A stunning spell of bowling from Tyrone Kane and a sublime innings from Andrew Balbirnie guided the Leinster Lightning to a seven-wicket win over the Northern Knights at Stormont and to the brink of another 50-over Cup triumph.
After opting to bowl first, Tyrone Kane backed up his captain George Dockrell as he dismissed five of the top six, to leave the Knights reeling on 46/5 inside 13 overs.
The consistency with which Kane threatened the stumps and outside edge was rewarded with two LBW decisions, two edges behind to Lorcan Tucker and cleaning up Neil Rock’s middle stump.
Mark Adair (40) and Gary Wilson (40) fought back, putting on 59 for the 6th wicket, but when Singh (1-33) dismissed Adair and McCarthy (1-29) had Wilson (both caught behind) the Lightning were truly into the tail.
Fittingly it was Kane who returned and took the final wicket, as the Merrion man set his best List A figures of his of 6 for 42 off 8.2 overs as the Knights were dismissed for 176.
Due to bowling the Knights out so quickly, the Lightning openers of Jack Tector (19) and Gareth Delany (6) had to face five overs before Lunch. Unfortunately for Delany he fell to Mark Adair (2-41) in that period.
Just after the break, Tector became Adair’s second wicket but for the Lightning that simply brought Andrew Balbirnie (90) and Lorcan Tucker (57*) together.
The pair who had batted the Lightning to victory in La Manga early in the summer, put on 135 for the third wicket, within eight of the victory target.
Balbirnie struck 11 fours and one maximum in his innings as he struck the ball to all parts. He manipulated the ball and the field as he picked the gaps time after time. The one chance he did get came early in his innings when a late cut smashed into Gary Wilson at first slip when he was on 17.
Aside from that, Balbirnie was in total charge and had the perfect foil in Pembroke teammate Lorcan Tucker. Rotating the strike while going to his half-century off just 56 balls, Tucker went to his half-century leaving a carrot of a century for Balbirnie to go with the victory.
Balbirnie did try to get there as coming back for a second run with just those eight runs required, Balbirnie was inches short and run out by Cameron-Dow.
However, Tucker drove a beautiful shot through the covers off Adair in the 33rd over to ensure the Lightning took not only the victory but a bonus point too from their trip to Stormont.
Avoiding a bonus point defeat to the North West Warriors on Thursday August 22nd at North County CC will give the Lightning the 50-over Cup for 2019.
They will want more than that however from 10.45am on Thursday morning.
Test Triangle 50-over Cup, Northern Knights v Leinster Lightning
Tuesday August 20th
At CSNI Cricket Club, Stormont;
Northern Knights 176 a/o 42.2 overs (M Adair 40, G Wilson 40; T Kane 6-42, G Delany 2-2)
Leinster Lightning 179/3 32.4 overs (A Balbirnie 90, L Tucker 57*; M Adair 8.4-0-41-2)
Leinster Lightning win by 7 wickets