Leinster Lightning in seventh heaven as they claim Inter-Provincial T20 Trophy
The Leinster Lightning have regained the Inter-Provincial T20 Trophy after a convincing victory over the Northern Knights on the third day of the final 3-day T20 Festival at Pembroke Cricket Club. This is the seventh time the Lightning have claimed the title since the competition’s launch in 2013.
Earlier in the day the Munster Reds had smashed their way to a bonus point win over the North West Warriors to go top of the table. Only an equally convincing bonus point win by the Lightning in the second game would see the title slip from the Reds grip, but the experienced Leinster side duly delivered, disappointing fans of Munster who were dreaming of a title double in 2022 after the Men in Red had wrapped up the 50-over Cup title earlier in the season.
Game 1: Munster Reds v North West Warriors
The Munster Reds staked their claim early in the day for trophy honours with a six-wicket win over the North West Warriors in what was a relatively low-scoring encounter given what has come before during this Festival.
After winning the toss, Warriors captain Andy McBrine elected to bat first in the hopes of setting the pace early and putting the pressure on the Reds on a wicket that has highly favoured batters across the three days.
However, Clontarf pace bowler David Delany had other ideas, removing makeshift opener Graham Kennedy for 2 and Nathan McGuire for 14. After a 62-run stand between Stephen Doheny (58) and Jared Wilson (19), the third wicket fell to the wily bowling of Curtis Campher, who tempted Wilson into a lofted off drive that was well caught by a running Tyrone Kane from long off. That wicket left the Warriors at 82-3 at the exact halfway stage of the innings.
Doheny shortly afterwards brought up his half-century from 36 balls with a push through midwicket but lost his off-stump on 58 from a ball that angled in off a length.
Further wickets fell, and the Reds bowlers now had their tails up, looking to bowl the Warriors out within the 20 overs. McBrine battled hard as to steer his side towards the full allocation of overs but became Campher’s third victim after nicking an attempted pull shot through to keeper PJ Moor – out for a 17-ball 32.
The Warriors eked out late runs and finished on 165-8 – David Delany the star with the ball taking 3-17 from 4 overs, while Campher claimed 3-33 from his spell.
In response the Reds’ openers Moor and Murray Commins got off to a flyer, with a bonus point victory in their sights. Commins was the early aggressor-in-chief smashing seven fours and a six in his 42 from 24 balls before he was spectacularly caught and bowled by a diving Kennedy
Moor pushed on, bringing up his half-century with a pull shot for six, reaching his milestone in just 23 balls and striking five sixes along the way. He eventually fell for a 30-ball 74, but the damage was done for the chasing side.
Gareth Delany (25*) and a 5-ball 18* from Kevin O’Brien sealed the six-wicket win and a bonus point to move the Reds back to the top of the table meaning the Lightning not only had to win the second convincingly with a bonus point.
Munster Reds v North West Warriors, Inter-Provincial Trophy, Pembroke, 29 July 2022
Warriors 165-8 (20 overs; S Doheny 58; D Delany 3-17, C Campher 3-33)
Reds 168-4 (14.1 overs; PJ Moor 75, M Commins 42; S Macbeth 3-24)
Reds won by 6 wickets
Game 2: Leinster Lightning v Northern Knights
Leinster Lightning went into the second match of the day needing a bonus point win to secure their seventh Inter-Provincial T20 Trophy and they duly obliged thanks to a disciplined bowling display, led by Player of the Match Barry McCarthy.
Knights captain Mark Adair won the toss and elected to bat first, however, may soon have been regretting the call as Paul Stirling (10), John Matchett (5) and James McCollum (1) were soon back in the pavilion – at the end of the powerplay the NCU side sitting on a precarious 42-3.
The situation was made worse two balls later when Lightning skipper George Dockrell brought himself into the bowling attack and sent Ruhan Pretorius’ middle stump flying with an in-drifting ball that beat the bat.
Cade Carmichael was the only Knights top-order batter to get to grips with conditions as he stroked his way to 26, with four boundaries, but in the 10th over he skipped down the pitch to Simi Singh and flicked the ball off his pads straight to Josh Little at deep square leg. At 62-6 it was looking desperate for the Knights, and forlorn for the Munster Reds’ title hopes.
Neil Rock (22) and Tom Mayes (20) added late runs, but the Lightning bowlers never let the batting side get any momentum and the Knights were eventually dismissed for 96 from 14.4 overs – the Northern side’s lowest-ever team total in this competition.
For the Leinster side, there were excellent spells of controlled bowling by McCarthy (4-18), Dockrell (3-13) and Singh (2-26) - McCarthy achieving his career-best Inter-Provincial T20 return.
The Lightning batters then set to work chasing down the small target with intent. Andrew Balbirnie (52 from 24 balls) led the charge, with Harry Tector (28 off 14 balls) providing able support. Balbirnie struck seven fours and three sixes in a welcome return to form as the Men from Leinster cruised to victory in 10.2 overs.
While the Lightning and Munster Reds finished tied on points at the top of the table, Lightning finished with a superior net run rate to claim the trophy.
Leinster Lightning v Northern Knights, Inter-Provincial Trophy, Pembroke, 29 July 2022
Knights 96 (14.4 overs; C Carmichael 26; B McCarthy 4-18, G Dockrell 3-13, S Singh 2-26)
Lightning 97-4 (10.2 overs; A Balbirnie 52; M Adair 2-25)
Lightning won by 6 wickets
TITLE HISTORY: INTER-PROVINCIAL T20 TROPHY
- 2022: Leinster Lightning
- 2021: North West Warriors
- 2020: Leinster Lightning
- 2019: Northern Knights
- 2018: Leinster Lightning
- 2017: Leinster Lightning
- 2016: Leinster Lightning
- 2015: Leinster Lightning
- 2014: North West Warriors
- 2013: Leinster Lightning