Odran Flynn (CricketEurope)
Northern Knights bounced back from yesterday’s comprehensive defeat to outplay Leinster Lightning and win by 22 runs on the second day of the IPT20 festival in Pembroke.
Knights were unrecognisable from their dismal display against Warriors and when they were asked to bat by George Dockrell, raced to 76-1 after just eight overs.
Yesterday James McCollum had been the one positive in the batting display and today he continued where he had left off. His six fours in the first four overs took him to 25 out of an opening partnership of 37 with Luke Georgeson before he fell to David O’Halloran.
Georgeson then assumed the role of the aggressor alongside Ruhan Pretorius and his 3 fours and a six in an 18 ball 31 gave real impetus to the innings.
Luke Georgeson (Pic: Rodney Smythe)
Except for Knights skipper, Harry Tector, who fell tamely for 3, every remaining batsman had a strike rate of at least 125 which kept the Lightning bowling attack on their toes.
It also induced some of the sloppiest fielding by the men in blue for some considerable time. Mark Adair and Neil Rock both cleared the boundary in short cameos.
But just when it seemed as if something around 160 would be the height of their ambition, Ross Adair took 18 runs off the final over of the innings, bowled by Barry McCarthy, to propel the Knights to what turned out to be an unassailable total of 174-7.
The Lightning bowlers have not had too many bad days at the office in recent years, but this was one of those days especially for rising star O’Halloran, who while he did take two wickets, also conceded 46 runs in his four overs.
In cricket, particularly in T20, this happens to all bowlers at some stage of their career, and I have no doubt that the young Malahide man will learn from this experience.
He could look to Josh Little as an example of how to bounce back as the left armer conceded 13 of his first over but came back later to only concede the same number of runs in his remaining three overs while his genuine pace and hostility brought him three wickets.
Dockrell had a better day with the ball taking 1-27 from his full allocation. However, I am somewhat bemused by Dockrell’s decision to give leg spinner JJ Garth only one over in the two games to date.
As we saw yesterday Tector give the Knights leg spinner Ben White his full quota and followed up that by repeating the formula today and was handsomely rewarded by the former Phoenix man hitting the stumps three times while only conceding 27 runs.
Mark Adair and Ben White: pic Rodney Smythe
His spell largely contributed to Lightnings demise and given the crying need for reliable wrist spinners in the Ireland squad, especially in World Cup year, I would have thought that every option should be tried or there is little point in picking them in the team.
The Lightning reply never really got going with wickets falling at regular intervals with only Andrew Balbirnie looking as if he might thwart the northern side but when he was smartly stumped by Rock, standing up to Georgeson, for 42 the only question remaining was whether or nor the Knights could also get the bonus point if they could dismiss their opponents for less than 140.
At 101-8 it seemed likely that they would but a rollicking unbeaten stand of 51 by Barry McCarthy and Josh Little snatched the bonus point out of Lightning’s hands. Both batsmen got their highest T20 scores, 24* and 27* respectively in the 25 balls they faced in their partnership. They hit a combined 5 fours and 3 sixes, and they must have wondered what the earlier batters had been doing.
Apart from White, Ross Adair and Graham McCarter bowled well and none of the bowlers were taken to the cleaners. T
here is still a long way to go in this competition with these two sides still to play nine matches, but todays result certainly opens all possibilities.
Ross Adair was Man of the Match.
Northern Knights (4 points) beat Leinster Lightning (0 points) by 22 runs.
Knights 174-7 in 20 overs (L. Georgeson 31, R. Pretorius 31, J. Little 3-26)
Lightning 152-8 in 20 overs (A. Balbirnie 42, B. White 3-27, R. Adair 2-24)