Friday, September 30, 2022

Cricket Ireland: Match Preview – Leinster Lightning v North West Warriors

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The Test Triangle Inter-Provincial Series returns on Thursday after a rain-enforced break when Leinster Lightning host the North West Warriors at Pembroke Cricket Club (1.30pm).

There will be livestream coverage of the game plus a live scorecard and video highlights in the match centre.

The two sides come into the fixture on the back of differing results as Leinster eased past Munster Reds by nine wickets while the Warriors were narrowly edged out by two runs on DLS in their opener against the Northern Knights at Bready last Thursday.

Leinster, who will be without Gareth Delany and Andy Balbirnie for the remainder of their campaign, have been very successful in this fixture over the past few years, winning three of the last four meetings in the shortest format.

The teams have produced some thrilling low-scoring classics while also providing several stunning individual performances, such as John Anderson’s 76* from 41 deliveries in 2018.

Due to bad weather, the Lightning and Warriors didn’t face off in 2019, so their last Twenty20 encounter was in July 2018, where the former won by 41 runs at the same venue they’ll be playing at on Thursday.

In the Warriors victory in 2017, Ireland international Craig Young picked up figures of 5-22 so his side will be hoping he can produce more of the same this time around.

As has been the case for a lot of the late-Summer, afternoon rain is forecast in the area, coming on the back of rainfall that was brought in by Storm Francis earlier this week. 

Leinster Lightning

Lightning head coach Nigel Jones has named the same 13-man squad that was selected for the cancelled fixture against the Northern Knights on Tuesday. Captain George Dockrell will be hoping the weather allows him to make his first Inter-Provincial appearance of the season after he missed their opening victory due to examinations.

Ireland bowler Barry McCarthy is still not available for selection as he hasn’t recovered from the injury picked up in the ODI series against England.

Squad: George Dockrell (Capt), Rory Anders, Curtis Campher, Peter Chase, Stephen Doheny, Greg Ford, Tyrone Kane, Josh Little, Kevin O’Brien, Simi Singh, Fiachra Tucker, Lorcan Tucker.

North West Warriors

The Warriors have also named an unchanged squad from the one that narrowly lost out to the Knights.

It was announced this week that William Porterfield will join the Birmingham Bears coaching staff for their Vitality T20 Blast campaign which starts on Friday against Somerset, but it will be a massive relief to head coach Ian McGregor that he has retained his playing services after he proved his class by scoring 42 last Thursday.

He is set to partner teenager Nathan McGuire at the top of the order while Kyle Magee could potentially make his first appearance of the season after once again being named in the squad.

Squad: Andy McBrine (capt), William Porterfield, Ross Allen, Nathan McGuire, Stuart Thompson, Will Smale, Graham Kennedy, Graham Hume, Craig Young, David Rankin, Kyle Magee, Varun Chopra.

Key players

Leinster Lightning – Stephen Doheny
Doheny will likely take a spot in the Leinster top order due to the absence of Delany and Balbirnie, giving him an opportunity to further prove what he is capable of and to showcase his talent. The 22-year-old Rush captain clearly enjoys responsibility and is more than ready to shine at Inter-Provincial level, coming into the game on the back of a rapid half-century against Merrion at the weekend. With runs usually key to success at Pembroke and a quick start important in the shortest format, Doheny could be crucial in the powerplay. 

North West Warriors – Graham Hume
Hume produced a very impressive all-round display in the Warriors opening game against the Knights, scoring 47* before taking two early wickets. The 29-year-old is currently in his fourth season of club cricket with Coleraine and has developed a reputation as one of the finest bowlers in the country, picking up 102 wickets across his three completed campaigns in the North West while some powerful middle order hitting means he can be difficult to stop. He only made his Warriors debut in 2019 but has an established CV behind him and with his ambition to go on and play international cricket for Ireland, the South African will be looking to step up in these matches to prove to selectors what he can offer when he qualifies in 2022.

Key to the contest

Scott Irvine, Cricket Ireland’s lead performance analyst, produced an interesting graph on Tuesday showing that Sydney Parade has the second highest first innings average score (160) of any ground to host at least two Inter-Provincial T20 matches that haven’t been affected by DLS.

Merrion (173) is the only venue that is higher so runs on the board will be crucial for the team that bats first as it has been proven that scoring big on the ground is a real possibility.

Leinster can be a tough side to beat at Pembroke, winning four of their last six but even the two losses against Munster Reds (two runs) and Northern Knights (eight runs) have been very close.

It generally takes a couple of big individual performances, as shown by the likes of Munster’s Oliver Gunning (53) and Knights batsman Greg Thompson (65*), so the Warriors will be looking for their experienced men to step up once again.

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