Odran Flynn / CricketEurope
In a match that was overshadowed by the announcement of Kevin O’Brien’s retirement from ODI’s, Leinster Lightning comfortably beat Munster Reds in the opening match of the first IPT20 festival of the season.
Munster have been severely disadvantaged by the loss through injury of two of their key players, Curtis Campher and Gareth Delany.
While everyone tried very hard, they rarely looked likely to overcome a much stronger Lightning side.
That Reds even got to what could have been considered a defendable total was largely down to yet another impressive knock by South African born Murray Commins. He is in the process of attempting to qualify for Ireland and today his 51 runs came from just 34 deliveries, and he hit three sixes and the same number of fours.
David O'Halloran bowling: Pic Rodney Smythe
The top four were the only batsmen to reach double figures but other than Commins none of them threatened to dominate the innings. Indeed, Jack Carty using up 35 balls to score just 31 runs, actually put undue pressure on the following batsmen.
When Tyrone Kane was the third wicket to fall with the score on 114 and one ball short of five overs left, it would be a reasonable assumption that Reds would get something in the order of 170.
However, the innings subsided in the face of disciplined bowling with the young Malahide seamer David O’Halloran again to the fore.
Josh Little continued on from his exploits against Netherlands and both Simi Singh and Barry McCarthy were always a threat but again George Dockrell could not find any form with the ball.
Set 149 to win, even the early loss of O’Brien, failed to slow Lightning’s charge to victory.
Man of the Match Singh got a quickfire 44 and Andrew Balbirnie a more sedate 20 but that was just the warm-up act for Dockrell and Lorcan Tucker who had a 73-run partnership from a mere 37 balls to see them home with almost five overs to spare.
Simi Singh: Pic Rodney Smythe
Kane, Aaron Cawley and young South African spinner Michael Frost did their best to make inroads into the batting line-up but eventually to no avail.
The highlight of the match and perhaps of the weekend was a stunning return catch by Fionn Hand off Singh.
The first five balls of the over had been hit for 4 fours and a six but Singh was left open mouthed in astonishment as Hand hurled himself low to his right and held onto the ball inches from the ground. A rare highlight for Munster on a day to forget.
Munster Reds lost to Leinster Lightning by 7 wickets.
Munster Reds 148-7 off 20 overs (M. Commins 51; D. O’Halloran 2-21, J. Little 2-21)
Leinster Lightning 149-3 off 15.1 overs (G. Dockrell 48*, S. Singh 44; A. Cawley 1-22)