Balbirnie blitz leads Lightning to Hanley Energy IP20 win over Knights
ANDREW BALBIRNIE’S blistering half-century ensured defending champions Leinster Lightning remained in pole position at the top of the Hanley Energy IP20 table after a convincing 7-wicket win over the Northern Knights at Merrion on Friday evening.
The Pembroke man smashed 5 fours and cleared the ropes three times in an unbeaten 71 from just 44 balls as Lightning chased down their 158 run target to win with 17 balls to spare.
Balbrinie shared an unbroken 4th wicket stand of 79 from just 46 balls with skipper John Anderson, whose undefeated 41 came from just 25 deliveries (5 fours, 1 six).
Shane Getkate (2-47) struck two early blows but proved expensive, while Graeme McCarter bowled tightly but with no reward, as Lightning produced a clinical run-chase.
Earlier, the Knights total of 157 for 8 was dominated by half-centuries from the in-form James Shannon and Greg Thompson.
Shannon remained positive despite an early flurry of wickets as the Knights slumped to 48 for 4 - Bobby Gamble (2-22) particularly impressive.
The Knights captain clubbed four sixes and four fours to reach his half-century from just 30 balls, but soon after was dismissed by Simi Singh - who bowled superbly to claim 3 for 19 in his four-over spell.
Greg Thompson took on the mantle, unfurling his full repertoire of sweeps - both conventional and reverse - in an entertaining top score of 56 from 40 balls (8 fours, 1 six), sharing a 6th wicket stand of 57 with Nikolai Smith who made a run-a-ball 21.
Merrion left-armer Tom Stanton took 2 for 30 on his Lightning debut as his team once gain showed their all-round strength and depth in the competition.
Meanwhile in Cork, Munster Reds home match against the North West Warriors was abandoned without a ball being bowled.
HANLEY ENERGY INTER-PROVINCIAL T20 TROPHY
At Anglesea Road
Northern Knights 157-8 (20 overs; G Thompson 56, J Shannon 51, Nik Smith 21, S Singh 3-19, B Gamble 2-22, T Stanton 2-30)
Leinster Lightning 158-3 (17.1 overs; A Balbirnie 71*, J Anderson 41*, S Getkate 2-47)
Leinster Lightning beat Northern Knights by 7 wickets