Northern Knights break windows while Leinster Lightning break records on the second day of Inter-Pro T20 Festival
It may have been a case of ‘break glass in case of emergency, but a shattered clubhouse window courtesy of a six by Munster Reds’ captain PJ Moor couldn’t stop the Northern Knights from continuing their resurgence in the Inter-Provincial T20 competition with a thumping win. Meanwhile Leinster Lightning hit the competition’s highest-ever team score on the second day of the final 3-day T20 Festival at Pembroke Cricket Club.
The results today mean that three of the four sides in the competition have a chance of winning the title on the final day.
Game 1: Munster Reds v Northern Knights
The Northern Knights continued their resurgence in the Inter-Provincial T20 Trophy competition with a second victory of the festival, this time over the table-topping Munster Reds in warm summer conditions at Pembroke today.
After losing the toss and being inserted to bat, the Northern Knights – without the services today of yesterday’s centurion Ross Adair – continued the Festivals high-scoring form by posting 228-4 from their 20 overs.
Paul Stirling (17 off 12 balls) and John Matchett started sprightly, putting on 28 from the first 23 balls, before Stirling wafted at a high ball outside off stump and feathered Liam McCarthy through to keeper PJ Moor.
The loss of talisman Stirling only served to embolden the Knights batters, with Matchett and James McCollum (50 from 27 balls) put on 126 runs in the next 10 overs. The pair struck 10 fours and 10 sixes between them as they plundered a Reds bowling attack to all parts of the ground, particularly punishing on anything short of a length.
Just after registering his half-centruy, McCollum skied an attempted pull shot off David Delany that was comfortably pouched by Murray Commins at mid on. Then only four balls later, it was Matchett’s turn to mistime a pull shot – this time off the legspin of Gareth Delany – and his top-edged shot settled into the safe gloves of the keeper – out for 83 from 46 balls (7 fours, 7 sixes)
With the dismissal of McCollum and Matchett, the Reds’ bowlers began to drag themselves back into the contest. From 165-3 at the start of the 15th over, the run rate briefly dropped significantly with Curtis Campher and Gareth Delany bowling several tight overs. Despite this, the Reds couldn’t stop the Knights from upping the run rate again in the latter overs putting on 58 from the final four overs to finish on 228-4 thanks to a late flurry by Neil Rock (28*) and Ruhan Pretorius (18*).
While a momentous run chase ahead, the Reds innings began in the worst possible manner losing yesterday’s centurion Murray Commins trapped in front by Mark Adair’s first ball. The dangerous pair of Gareth Delany and Tyrone Kane fell soon after, leaving the Munster side at 8-3 in the third over.
PJ Moor (25) and Matt Ford (24) put on a stabilising 47 for the fourth wicket from just four overs, but just as the Reds looked to be climbing back into the contest then both batters fell in the 7th over to Pretorius and they team in red were 57-5, needing more than 13 runs per over to reach an unlikely victory.
Middle-order runs to Campher (20) and Fionn Hand (28) weren’t enough to generate momentum, and regular wickets fell as the Knights bowlers tightened their grip on the encounter.
In the end the Reds succumbed in the 14th over, all out for 129, giving the Knights a 99-run victory. Mark Adair (3-15) and Pretorius (3-14) did the damage with the ball, but Matchett was awarded Player of the Match for his blistering innings.
Munster Reds v Northern Knights, Inter-Provincial Trophy, Pembroke, 28 July 2022
Knights 228-4 (20 overs; J Matchett 83, J McCollum 50; C Campher 1-36)
Reds 129 (13.2 overs; F Hand 28; R Pretorius 3-14, M Adair 3-15)
Knights won by 99 runs
Game 2: Leinster Lightning v North West Warriors
Leinster Lightning didn’t break windows but did break a record in the second game of the day, eclipsing their own competition highest team total of 247 (achieved in 2017), posting 260-3 from 20 overs. They then completed the rout of their Warriors counterparts by dismissing them for 132 in the 18th over.
After losing the toss, Leinster Lightning were asked to bat first and began on a positive note taking 20 runs from the first overs, with both Andrew Balbirnie (31) and Simi Singh (9) finding the boundary with assertive stroke play. Sensing pace off might be the order of the day, Warriors skipper Andy McBrine introduced himself in the third over and reaped immediate rewards – first pegging Singh down for four balls, then tempting the frustrated batter into a lavish aerial off-drive which he skied straight to Graham Kennedy at mid off.
Balbirnie then combined with Player of the Match Lorcan Tucker for an 88-run stand in just 45 balls, both batters peppering the boundaries or threatening the safety of the growing spectators. However, on 31 Balbirnie top-edged a sweep shot off McBrine to be well caught by Shane Getkate. The wicket only served to spur on the batting side on, with Tucker (77 from 33 balls), Harry Tector (58* from 23 balls) and George Dockrell (69 from 26 balls) executing a devastating blitz on the Warriors bowlers - only McBrine, with 2-34 from 4 overs, went for less than 13 an over.
All up, the Lightning batters smote 26 fours and 15 sixes in an audacious batting display that broke records and could potentially break the hearts of a Warriors squad looking to defend its title.
Dockrell followed up his destructive 68* from 18 balls yesterday with a 69* today - to point out it was marginally slower today would perhaps be a little unfair on the Lightning captain, who is continuing a rich vein of form that Ireland head coach Heinrich Malan will hope he can continue as the international side builds towards the T20 World Cup in October.
Needing a rapid start with an opening run rate required of 13.05, the Warriors started cautiously, scoring 20 from the first 22 balls. But just as Stephen Doheny began to hit the accelerator with a six and four off Barry McCarthy, wickets began to fall. Five wickets fell in quick succession as the North West side slumped from 20-0 to 42-5 in 23 balls. Doheny (26 from 22 balls) was the only top-order batter to get into double-figures, while the Lightning’s bowling attack shared the wickets early, supported by an excellent direct-hit run out by Singh from cover to remove Getkate.
Josh Little was back to his devastating best, taking 3-12 from four overs – the Festival’s most economical spell so far, Gavin Hoey finished with 3-34 and Dockrell chimed in with 2-5 from two overs, with the Warriors were all out for 132 in the 18th over.
The margin of victory – 128 runs – was also the competition’s largest such victory margin, surpassing Lightning’s 106-run winning margin over the same opponents back in 2013.
Leinster Lightning v North West Warriors, Inter-Provincial Trophy, Pembroke, 28 July 202
Lightning 260-3 (20 overs; L Tucker 77, G Dockrell 69*, H Tector 58*; A McBrine 2-34)
Warriors 132 (17.5 overs; S Doheny 26; J Little 3-12, G Hoey 3-34)
Lightning won by 128 runs