BIG names, big reputations, big statements of intent, but no sign of any improvement as yet for Yorkshire in T20.
Their side last night contained five World T20 finalists in Joe Root, David Willey, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid and Tim Bresnan, plus two other England internationals in Jonny Bairstow and Gary Ballance.
But not even that magnificent seven could prevent Yorkshire from losing to Lancashire, the home side prevailing by 26 runs to leave Yorkshire second bottom of the North Group.
It was Yorkshire’s third defeat in three games after losses to Leicestershire and Worcestershire, and it was Lancashire’s first win of the season after they had gone into the match bottom of the table.
In front of 18,000 spectators, Yorkshire conceded 204-7 after sending Lancashire into bat.
Liam Livingstone scored 55 from 23 balls, including six fours and four sixes, and Karl Brown contributed 54 from 38 with two fours and three sixes.
Bresnan was the standout bowler with 3-24 from four overs, while Steve Patterson returned 2-35 from four.
Ben Coad, the 23-year-old pace bowler, performed better than 1-36 from three overs would suggest, his performance a positive for the visiting team, but Rashid bowled two wicket-less overs for 29 and Plunkett recorded 1-39 from four.
Left to achieve their highest successful T20 chase, Yorkshire never really threatened as they replied with 178-7, Root top-scoring with an unbeaten 92 from 51 balls with eight fours and three sixes.
Try as they might, and no one could say that they are not trying their best, Yorkshire are still struggling to crack this form of the game.
They have 11 group matches left to turn things around, starting with next Friday’s trip to Edgbaston to face Birmingham Bears.
On a cloudy and unseasonably chilly evening, Yorkshire started promisingly when Alex Lees pulled off a magnificent catch in the game’s fourth over.
The Yorkshire captain made good ground at mid-off to cling on to a skier diving at full stretch after Martin Guptill mistimed a flat-batted shot off Bresnan.
Bairstow followed up with a splendid catch behind the stumps after Alviro Petersen top-edged a pull off Patterson, who was one of three changes to the team that lost to Worcestershire the previous evening as Jack Leaning, Andrew Hodd and James Wainman made way.
Yorkshire bowled well enough in the powerplay, restricting Lancashire to 47-2, with the visitors bowling just short of a length and trying to hit the splice of the bat.
In so doing, they adapted quickly to conditions, which were good for batting with the outfield fast.
However, a third-wicket stand of 98 from just 50 balls between Brown and Livingstone sucked the wind from Yorkshire’s sails, the pair mixing powerful strokes with inventive ones.
Brown found his range with consecutive leg-side sixes off Will Rhodes, while Livingstone pulled Rashid for an enormous six to the longest boundary towards Brian Statham Way, and then he lashed the leg-spinner for six off the back foot over long-off.
Livingstone reached his half-century from 21 balls, Lancashire’s fastest in T20 cricket, before finally holing out when he hit Plunkett to mid-off.
Jos Buttler stamped his authority on proceedings with a six over mid-wicket off Root and then ramped Plunkett for an outrageous six.
But Yorkshire would have settled for getting rid of Buttler for 23 from 11, the wicketkeeper slapping Coad to Bresnan at long-off.
Brown reached a 36-ball fifty before he was smartly caught at backward-point by Ballance off Patterson, who seemed to lay the trap with a deliberately wide yorker.
Lancashire went into the final over with 199 on the board, and Bresnan did brilliantly to concede only five runs from it and take two wickets in the process.
Bresnan, who won the World T20 with England in 2010, had Jordan Clark caught behind off a scoop shot and then Neil Wagner held on the deep mid-wicket boundary from the final ball.
In reply, Yorkshire lost both openers with the score on 29, Lees pulling to deep square-leg and Wiley driving to mid-off.
Bairstow looked extremely unfortunate to be given out caught behind off spinner Aaron Lilley, the ball not appearing to make contact with the bat, and Yorkshire slipped to 86-4 when Ballance drove to Petersen running in from the deep cover boundary.
Bresnan picked out deep-backward square-leg and Plunkett was taken at mid-off after a valiant sixth-wicket stand of 76 with Root from 43 deliveries, Rhodes seventh out when he fell to a catch around the corner.