Inter-Provincial 50-over Cup: Munster Reds complete 19-run (DLS) win over Northern Knights at The Mardyke
After a pulsating match that saw Mark Adair strike his first List A century, the Munster Reds moved four points clear of second-place Leinster Lightning with a 19-run (DLS) win over Northern Knights at The Mardyke today – the Reds’ first win at their home ground since joining the 50-over Inter-Provincial Cup competition in 2021.
Munster Reds v Northern Knights, Inter-Provincial Cup, The Mardyke, 24 May 2022
Reds 265-7 (49 overs; K O’Brien 66, G Delany 63; J Manley 3-56)
Knights 246 (45.2 overs; M Adair 108, J McCollum 41; C Campher 3-57, M Frost 3-57)
Result - Munster Reds won by 19 runs (DLS)
A 92-run partnership between Irish internationals Kevin O’Brien (66) and Gareth Delany (63) rescued Munster Reds from a poor start after the home side won the toss and elected to bat first. The Reds lost four early wickets, finding themselves at 38-4 in the 11th over, before O’Brien and Delany set about the recovery.
The Northern Knights’ paceman Josh Manley (3-56) was the early destroyer, removing Murray Commins (2) edging to first slip and Curtis Campher (0) cleaned up by an outswinging yorker. Knights captain Mark Adair accounted for his opposite number PJ Moor (7), trapped in front LBW, and suddenly the competition’s bottom-ranked side had the competition’s top-ranked side on the ropes.
The two sides left the field on a number of occasions with brief showers interrupting play and reducing the game to a 49-over a side affair. Such breaks may have a habit of interrupting a batter’s concentration, but O’Brien brought his attacking intent to the fore and registered his half-century from 61 balls, going on to make 66 from 75 balls (including seven fours and two sixes). While an impressive innings, O’Brien will be disappointed with his mode of dismissal – checking a lofted off drive straight to Manley at long-off from the bowling of Ben White.
At 130-5, the Reds’ innings was still looking precarious, but Gareth Delany dug in and found support from Fionn Hand (30) with a 42-run stand for the sixth wicket, following this up with a 32-run partnership with his cousin David Delany (31*). David Delany got off the mark with a sweetly-timed on-drive off Matthew Foster for four, and took the lead aggressor role during the partnership, however, when Gareth Delany was trapped LBW - giving Manley his third wicket - the Reds 204-7 in the 42nd over.
The Knights’ bowlers may have felt that a good death-overs bowling effort would have them in a good position at the innings break, but the Reds’ Liam McCarthy had other ideas. McCarthy joined David Delany in a 61-run partnership from the last 47 balls of the innings. Whilst batting in the tail for the Reds, McCarthy bats four at club level and showed his full repertoire with the bat in an unbeaten 40 from 26 balls. He struck two eye-catching maximums – both over the legside boundary – and the Reds finished their 49 overs with 265-7.
With his tail up after a solid contribution with the bat, David Delany steamed in with the new ball and soon had two wickets to his name. The two dismissals remarkably similar in nature - both Ross Adair (4) and Ruhan Pretorius (4) were beaten by the pace and movement and had their stumps knocked backwards.
James McCollum (41) and James Lawlor (14) put on 37 for the 3rd wicket, but the introduction of Campher to the bowling crease saw the end of Lawlor – edging a ball to O’Brien at first slip.
Ani Chore joined McCollum and the pair set about stabilising the innings, both batters looking increasingly confident as their respective innings’ progressed. But with the score on 96-3, it was McCollum that fell first, playing across the line from left-arm spinner Mike Frost and was caught at short third by Campher. In an almost carbon copy dismissal, Chore fell for 38 soon after to the same catcher/bowler combination and the Knights slipped to 137-5 in the 27th over.
With the game seemingly slipping away from the visiting side, Mark Adair began to counter-attack. First, he preyed upon the spin of Frost and Gareth Delany, then increasingly took the game to the Reds pace attack. The Irish all-rounder struck eight fours and six sixes in an innings of 108 from just 78 balls. His half-century came from just 35 balls, and while he was relatively becalmed for a 20-minute spell around his fifty, he once again accelerated his scoring rate and powered his way to his first List A century from just 69 balls.
Neil Rock (5), Matthew Humphreys (0) and Manley (0) came and went – to the increasing desperation of Adair – but a 24-run 9th wicket stand with Ben White (13) gave the Knights a glimmer of hope.
On 108, Adair pulled a Campher half-tracker to David Delany who took a diving outfield catch at deep square leg, and the hopes of a remarkable run-chase were extinguished with the captain’s fall.
White was bowled soon after and the Knights finished on 246 after 45.2 overs – Adair was named Player of the Match, but it was the Reds who will be the most pleased as they now sit four points clear at the top of the table.
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