Kane and Balbirnie star in emphatic Lightning win
STORMONT - A stunning spell of opening bowling from Tyrone Kane, which was ably backed up by a fine innings from Andy Balbirnie, propelled the Leinster Lightning to a comfortable seven wicket victory in their Test Triangle Inter-Provincial 50 over game against the Northern Knights.
Tyrone Kane took five wickets in an opening eight over spell to dismiss the majority of the Knights top order, before he returned to grab one more at the death to finish with career best figures of 6-42 from his 9 overs. This reduced the Knights to just 176 and the Lightning chased this down in facile manner, with Andy Balbirnie scoring 90 and Lorcan Tucker scoring 57* the main contributions.
Having won the toss and elected to field, George Dockrell’s decision for the Lightning was immediately vindicated when Kane trapped Marc Ellison LBW in the first over. The Knights were without James McCollum, and they missed the solidity at the top of the order. Shane Getkate, who was deputising opening the batting for McCollum, fell soon after when feathering behind off Kane also. Harry Tector provided momentary relief but Kane accounted for himself, Neil Rock and Greg Thompson in the space of three overs to have completed his five wicket haul within the first 12 overs.
The Knights were on the ropes at 46-5 but Gary Wilson stood firm and he was joined by Mark Adair, who counter-attacked in the only way he can. Adair scored a very sprightly 40 from 39 balls before he nicked a Simi Singh delivery through to Tucker. Jacob Mulder joined Wilson and these two both put up good resistance and briefly looked like they would take the Knights to a threatening total over 200. However, Wilson fell to the returning Barry McCarthy for 40. Mulder (28) and James Cameron-Dow (22) both played handy knocks, but when the two of them fell in the same Gareth Delany over, the innings was all but over. The Knights slipping from 175-7 to 176 all out to complete their innings.
It still could have been a tricky little run chase for the Lightning, especially given the opening spell from Mark Adair. He struck before the Lunch break to get Delany early, to leave Leinster 19-1 at the interval. Adair then struck again after the break, producing a wonderful delivery to dismiss Jack Tector, and with the score at 34-2, it looked like it was game on. However, Tucker came to join Balbirnie, and these two very quickly steadied the ship for the Lightning.
They were initially quite watchful, bringing the score up to 78-2 after 20 overs. However, soon the momentum of the game completely turned in their favour, with Balbirnie beginning to dip into his vast array of shots as he passed fifty. Tucker played a canny second fiddle role also, attacking when he could, but rotating the strike brilliantly also. They began to fly to their target of 177, putting the Knights attack under heavy scrutiny as they powered home. Balbirnie only departed with eight runs left to win, getting caught short charging back for a second run, while trying to get towards his hundred. It was down to Tucker to bring them over the line, finishing on a very fluent 57* himself and a comfortable seven wicket for the Lightning.
The next Test Triangle Inter-Provincial action is on Thursday when the Leinster Lightning will be looking to secure the 50 over series with a win against the North West Warriors. That action is from North County Cricket Club, with play due to start at 10.45 am.
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