YORKSHIRE missed out on a home semi-final in the Royal London one-day Cup despite an impressive final round North Group win by 20 runs over Leicestershire at Headingley last night.
The much-changed Vikings, missing their five England players, posted 258-7 from 45 overs following early afternoon rain.
Gary Ballance hit 71 off 66 balls to pass the 1,000-run mark in all competitions this season.
He has now scored 1,027 runs in 14 innings at an average of 93.36
Azeem Rafiq also had an impressive night, as did fellow spinner Karl Carver, who claimed 3-24 from his nine overs.
Rafiq hit 52 not out off 30 balls at the end of the Yorkshire’s innings before taking two wickets in the Foxes chase.
The pair took 5-70 from 18 overs between them as the visitors slipped from 107-1 to 238 all out inside 43 overs.
Unfortunately, however, it was not enough for Yorkshire to clinch top spot in the group, and they now have to play in a play-off match against the third team in the South at Headingley on June 13.
This was a topsy-turvy clash right throughout.
Yorkshire lost their first four wickets for 26 as they slipped from 72-0, including the loss of Adam Lyth for 52 after the hosts had lost the toss.
Ballance, later out hit wicket for the second time in the tournament, then shared 73 inside 15 overs for the fifth wicket with Tim Bresnan (34) to kick-start the Yorkshire recovery.
Rafiq was dropped on two by bowler Dieter Klein having offered a skied return catch, but he went on to hit three fours and as many sixes in a 29-ball fifty as 72 runs came off the last six overs.
Bresnan then struck four balls into the Leicester chase when he had Mark Pettini caught at slip.
But South African opener Cameron Delport and Ned Eckersley shared 107 in 13 overs for the second wicket to put the Foxes on track.
Delport, caught at long-off for 68 off 47 balls, was then the first of two wickets for Rafiq in three balls as the score fell to 107-3 in the 14th.
The Foxes later slipped to 165-7 in the 29th, losing Eckersley for 46, with left-armer Carver particularly important.
He picked up wickets and put the squeeze on the visitors, bowling Eckersley, getting Hill caught at square cover and Callum Parkinson caught and bowled.
Clint McKay hit 35 as he heightened Yorkshire’s nerves with a ninth-wicket stand of 42 inside four overs with Klein to take the target below 30 in the 40th over.
Thankfully, Matthew Fisher and Matthew Waite struck to wrap up the win.