Yorkshire 222 for 5 (Wharton 54*, Masood 54) beat Essex 221 (Pepper 63, Bess 5-37, Revis 4-54) by 5 wickets
The Vikings reached their target with 25 balls remaining, barely breaking sweat and only five wickets down. Shan Masood, their Pakistani white-ball captain, led the way with a patient 54 from 66 balls, with James Wharton seeing them over the line with an unbeaten 54 from 49 balls.
Yorkshire had seen two of their previous three games in the competition abandoned without a ball bowled, and the other lost to Kent by just two runs under DLS. But they bounced back on the same wicket that Essex had won a thriller under the Chelmsford floodlights against Middlesex on Friday.
Pepper’s whirlwind innings encompassed the entire powerplay before he fell to the last ball of the 10th over, skying Bess to cover. The wicket had come at a cost to Yorkshire, though, as Pepper had just gone through his repertoire off the previous three balls, sweeping, lofting over midwicket and reverse-sweeping for boundaries.
In all, Pepper scored 58 of his 63 runs in boundaries, three of them clearing the ropes without bouncing, two of them in an over from Ben Coad that went for 22 as Essex rattled up three figures inside 10 overs. Das contributed 32 in the opening stand of 103 and tucked into Bess with three fours in a row during a run-a-ball 36.
Tom Westley maintained the tempo in a brisk 17 before he chased a wide delivery from Revis and was caught behind. Three balls later Das drove straight back to the bowler. Luc Benkenstein put on 50 in six overs with Beau Webster, both of them hammering two sixes each as Essex continued to score at around eight an over.
But that charge was stifled, starting when Revis claimed his third and fourth wickets in just six balls with Benkenstein clubbing to mid-on and Simon Harmer chipping to short midwicket.
Jack Shutt had Charlie Allison lbw sweeping before Bess took centre stage with the final four wickets, three of them falling in six balls as Essex left 14 overs unused, He had Webster caught behind attempting to cut, Jamal Richards patting back a return catch, Will Buttleman beaten by one that kept low and Aron Nijjar playing on.
In comparison, Yorkshire’s openers were more circumspect and had just 46 on the board at the end of the powerplay, less than half of Essex’s 10-over total. The pair were together for exactly an hour, having knocked off 80 from the target, before Bean was caught in two minds against Webster’s offspin and the ball was past him before he jerked his bat down.
Fellow opener Duke reverse-swept Harmer for the first of four fours in his patient 42 before he was bowled attempting to scoop Nijjar. The spinner then had George Hill snaffled at short midwicket before Harmer dived full-length to his left to take a return catch and dismiss Will Fraine.
The Vikings had become becalmed in mid-innings without a boundary for almost 10 overs before Masood added to his earlier six over long leg with successive fours off Nijjar. He put on 68 in 11 overs with Wharton to take Yorkshire within 42 of victory, but was strangled down the leg-side by Westley with Buttleman taking the catch.
Wharton took Yorkshire within sight of the target with two sixes in an over from Webster, the second over midwicket to reach his first white-ball fifty from 47 balls.