A MAIDEN List A century for George Dockrell, backed up by superb new-ball bowling from Barry McCarthy and Peter Chase, ensured Leinster Lightning made it two wins from two in the Inter-provincial Cup with Northern Knights barely second best.
Knights were handicapped by the loss of James McCollum, who dislocated his shoulder when attempting to take a catch in only the third over, but the game was taken away from them in the 20 overs either side of the interval.
Lightning scored 109 runs off the last 10 overs and then reduced their visitors to 42 for three, effectively four with McCollum unable to bat.
The champagne moment of the day was the ball that bowled Knights’ main batsman, Paul Stirling, for 17, the Ireland opener having already hit two fours and a six.
In Chase’s previous over, he had bowled McCollum’s replacement as opener, Ruhan Pretorius, and then McCarthy wrecked the stumps of Knights skipper Harry Tector, two balls after the bowler was certain he had had him leg before wicket.
That wicket brought together Knights debutants Jeremy Lawlor and Luke Georgeson but although they stayed together for 14 overs they added only 48 runs and, indeed, New Zealander Georgeson, who will play his club cricket for Civil Service North this year, hit his first boundary from his 57th delivery.
By then the Knights’ required run rate was almost 11 an over as Malahide’s David O’Halloran, in just his second game for Lightning, was proving the most economical of the home bowlers, his pace and bounce from around 6ft 5in causing problems.
Mark Adair produced a defiant late flurry with a run-a-ball 36, but by then the game was up.
Knights held their own for those first 40 overs and while they had taken only four wickets, had restricted them to 142 runs with Graeme McCarter bowling his 10 overs straight through and picking up both openers, while Adair bowled Saturday’s hero in Lightning’s win over Warriors, Jamie Grassi.
But then came Dockrell. The out-of-favour Ireland international scored an unbeaten 51 on Saturday and had patiently compiled another yesterday, from 63 balls with four fours and a six off Georgeson which took him to 48.
His second 50 came off 21 balls and included another quartet of fours and four sixes, three of them in the last over off Pretorius. If only his bowling was of a similar standard he would walk back into the Ireland team.
For now, though, he must already be looking forward to leading Lightning to an eighth successive Cup success and, don’t forget, Andrew Balbirnie and Josh Little have still to play.
Cricket Ireland announced yesterday that Ireland Women will finally return to action this month in four T20 internationals against Scotland at Stormont.
They will be on May 23, 24, 26 and 27, the Women’s first games since September 2019.