Jonny Bairstow shrugged off an ankle injury to smash a blistering hundred as Yorkshire Vikings inflicted a first T20 Blast defeat on Worcestershire Rapids.
Despite batting with a runner for six overs, Bairstow struck 112 from 51 balls – his second-highest T20 score – to set up the Vikings’ resounding 94-run North Group success at New Road.
That lifted Yorkshire to second place behind Birmingham Bears, who claimed their fourth straight victory with a slick display to see off winless Leicestershire Foxes by 35 runs.
Bairstow’s injury, sustained after stumbling to complete a single, will be a concern for England, who face Sri Lanka in a three-game Twenty20 international series, starting on 23 June, where he was almost certain to open the batting.
In the South Group, Matt Milnes’ career-best 5-22 earned leaders Kent Spitfires a fourth win in five games as they triumphed by 40 runs in a low-scoring match against Glamorgan.
Bairstow’s sparkling form continues
Yorkshire had slumped to 10-2 before opener Bairstow – who thrashed seven fours and 10 sixes – transformed their fortunes against Worcestershire, sharing a partnership of 146 in 12 overs with Tom Kohler-Cadmore (53).
The England batsman was treated on the field after hurting his ankle, but resumed – batting with a runner – and accelerated to his century in 48 balls, before holing out off Ben Dwarshuis (4-31) soon afterwards as the Vikings posted 216-6.
Bairstow has scores of 34, 67, 82 and now 112 in his four Blast innings for Yorkshire this season.
The 31-year-old did not keep wicket in the Worcestershire reply, with Kohler-Cadmore taking over the gloves, as the Vikings skittled their hosts for just 122 in 16.3 overs.
Moeen Ali (39) and Riki Wessels (32) initially kept the Royals’ hopes alive with a second-wicket stand of 67 before both fell to Adil Rashid (3-32).
From 110-3, the Rapids then suffered an astonishing collapse as their last seven wickets tumbled for 12 runs. Ross Whiteley (30) was the only other batsman to reach double figures, with five out for ducks.
Comfortable night for Bears
At the Upstonsteel County Ground, Afghanistan seamer Naveen-ul-Haq (2-20) had given Leicestershire a promising start against Birmingham Bears, removing both openers before skipper Will Rhodes and Sam Hain (45) put together a third-wicket stand of 113.
Rhodes, dropped on 27 at long-on, took advantage to register his maiden T20 half-century with a 40-ball knock of 79 before Ben Mike slowed the Bears’ progress in the latter stages.
Mike’s catch removed Rhodes off Callum Parkinson before he collected a flurry of wickets to finish with a career-best 4-22 and restrict Birmingham to 190-7.
But the Foxes lost early wickets to spinner Danny Briggs (3-35) and, despite Scott Steel’s valiant innings of 46, they could only muster 155 in reply, with Tim Bresnan taking 3-29.
It was also a relatively comfortable evening for South Group pacesetters Kent as Milnes’ maiden T20 five-for enabled them to defend a modest score of 144-7 at Cardiff.
The Spitfires were never able to find momentum with the bat as Prem Sisodiya (2-28) picked up early wickets and Dan Douthwaite (2-17) and Marnus Labuschagne (2-22) maintained the pressure, despite Jordan Cox’s unbeaten 32.
But Milnes struck a double blow by taking return catches to dismiss both Labuschagne (22) and Colin Ingram (17) with Glamorgan swiftly collapsing to 66-6.
James Weighell (24 from 20) hauled the total above three figures before Milnes wrapped up Kent’s win, removing him and Sisodiya in successive deliveries as Glamorgan were bowled out for 104 in 17.4 overs.