Rush claims 2018 Clear Currency National Cup
Rush Cricket Club is the 2018 National Cup champions after a titanic struggle with Limerick ended with a 26-run for the Leinster side.
Player of the match Stephen Doheny turned the game in the home side’s favour with two wickets in two balls in his first over, having earlier made a stylish 63. It wasn’t the decisive point however in a game that ebbed and flowed more often than the River Shannon.
Having won the toss and opted to bat first, Rush set about establishing a strong total with openers Doheny and Conor Armstrong (90 runs off 93 balls; 13 x fours) putting on 136 for the first wicket.
Murtaza and Mustafa Sidiqi were the heroes in the field for Limerick, reining in the home side and restricting their final total. Murtaza (4-43 off 8 overs) bowled the visitors into the game while Mustafa was the safe pair of hands, with no less than four catches, including two identical catches over his head at long off.
The catch of the innings went to Murtaza, off his own bowling, who adjusted brilliantly to dismiss Armstrong when he smashed the ball straight back at the him.
Shahid Iqbal (28 runs off 11 balls; 3 x fours, 2 x sixes) added some late impetus to the Rush innings as they closed on 269-6 off their 40 overs.
Daniel Coffey took two wickets in his first bowling spell and after a sensational run out from Doheny on the move from backward point, Limerick were 56-3 after ten overs and up against it.
That’s how it seemed, before Hashir Sultan (56 runs off 55 balls; 6 x fours, 2 x sixes) and Murtaza Sidiqi (53 runs off 54 balls; 6 x fours, 3 x sixes) put on 121 in 18 overs, setting up the prospect of a double all-Ireland victory for the Treaty county.
That’s when Doheny took his two in two but it wasn’t the end for Limerick. They may have needed ten an over but in the tight surrounds of Kenure, it wasn’t inconceivable. What’s more they almost pulled it off.
Farman Yousafzai (23 runs off 17 balls) and Swaroop Burra (24 runs off 16 balls) almost took their side home. It took Coffey (4-34 from 7 overs), returning to bowl the 38th over to remove the final two barriers to Rush winning the National Cup for the third time in four years.
The huge crowd in Kenure was treated to a special match, filled with brilliant individual performances, tension to the end and a thrilling, colourful spectacle.
Scorecard in brief
Clear Currency National Cup Final, 2 September 2018 at Kenure, Rush CC
Rush 269-6 (50 overs; C Armstrong 90, S Doheny 63; Murt Sidiqi 4-43)
Limerick 243 (38 overs; H Sultan 56, Murt Sidiqi 53; D Coffey 4-34, S Doheny 3-32)
Rush win by 26 runs