William Porterfield and Josh Little star with bat and ball to lead respective sides to victory
A Player of the Match batting performance by William Porterfield and an explosive opening spell from Josh Little that reduced the Northern Knights top order headlined the second day of the second Inter-Provincial T20 Festival at Bready Cricket Club today.
In the first game today, Munster Reds - sent in to bat after losing the toss - struggled to get going against the table-topping North West Warriors after losing early wickets. Captain PJ Moor once more looked the most assured at the crease, following up his 95* yesterday with 37 today. His innings was a more patient knock, but still featured 3 fours and 2 sixes – one of which cleared the ground’s fence and landed in the playground next door. After struggling in the IP 50 series, Moor has looked more assured in the shorter format – being the competition’s leading run-scorer with 204 runs at an average of 51 and a strike rate of around 150.
Craig Young (3-22) and Graham Kennedy (3-19) looked the pick of the bowlers, however, the bowling unit as a whole can be pleased with their ability to not only pick up key wickets at crucial times, but restrict the run flow – which, in itself, built pressure on the Reds batters.
A late big-hitting cameo of 23 by Fionn Hand – which included a sublime reverse sweep six – added late runs, but the Reds total of 120-7 was considered around 30 runs under par.
Needing an early breakthrough to give them any hope of victory today, the Reds bowlers came up against a belligerent William Porterfield and an fluid-striking Stephen Doheny. The pair put on 35 runs for the first wicket and set up the North West men’s successful run chase.
Doheny fell for 18, but Porterfield took the reins of the innings and hit 61* runs from 43 balls. His half-century came up in 40 balls, with a knock punctuated by shots all around the wicket – advancing down the track regularly to upset the length of the bowlers, and flat-batting the ball over the boundary at one stage in a dismissive manner. Porterfield has had a great month of batting against the Munster Reds, hitting 110 in the recent 50-over match at The Mardyke, and today looked in full control. He is now the T20 competitions second-highest run-scorer with 136 runs at 34.00.
William McClintock added a late 21* off 17 balls to drive the Warriors home to a bonus point win.
North West Warriors v Munster Reds, Inter-Provincial Trophy, Bready Cricket Club, 26 June 2021
Munster Reds120-7 (20 overs; PJ Moor 37, F Hand 23; G Kennedy 3-19, C Young 3-22)
North West Warriors 122-3 (14.4 overs; W Porterfield 61*; M Frost 2-28)
North West Warriors won by 7 wickets
Northern Knights vs Leinster Lightning Match 10
In the second match of the day, last year’s titleholders - who started the day sitting bottom of the table – demolished the Northern Knights in a 70-run rout that springboard the men in blue to second place on the ladder.
Looking to bat himself back into form, Kevin O’Brien opened his shoulders and struck a big six off Graeme McCarter on his sixth ball, but was out soon after to one of the season’s best catches. On the 11th ball he faced, O’Brien looked to lift Mark Adair over mid-wicket, but caught the ball high on the bat. Initially the ball looked destined to land part-way to the boundary, however, the mid-off fielder Ross Adair anticipated the shot and had begun running to his right and launched himself at the falling ball. Remarkably he threw out a hand and the ball stuck (see catch).
Andrew Balbirnie sparked briefly for a 17-ball 25, and Lorcan Tucker struck an eye-catching 33 off 19 balls, but the Lightning were once again indebted to Simi Singh. Singh followed up his 61 yesterday to score 57 today. His 47-ball knock was punctuated by well-timed shots through the off-side and down the ground in an innings that included 4 fours and 1 six.
The Knights bowlers turned the screws as wickets fell, and the last seven wickets fell for just 40 runs, with three run outs featuring in the latter overs.
At the change of innings the small crowd has been anticipating seeing Paul Stirling bat, however, they were set to be disappointed as Stirling was out caught from his second ball. Jeremy Lawlor also fell in the first over, and the Knights run chase was off to the worst of starts. The chief destroyer, Josh Little, put in a Player of the Match performance to claim 3-8 from three overs of pace and venom on a pitch that didn’t appear to offer too much for other bowlers.
James McCollum compiled a patient 24 and Neil Rock struck two back-to-back sixes in a quickfire 30, but no other Knights batters could get to grips with the bowlers and conditions – and the Knights were out in the 17th over for 97.
The bonus point win for the Lightning moves them into second place, ahead of tomorrow’s now top of the table clash between the North West Warriors and Leinster Lightning starting at 11am.
Northern Knights v Leinster Lightning, Inter-Provincial Trophy, Bready Cricket Club, 26 June 2021
Lightning 167 (20 overs; S Singh 57, L Tucker 33; R Pretorius 2-29)
Knights 97 (16.3 overs; N Rock 30; J Little 3-8)
Leinster Lightning won by 70 runs