Reds stun Warriors to give Lightning title boost
Leinster Lightning need to win only one of their two remaining matches to retain the title but it was Munster Reds who stole the headlines on the first day of the Twenty20 Inter-provincial Festival at Sydney Parade.
At their ninth attempt, the Reds won a match with a convincing six-wicket victory over North West Warriors. Lightning, predictably, were the only team to top 200 and that proved 27 runs too many for Northern Knights in the second game.
The holders needed a 42-run margin or greater to clinch the title yesterday but there will be no panic in the Lightning ranks. They face the Warriors this afternoon in what was expected to be a title decider but now the shocked North West side are playing catch-up.
Strabane's Aaron Gillespie was the class act in the first innings of the day, scoring 80 (nine fours and two sixes) from 55 balls, made more impressive as he came to the middle with Warriors on 16-4 with William Porterfield (5) and Stuart Thompson (2) among the early wickets.
With skipper Andy McBrine he put on a record fifth-wicket stand of 97 to help Warriors to 162-7 and their dressing room was probably happy at the break.
But Stephen Doheny was no respecter of reputations and the young Rush opener proceeded to hit 64 from 43 balls with Craig Young (0-33) and Thompson (1-36) from just three overs bearing the brunt. With Max Sorensen finishing 19 not out from nine balls, the Reds eased home with a full three overs to spare.
It was the familiar pair of Andrew Balbirnie and Simi Singh who dominated the Lightning innings after they chose to bat first in the afternoon game.
After a quick 19 from Gareth Delany (a four and two sixes) the internationals put on a record 132 with Singh again proving he will be in for the long haul in the shortest format with 69 from 36 balls, five fours and four sixes.
Only during an 80-run stand between skipper Shane Getkate and Harry Tector were Lightning under any pressure.
Tyrone Kane took a wicket in his first over, two in his second and two in his third but it was Peter Chase (1-24) who bowled even better, seeing a catch dropped off his bowling and a couple of expensive misfields.
SCORES: North West Warriors 162-7 (A Gillespie 80, A McBrine 37; Yaqoob Ali 2-27, D Delany 2-30) Munster Reds 163-4 (S Doheny 64, R Forrest 36; A McBrine 2-32). Munster Reds won by six wickets
:Leinster Lightning 207-5 (A Balbirnie 72, S Singh 69, G Dockrell 32; M Adair 2-40) Northern Knights 180-9 (S Getkate 45, H Tector 36, A Dennison 27; T Kane 5-22, G Dockrell 2-33).
Leinster Lightning won by 27 runs