Limerick Cricket Club's 4th XI before Sunday's game with Kerry
AFTER a sluggish start to the MCU Premier League, Limerick Cricket Club have managed to bounce back with back to back wins against Midleton and Galway to give them a shot at finishing in the top three this season.
The league will split after the first round of fixtures with the top three playing against one another in a round-robin in the fight for the title.
Limerick knew a win yesterday would see them in a straight shoot off against close rivals Kerry next weekend for a place in the top three with the two Cork teams looking assured at the top of the table.
Captain Arslan Anwar wanted to test the chasing ability of Galway and so, put the Tribesmen into bowl in Adare on Sunday afternoon. One change to the starting XI saw Farman Yousafzai departing for the returning Asif Shahab.
Tim Smithies settled the Limerick nerves with the bat after Azeem Khan edged to first slip early on. Digamber Mishra soon followed when his late drive unfortunately picked out the fielder but Smithies stayed patient.
What looked to be start of a blossoming partnership between himself and skipper Arslan Anwar was brought to a sharp end with Smithies out caught and bowled for 39.
However, it was Anwar again who lead from the front and anchored the Limerick innings, rotating the strike and finding the boundary off some loose deliveries.
As wickets fell around him, Anwar pushed himself to another 50 in LCC colours before eventually departing for 72 off just 61 deliveries. Shani Alam kept the tail wagging with a late 26-run cameo as Limerick finished on 224-7, crucially batting out the 50 overs to set a high target for the away side.
One could criticise Limerick’s bowling attack as being rather inconsistent so far this season but those critics were answered today with some brilliant spells of bowling.
Although Limerick got off to a rocky start, conceding a lot of extras in the powerplay and missing out on a wicket opportunity from having too many fielders outside the circle, the first change of bowlers of John Daly and Digamber Mishra exerted serious pressure on the Galway middle order.
Galway’s strong position of 46-2 off 10 overs crumbled to 89-7 at the drinks break with Limerick in the ascendency, despite missing a few chances themselves.
Nonetheless, some really good fielding by Smithies and youngster Zaheer Udin clinched key wickets for Limerick to dismantle the early stages of any Galway partnerships.
In fact, Galway’s highest partnership was registered at the eight wicket for 47 runs as they managed to bat out their compliment to reach 164-9, leaving themselves 60 runs short to give Limerick their second win of the campaign.
RESULT | MCU Premier League.
Limerick Cricket Club defeated County Galway by 60 runs
Limerick: 224-7 off 50 overs
Arslan Anwar 72
Tim Smithies 39
Galway: 164-9 from 50 overs
John Daly 3-15
Arslan Anwar 2-35
MEANWHILE, Limerick Cricket Clubs pushed on the other divisions with strong wins in Tralee on Saturday and Sunday in Div One and Div Two respectively. Ajay Hari’s 2nd XI won by 69 runs to make it two wins from two for them, whilst Prithiv Mohan’s 4th XI chased down a mammoth total of 196 to get their limited overs campaign up and running.
Manoj Sharma was the star of the show with a fantastic 81 in his team’s run chase, backed up with an anchoring 40 from Thanushan Rajendarajah. Off-spinner Abdul Baqi Khan had the Kerry batsmen in trouble all day as he finished with figures of 4-34. Medium pacer Samad Abdus swung the new ball with menace to pick up 3-31 from his 8 overs also.
Last but not least, Limerick’s 3rd XI endured a harsh loss yesterday as they couldn’t build any momentum in chasing their 240-run target; Umair Akber the only batsman to offer any resilience with a gritty 23 but Limerick soon found themselves struggling badly and could only muster 99 runs in reply.
Last year’s Minor B player of the year Mirhamza Ahmedzai was the only bright spark in a under par team performance, he finished with 4-34 to give himself his maiden ‘four-for’ for the club at just 14 years of age.
As previously mentioned, it’s all to play for between Limerick and Kerry in Adare this Sunday, with Kerry’s game against Midleton rained off, a ‘winner-takes-all’ showdown for third place will be the weekend’s event as the business end of the season finally reappears.
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