North West Warriors face a final day shoot-out with Leinster Lightning this afternoon in Comber with the T20 Trophy at stake after they lost yesterday’s only game to Munster Reds.
Victory for Andy McBrine’s side would have brought the trophy north west for the first time since 2014 but a poor batting powerplay and a devastating Reds batting performance has set up a winner-take all game today, with Lightning just two points behind Warriors going into the final day of the season.
The good news for Ireland as an 18-man squad prepare to head off to the UAE for next month’s T20 World Cup is that Gareth Delany is back and in form.
Playing his first game since he underwent knee surgery at the start of June – and his first T20 of the season – Delany hit 60 from 35 balls with six fours and three sixes to launch the Reds pursuit of 152 in style.
It still wasn’t enough to win him man of the match, however as Matt Ford followed up with an unbeaten 63 from 37 (nine fours and two sixes) to ease the Reds to a bonus point win; they had six wickets and 29 balls to spare.
It wasn’t such a good day for Delany’s fellow Ireland squad members, Andy McBrine, Graham Kennedy and Shane Getkate who bowled six wicketless overs for 69 runs, indeed Delany greeted the two slow bowlers by hitting their first balls for six and although he had to be content with a six off Getkate’s first delivery, the second went into the pavilion.
A heavy dew, which followed yesterday’s persistent rain – which wiped out the first day’s action in the weekend festival at The Green – also led to the abandonment of yesterday’s scheduled opener between Lightning and Northern Knights, so both team will try again today to get into the middle.
The Lightning side will be handicapped by the absence of Simi Singh who has had to return home but Josh Little, who was restricted to just two of the three matches by Cricket Ireland, before he flies out with the Ireland squad on Friday, is available today.
Graham Hume, who qualifies for Ireland next year, was mainly responsible for Warriors adding 108 from the last 10 overs after they had scored only 43 from the first 10. He hit three fours and four sixes and shared a sixth wicket stand of 83 with Kennedy in just 38 balls.