O’Brien hundred leads Leinster Lightning to hard fought win
May 6th 2013 by Cricket Ireland | International
A superb unbeaten 111 from Kevin O’Brien saw his Leinster Lightning side overcome the challenge of the Northern Knights in the final over of their opening game in the RSA Inter-Provincial Trophy at a sun drenched Hills Cricket Club in Skerries.
It looked a lost cause for Lightning after they slipped to 189 for 8 chasing a victory target of 260, but O’Brien had other ideas as he found the boundaries with increasing regularity in the crucial overs.
Having reached his half century from 58 balls he proceeded to smash 61 runs from the next 29 balls faced to wrest victory away from the Knights who couldn’t quite believe what had happened.
O’Brien dominated a 9th wicket stand of 70 with Fintan McAllister (11*) which took just 6.3 overs, with the Malahide keeper playing his part in giving O’Brien the all important strike.
The Railway Union and Ireland international showed all his experience as he cleared the ropes four times in the closing stages much to the delight of the considerable home support.
He was dropped twice, by Lee Nelson and David Simpson, both diffiuclt chances but you sensed then that this was going to be his day.
Kevin O’Brien will have been delighted to pull off the win over Knights captain Andrew White © INPHO/Ryan Byrne
Earlier John Anderson (45) and Alex Cusack (46) had both batted superbly to take Leinster Lightning to 136 for 2, but Eugene Moleon (2-56) and David Simpson (2-21) bowled the Knights back into contention before the final O’Brien blitz.
Earlier in the day Lee Nelson impressed with 54 from 56 balls (5 fours, 2 sixes) in a solid batting display by the Northern side.
Nigel Jones (38) and Chris Dougherty (46) shared an opening stand of 63, and with Andrew White (31), James Hall (24) and coach Eugene Moleon providing late impetus, a total of 259 for 7 looked to be just above par.
Albert van der Merwe bowled well to claim 2 for 48, while there were also two wickets apeice for Alex Cusack (2-58) and Max Sorensen (2-60).
O’Brien was obviously delighted to claim the win saying: “It’s great to get the points especially when we looked to be on the ropes at 189 for 8. We looked in a good position with Alex (Cusack) and myself going well after a great innings by John Anderson. However we wobbled in the middle order before bouncing back. We’ve great depth in our batting and Fintan McAllister scored a hundred at the weekend. I knew if I was there at the end we could do it and so it proved. It’s always nice to make a contribution but it’s all about the team winning.”
Coach Trent Johnston had warned his players against complacency as he knew the Knights would battle all the way: “We’ve been talked up in the media but these Northern teams have 6 or 7 international players. They gave us a great fight today and although we were below par, we’ve got the win. It’s a great start to the Series for everyone with a great game, a huge crowd and sunshine. It augurs well for the rest of the matches.”
The next game sees Leinster Lightning play the North West Warriors at College Park in the RSA Inter-Provincial Championship from Tuesday May 14 until Thursday May 16th.