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O'Brien and Poynter are into their groove as Lightning strike down Knights

By Ian Callender

Kevin O'Brien and Andrew Poynter showed their class to dash Northern Knights' hopes of an upset win at Stormont in the opening Inter-provincial Cup match of the season.

An unbroken fifth wicket stand of 148 between the internationals eased Leinster Lightning to victory with more than six overs to spare on a cold day.

Mansoor Amjad, the only overseas professional on view, could blame the weather for a dropped catch when Poynter was on 24 and the stand was worth 58 although the way O'Brien (89 off 77 balls) finished, with two fours and two sixes in the last three overs, it may not have mattered.

The drop went for four and 15 came off Peter Eakin's over. It was a momentum which Lightning never relinquished.

It proved a day of near misses for Knights. But just when they seemed to be getting on top, the all-star Lightning line-up stepped up. Jamie Holmes continued where he left off on Saturday, when he scored a century for Carrickfergus, with a fast start but he was tied down by Max Sorensen, facing 10 'dot' balls. His last 22 runs used up 51 balls.

A run-a-ball 61 from Greg Thompson got Knights to 221, bowled out in the last over, but four wickets in 10 overs reduced the visitors to 78 for four.

Graeme McCarter was the pick of the Knights attack but captain for the day Nigel Jones ignored Greg Thompson and Lee Nelson, making only three bowling changes while the holders added the last 100 runs in 16 overs.

Scores: Northern Knights 221 (49.4 overs, G Thompson 61, J Holmes 42, C Dougherty 32; E Richardson 3-40, Yaqoob Ali 2-24, T Kane 2-32, K Obrien 2-32) Leinster Lightning 226-4 (43.4 overs, K O'Brien 89 not out, A Poynter 56 not out, D Joyce 30, F McAllister 30; G McCarter 2-35). Lightning won by 6 wickets.

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