Yorkshire 216 for 6 (Bairstow 112, Kohler-Cadmore 53, Dwarshuis 4-31) beat Worcestershire 122 (Ali 39, Rashid 3-32) by 94 runs
The saying used to be 'beware a limping Gordon Greenidge', but on this evidence, it should be updated to warn about the dangers of a lame Jonny Bairstow.
When Bairstow collapsed with a scream of pain in completing his 56th run, it seemed for all the world as if his evening was over. But, after a delay of around 10 minutes for treatment on his right ankle, he was able to continue with Adam Lyth as his runner.
That was a surprise. Not only had Bairstow's original collapse looked ominous, but he is expected to report for England duty at the weekend. Fitness permitting, he would be certain to play in the first T20I against Sri Lanka a week today.
He was subsequently unable to keep wicket with the gloves instead taken by Tom Kohler-Cadmore. Bairstow is due to undergo a scan which will reveal if he is likely to be fit next week but the fact that he left the ground in a moon boot was not especially promising. "His ankle has blown up," Andrew Gale, Yorkshire's coach, said. "Hopefully it's not ligament damage."
But the injury didn't appear to inhibit Bairstow's strokemaking. After the injury, he struck 56 more runs from his next 17 deliveries, reaching his third T20 century (two for Yorkshire and one for Sunrisers Hyderabad) from 48 balls. His stand of 146 in 12 overs with Kohler-Cadmore was Yorkshire's second highest stand in the history of T20 cricket.
It sustained Bairstow's outstanding form in the Vitality Blast season. He has top-scored in all four of the games in which he has played, is the top-scorer in the competition, and looks in the finest of form. He is currently averaging 73.75 in the Blast this season at a strike-rate of 175.59.
He actually started quite slowly. But, having scored only five from his first 10 deliveries, he called for a new bat and carted the next ball, from Ben Dwarshuis, for six over midwicket. From that point on, he was irrepressible, thrashing 33 (four sixes, two fours and a single) from seven deliveries at one stage and driving Dillon Pennington for a six over the New Road Stand that had you fearing for whoever and whatever might have attempted to stop it. Seasoned locals reckoned it the largest six they had seen on the ground. It apparently landed in Cripplegate Park. Another six landed on the roof of the Graeme Hick pavilion. The only other man to achieve that was Steve Smith.
"You don't see many hit as far as those two," said a sanguine Worcestershire bowling coach, Alan Richardson, after the game. "We found it tough going. But I've said to the guys in the dressing room that, if they want to play franchise cricket around the world, that's the standard. He hit the ball incredibly cleanly."
Worcestershire's bowling, it does have to be said, was underwhelming. Ish Sodhi, in particular, was punished for persisting with a succession of short deliveries which allowed Bairstow to rock back on to his one good leg and pull with remarkable power. From the moment he changed his bat to the ball until his dismissal, he had scored 107 from 40 balls. 33 of those runs came from 12 Sodhi deliveries.
He gave one chance. On 69, Ed Barnard was unable to cling on to a tough, low catch at deep mid-wicket. That moment apart, Bairstow looked imperious and in all hit 10 sixes - mostly in the arc from midwicket to long-on - and seven fours. Only Ian Harvey, who made a 47-ball century in 2005, has hit a quicker century (in terms of balls faced) for Yorkshire. Only twice have Worcestershire conceded more runs in a T20 match at New Road. Riki Wessles, who claimed four catches at long-on, provided a rare moment of joy for the hosts, though he also dropped a tough one which appeared to injure his finger.
On another day, Kohler-Cadmore's innings would have deserved star billing. This was his highest score in any format this season, after all, and came on his return to the ground where he first made his name as a professional.
Not for a moment did Worcestershire look as if they would overhaul their target. While Wessels and Moeen Ali were both dropped (on 9 and 26 respectively), they were unable to take advantage against the wiles of Dom Bess and Adil Rashid and the pace and control of Matt Fisher.
With the run-rate rising and panic taking grip, Worcestershire lost seven wickets for 12 runs in 24 balls to succumb to a crushing 94-run defeat. It is the third heaviest, in terms of runs, they have ever suffered and the worst at home by some distance. The total of five ducks in a T20 innings was also an unwanted record for a team that came into this match unbeaten.
"The result in the end looks like a real car crash," Richardson continued. "The one disappointing thing, and something that Moeen [the captain] has just said to the lads is that maybe we didn't show quite as much fight as we could."
Yorkshire will be boosted by the return of Joe Root on Friday, but have confirmed that neither Bairstow or Rashid will play. In further worrying news for England, Dawid Malan will also miss the game as he attempts to manage an Achilles issue.