RECORDS tumbled as Yorkshire made the highest team total and Adam Lyth the highest individual score in the history of English T20.
Yorkshire’s 260-4 after choosing to bat beat the previous best of 254-3 by Gloucestershire against Middlesex at Uxbridge in 2011, and it helped Yorkshire to a 124-run win over Northants that kept alive their hopes of reaching the quarter-finals.
It was the joint second-highest T20 total in the world, equalling Sri Lanka’s 260-6 against Kenya at Johannesburg in 2007, and behind only Australia’s 263-3 against Sri Lanka at Pallekele in 2016 and Royal Challengers Bangalore’s 263-5 against Pune Warriors at Bengaluru in 2013.
Lyth’s 161 from 73 balls with 20 fours and seven sixes beat the previous highest T20 innings in England of 158 not out by Brendon McCullum for Warwickshire against Derbyshire at Edgbaston in 2015.
It was the third-highest individual T20 innings in the world behind Chris Gayle’s 175 for Royal Challengers Bangalore in their world record-equalling total, and Hamilton Masakadza’s 162 not out for Mountaineers against Eagles at Bulawayo in 2016.
It also sailed past Yorkshire’s previous best of 118 by David Willey against Worcestershire at Headingley earlier this year, a match in which the club achieved their previous highest T20 score of 233-6.
Just before we end with the outrageous statistics, former Yorkshire pace bowler Ben Sanderson’s figures of 0-77 from four overs were the second-most expensive in T20 history behind Sarmad Anwar’s 0-81 for Sialkot Stallions against Lahore Lions at Faisalabad in 2011.
Perhaps the most outrageous statistic of all, however, given the mayhem that unfolded before a crowd of 7,480, is that Yorkshire are not mathematically certain of qualifying for the last-eight of a competition which, on this evidence, they are good enough to cruise.
Although victory shot them up from fifth place to second, all eyes will be on Derby, Northampton, Nottingham and Manchester tonight, where the other eight counties are in action on the last night of North Group competition.
Despite saving their best for last, Yorkshire must hope that other results go their way, although the fact that they possess a significantly superior net run-rate to other teams – the tie-breaker should sides finish level on points – is potentially important.
As ever, the permutations are complex, but it would be in some ways astonishing if Yorkshire do not advance.
If this was indeed their valedictory performance, what a way to sign off.
Tim Bresnan, who had been captaining the side prior to the return from injury last night of Gary Ballance, had talked of the team possibly threatening a total of 240 this summer.
Anyone inclined to perceive that as wildly optimistic might now conclude that it was grossly pessimistic, although no one, of course, could have foreseen what would unfold here.
The swashbuckling Lyth was simply sensational. From the moment that he pulled the last ball of the first over from Sanderson for six over mid-wicket, to the moment that he holed out on the long-on boundary off the fourth delivery of the final over, Lyth played every shot in the book as he tore apart the defending champions.
The game began in a blizzard of boundaries as Lyth and opening partner Tom Kohler-Cadmore raised 80 runs in the six-over powerplay.
Lyth went to his fifth score of fifty in this year’s competition from 21 balls with seven fours and three sixes, and the openers had added 127 inside 10 overs when Kohler-Cadmore picked out cover after striking 41 from 24 balls with four sixes and two fours.
Lyth and Willey then shared 124 in nine overs as sixes and fours continued to rain, Lyth going to his hundred from 50 balls with 13 fours and four sixes.
Yorkshire were 249-1 after 18 overs, needing 15 more for the world record score, but they ran out of steam at the end.
Willey was caught on the long-on boundary, having hit 40 from 22 balls with three fours and two sixes, and Bresnan was bowled for a duck moments before Lyth also fell.
Such was Yorkshire’s firepower, they did not need the services of Sarfaraz Ahmed, who was making his final appearance before returning home for a Pakistan training camp.
Northants began menacingly in reply; at 85-1, they were five runs better off than Yorkshire at the end of the powerplay.
But Azeem Rafiq quashed any notion of a freakish chase, the off-spinner returning a career-best 5-19 from four overs, Yorkshire’s third-best T20 analysis, in a brilliant performance.
Only opener Richard Levi (65 from 32 balls with seven fours and four sixes) threatened a heist, Rafiq having him held on the long-on rope.
Adil Rashid chipped in with three wickets and Steve Patterson two as Yorkshire also achieved their biggest T20 victory by a runs margin.