Former Yorkshire T20 captain David Willey made a winning return to Headingley as the Steelbacks comfortably defended a 181 target thanks to fellow pacer Tom Taylor’s stunning career best five for 28 from four overs.
Willey hit a breezy 28 and claimed two wickets with left-arm swing as the Steelbacks posted 180 for six and bowled Yorkshire out for just 102 inside 16 overs. But 28-year-old Taylor was the main man in a 78-run win.
This came after the Vikings had slumped to a record low 68 all out in defeat to Derbyshire at Chesterfield on Sunday. Willey’s former team dropped out of the top four quarter-final qualifying places following their fifth defeat in 11 North Group games, while his current charges won for the fifth time to keep their hopes alive with three games remaining.
After Willey elected to bat, new signing Justin Broad’s inventive and unbeaten 47 off 32 balls with six fours was the best of a quartet of useful contributions in a Northamptonshire innings which stopped and started.
Fledgling leg-spinner Jafer Chohan shone with a career best one for 13 from four overs for the Vikings, who then slumped to 22 for four in reply and couldn’t recover.
Ricardo Vasconcelos underpinned an excellent visiting powerplay at 55 for one with 37, though he was the only man to fall when Dawid Malan took a well judged catch at cover off Jordan Thompson.
Chohan removed Chris Lynn for three off a top-edged sweep, with Adam Lyth taking a well judged catch like Malan’s running around from short fine-leg – 70 for two in the ninth.
And more damage followed as Emilio Gay miscued a high catch off Thompson to mid-off for 40 and Saif Zaib was run out by a striker’s end direct hit from Shan Masood at short third – 94 for four in the 13th.
That was the first of three run outs in an innings revived by South African-born Broad, aged 22 and in only his third county appearance, and Willey.
They shared 60 inside five overs before Willey was given out run out at the striker’s end coming for a third for 28 off 18 balls. AJ Tye hit two huge sixes in 12 before also falling short thanks to a direct hit from Thompson in his follow through.
Northamptonshire’s good end to their innings, including Broad hitting two of the last three balls to the boundary, was then carried forwards with the ball as they reduced the Vikings to seven for two inside 15 balls.
Ben Sanderson had Lyth skying to short third, where Vasconcelos took a good catch on the run over his shoulder, and then Willey had James Wharton caught behind. The pair combined for back to back wicket maidens.
This was not the pitch for a 200 plus total as is the norm at Headingley, and Yorkshire already looked in trouble.
Willey bowled Masood as he gave himself room to play through the off-side before Matthew Revis was bowled by Sanderson, another ex-Tyke, in the next over as the score fell to 22 for four in the sixth.
Not even in-form Malan’s presence at the crease could revive Yorkshire.
Seamer Taylor struck twice in two balls in the ninth over, with Jonny Tattersall well caught at third and David Wiese losing his middle stump for a golden duck as the score fell to 49 for six.
Taylor later returned to bowl Mike and Malan from the other end and get Thompson caught at wide mid-off to collect a career best five wicket haul. AJ Tye finished things off by bowling Chohan.
The win lifts the Steelbacks to sixth in the North Group as they return to Wantage Road to take on Derbyshire tomorrow.