LEINSTER LIGHTNING WIN T20 TROPHY
Leinster Lightning wrapped up the t20 Trophy this afternoon in Pembroke with a game to spare when they defeated the only other possible winners, MTB Northern Knights, by five wickets.
With both teams fielding seven Ireland internationals, even allowing for three star players in the Big Blast, it was a reasonable expectation that this would be a close contest.
While the result was achieved with just seven balls to spare it masked the fact that the home side were never really in danger of losing.
George Dockrell won the toss and made the tactically astute decision to bowl first which meant that he would know at what pace his batters would have to go to chase down whatever total was set.
He must have thought that he might be facing a formidable total as the match entered the final over of the powerplay with Knights on 47-1.
(Simi Singh took three wickets)
Ross Adair had top-edged Peter Chase’s second ball of the innings to the boundary. He played another hook shot to the next ball but was beaten for pace and Kevin O’Brien took a fine diving catch running around from short fine leg.
Harry Tector joined international colleague James McCollum and together they set about the attack. Curtis Campher suffered yet again with eleven runs taken off his first over and James Newland, who took a wicket with his second ball last Monday on debut, conceded twelve in his only over. His final delivery saw McCollum dance down the wicket and slam the ball over the sightscreen and out of the ground.
Dockrell brought himself on to try and stem the flow of runs but he conceded ten runs which included Tector clearing the boundary. However, this was the highpoint of the innings.
Tyrone Kane forced McCollum into a mishit to mid-off to give O’Brien a much simpler catch. Simi Singh, who is now the leading wicket taker in the tournament, bowled the first over after the power play and his two wickets killed the momentum of the innings.
(Man of the Match Simi Singh)
First Tector’s attempt to clear long-on fell short and with the final ball of the over Mark Adair chipped a simple catch back to the bowler. In Singh’s next over he enticed Gary Wilson down the track and when the Knights skipper missed the ball Lorcan Tucker did the rest.
Kane hit Ruhan Pretorius’s off stump in the tenth over and the Knights were 65-6 at the halfway mark.
CJ van der Walt and Shane Getkate attempted a rebuilding exercise each of them hitting a maximum until Getkate pulled a Dockrell long hop to Kane on the mid-wicket boundary. When van der Walt had a wild swing at Dockrell and lost his middle stump Knights had subsided to 100-8.
That they managed to get to 128 was largely down to a couple of lusty blows from David Delany. The bizarre nature of the innings was emphasised by the final two balls resulting in runouts with Delany almost lapping his partner.
Singh, 3-15, and Kane 2-23 were the pick of the bowlers while Chase again bowled with pace.
While O’Brien fell of the penultimate ball of the second over, caught on the mid-wicket boundary as he had been in Cork, there were already 21 runs on the board, nineteen of them to the Railway man with three fours and a superb punched straight six over the sightscreen.
(Caught and bowled for Simi Singh)
With the score on 35 a lazy piece of running by Stephen Doheny saw him beaten by a direct hit by Tector and with a further 20 runs added Campher holed out on the mid-wicket boundary. Tucker then took the score to 76 in partnership with Singh before he had the unusual experience of being stumped by his opposite number as Wilson got revenge for his earlier dismissal.
Kane then joined Singh and he concentrated on turning over the strike to the YMCA man who made sure that the required rate never became a problem and although Kane lost his leg stump to a quick ball from Delany, only nine runs were required.
It was fitting that Dockrell should see his charges over the line when he smeared a Mark Adair full toss over the extra cover boundary. Singh’s 39 not out together with his three wickets left no debate about man of the match.
For the Knights Delany, who again bowled with fire on a wicket without any real pace, took 1-21 while Jacob Mulder’s leg breaks brought him 1-24.
It was a tad surprising that Pretorius was only given two overs despite just conceding 8 runs and removing Campher.
Cricket is a great leveller as Mark Adair found out today. On Monday he took 4-14 against the Warriors while today he finished with 0-42 of 3.5 overs.
The reality is that this Lightning side is packed with gun players and unless they have a real off day or the opposition play out of their skin, they are always going to be in the favourites chair.
Leinster Lightning have now won 18 of the 22 trophies played for since the interpro series was revived in 2013.
This was their 6th time winning the T20 format, with the Warriors (2014) and Knights (2019) both winning once.