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Dockrell's brilliant form at crease gets Lightning over line

 

By Ian Callender

George Dockrell's phenomenal form with the bat continued yesterday at Stormont as he led his Leinster Lightning side to a three wickets victory over Northern Knights.

But the much-deserved maiden century still eludes him.

In the first inter-provincial Cup match between the teams four weeks ago, the Ireland international scored 98 not out and this time followed up with an unbeaten 94 as the holders got over the line with nine balls to spare.

The Knights, who have now lost all three 50-over games, gave their visitors a couple of scares, first of all reducing them to 69-4 and then with 27 needed for victory, Civil Service North professional Andre Malan, on his inter-pro debut, took two wickets in successive balls and in the next over Graham McCarter had Tyrone Kane caught by Malan.

In between, though, Dockrell and John Anderson put on 140 for the fifth wicket and Eddie Richardson stayed with his skipper for the final 26 runs to maintain Lightning's unbeaten record.

In a repeat of the Knights' last home game here, Harry Tector was their top scorer, finishing 68 not out, but captain James Shannon lasted only four balls with the bat and then was unable to field because of a quad injury which makes him a major doubt for the three-day Championship game, against North West Warriors starting at Comber this morning (11am). John Matchett is on stand-by but Gary Kidd, the Waringstown slow left armer, has been ruled out with a damaged finger and is replaced by CIYMS leg spinner Jacob Mulder.

Malan was called into the squad as a late replacement for Mark Adair, joining CSN team-mates Mark Ellison and Graham McCarter the day after they reached the Challenge Cup final with victory over Shannon and Shane Getkate's Instonians' side.

Getkate resumed the captaincy for Lightning's chase and must have been delighted with his bowlers' response.

McCarter struck in the first over, Getakte himself followed with the big wicket of Andrew Balbirnie with his first ball and next over Kidd dismissed the big-hitting Gareth Delany with his fifth delivery.

When Malan struck with the second ball of his second spell to claim Lightning's fourth wicket, an upset was on the cards but it is just one big name after another in this Leinster side and Dockrell was the last person the Knights would have wanted to see striding to the wicket with 32 overs still remaining.

At first it needed to be consolidation and apart from a huge six off Kidd from only the fifth ball he faced, Dockrell and Anderson were content to score 37 off the next 10 overs.

The 50 partnership, however, was the signal for a change in momentum and 33 came off the next four overs and it was to be the 46th over before the partnership was broken.

Anderson was happy to accumulate, his 75 coming off 111 balls with seven fours, while Dockrell hit only three more boundaries but won the match, tidily, from his 100th delivery.

Dockrell was also the most economical bowler but Singh and Max Sorensen both ended up with three wickets as the Knights' innings was unable to accelerate significantly.

Most of the batsmen got starts but no partnership threatened to match the opening one of 56 between the Waringstown pair of Adam Dennison and James McCollum and Tector was the only 'home' player to reach 50.

Meanwhile, in Dublin, Ireland Women gained a consolation but thrilling victory in the last game of their three-match series with Bangladesh, Isobel Joyce hitting the last ball of the match for the winning single.

Set the highest total of the series, 152, for victory, a superb third wicket stand of 93 between Gaby Lewis and captain Laura Delany got them within 29 runs of victory with 21 balls remaining. They still needed 11 off the last and when the skipper was run out off the third ball, Bangladesh were favourites again. But Joyce hit the penultimate ball to the fine leg boundary to tie the scores and set up the last-ball finale.

Scores: Sydney Parade: Bangladesh Women 151-4 (20 overs, Fargana Hoque 66 not out, Shamima Sultana 30) Ireland Women 152-4 (20 overs, G Lewis 50, L Delany 46, I Joyce 22 not out, C Shillington 21). Ireland won by 6 wickets.

Belfast Telegraph

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