Plucky Tykes fall short

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Half-centuries from Adam Lyth and Gary Ballance were not enough to prevent Yorkshire from suffering a six-wicket defeat to Middlesex in their Clydesdale Bank 40 clash.

Half-centuries from Adam Lyth and Gary Ballance were not enough to prevent Yorkshire from suffering a six-wicket defeat to Middlesex in their Clydesdale Bank 40 clash.

The Headingley-based outfit have endured tough times of late, but appeared to be on the road to recovery when they posted 196 in their allotted 31 overs after the clash in Leeds had been reduced by rain.

After an indifferent start in which the hosts struggled to maintain a good run rate as wickets fell at regular intervals, Lyth and Ballance came together to put on 111 for the fourth wicket.

Ballance was the primary aggressor, taking 16 off one over from England discard Steven Finn as he raced to 71 off 53 balls, his maiden one-day fifty for Yorkshire.

At the other end, Lyth was happy to play the anchor role, providing a solid foil for the combative Ballance.

Ballance was eventually dismissed by Middlesex skipper Neil Dexter, with Steven Crook taking a great catch on the mid-wicket fence.

Next man in Jonny Bairstow picked up from where his team-mate had left off, smashing 33 off just 15 balls to ensure the hosts were able to post a competitive total.

Having been left out of the England squad for the first Test, Finn would have been looking to make a point with the ball, but he was overshadowed by Dexter who picked up two wickets at an economical rate and Corey Collymore who was expensive for this three scalps.

In response, Middlesex openers Scott Newman and Dawid Malan got off to a solid start but then fell within the space of four balls to leave Dexter's men stuttering at 64 for two.

Yorkshire couldn't make the most of the opening, though, with the two new men in – Paul Stirling and Chris Rogers – notching up quickfire fifties to take their team to within a sniff of victory.

Both men scored at more than a run a ball, with the Irishman continuing the good form he has demonstrated at international level as Yorkshire struggled to make the decisive breakthrough.

Fast bowlers Ryan Sidebottom and Ajmal Shahzad eventually accounted for Stirling and Rogers respectively but the damage had been done as Dexter and Jamie Dalrymple remained calm in the closing stages to see Middlesex over the line and in the process remain on top of Group A.

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