a steepler from Rafiq to finish with three for 14.
Mark Stoneman got the reply off to a swift start with 25 off 17 balls, which included a big six pulled in front of mid-wicket off Bresnan.
But when he drove Rafiq to long-off and Stokes followed straight afterwards Durham were struggling on 38 for three with lightning flashing nearby.
Pringle swept left-arm spinner Karl Carver for six on the way to 20 off 15 balls. Muchall, making his first senior appearance of the season, was on ten when the heavy rain arrived.