Limerick Cricket Club's Azeem Khan who scored 107 against Limerick Blasters
LIMERICK Cricket Club continued their fine run of form across all divisions with three victories from three this weekend.
With the Limerick 1st XI out of action, the 2nd, 3rd and 4th XIs had important games they knew would impact their final standings as the business ends to the respective seasons came to the fore.
What further added some spice to the weekend’s affairs was the fact that the 2nd XI were taking on local rivals Limerick Blasters in what was sure to be a hotly contested affair.
Limerick’s 2nd XI made two changes with Azeem Khan and Manoj Sharma coming into to the starting team. With a lot of potential with the bat on offer, skipper Ajay Hari decided to put the opposition into field and let them do the chasing after the innings break.
He couldn’t have asked for a better start with the aforementioned Khan and Sarfraz Ramay taking the aggressive approach to the new ball and using the powerplay to their advantage. The Blasters had no response to the openers who hit a massive milestone at the drinks break.
The team century was up, both openers had reached their 50s and Limerick evidently had the luxury of still having ten wickets in hand. Ramay was soon to depart on 56 but Tim Smithies did not allow any changes to proceedings.
Himself and Azeem worked their way above the 200-run mark with Blasters found wanting in the field and offering some lives to the LCC batsmen. This gave Limerick the impetus to up the anti in the final 10 overs or so with a 300 run total in their sights.
Azeem Khan was eyeing up a maiden LCC century and achieved it in a timely manner before finding mid-wicket to depart on an astonishing 107 off 115 balls. Smithies’ contribution of 78 was significant also with Zubair Rehman (31) also adding to the team’s total as Limerick reached 301-6 from their 45 overs and setting Limerick Blasters a very challenging target.
Asif Shahab struck early with the ball as the bails went flying to dismiss Anunath before the in-form John Daly and Ajay Hari picked up a wicket each before drinks to leave the home side seriously struggling.
Hari put his foot on the accelerator after the break. He was strongly backed up by Sarfraz Ramay at the other end as spin started to control the game with the pressure building in the middle.
Limerick remained sharp in the field and took their chances to diminish any chances of an unlikely comeback from the Blasters who could only muster 193-8 from their 45 overs, falling just 8 runs shy of picking up what could be a valuable losing bonus point.
Nonetheless, it was Limerick who came away with the victory and full losing bonus points to put them back at the top of the table. Hari’s men take on Nenagh next weekend with a win ensuring the Junior league trophy comes back to Limerick.
Limerick took control of their other two games in similar fashion with both skipper electing to bat first and set big targets for the opposition. Sourabh Teke was the hero of the day for the Limerick 3rd XI, his maiden century for the club got his name on the Honours Board with a smashing 107 which included 7 4s and equally as many maximums.
He wasn’t the only star as Mosawar Sidiqi and Zaheer Udin contributed 78* and 40* respectively to the massive total of 340-6 off just 40 overs. Shaoib Zazai mopped up with the ball as Quins could not offer much to answer such a high target. He would finish on career best figures of 4-22 off 7 overs as Limerick cruised to a 201-run win over their bogey side.
The Limerick 4th XI made light work of Lismore at the Castle Grounds yesterday. Prithiv Mohan’s side had been enduring a decent run of form from the T20 campaign and continued their climb up the table with a 60-run victory.
It was the recurring theme of Sharma and Rajendrarajah with the bat with both players getting into the 60s before being dismissed. Limerick were challenged with the bat in some periods with some high-scoring overs giving the home side the chance to come back from the dead and snatch the unlikeliest of victories, however, it wasn’t to be as Limerick remained too consistent with the ball.
Sumukh Venkatesh did the damage on a sticky grass wicket, letting the pitch do the damage and taking home his maiden five wicket haul for the club since his arrival at the start of the summer.
He was backed up by Prasanna Kangaratenam from the other end who finished on highly respectable figures of 3-21 from his six overs.
Limerick CC under 15s travelled to the Mardyke to take on Cork County CC in the first encounter of the season between the two sides. Having lost the toss, LCC were sent in to bat in damp conditions.
However, the Limerick batsmen made light of this and batted commandingly, scoring 158 for 2 off 20 overs. Luke Calitz retired on 50 off 33 balls, a knock that included seven boundaries.
He was ably assisted by Mirhamza Ahmadzai who reached 32 off 18 balls featuring five boundaries, two of which were maximums. Firm contributions from Zaki Khalid (21 n.o.), Abdulahad Khan (5 n.o.) and Abishek Babu (2) were also recorded.
In the second innings the County batsmen made light of the challenging target of 159. Openers Cillian Ross (43) and Sam Mackenzie (34) ensured that County were on target.
However, by mid innings the LCC bowlers struck with wickets being taken by Musfiqur Rahman (1-22), Eshan Tanveer (1-11) and Skandan Lakshmanan (1-14). The run rate began to slow but a late innings rally by Riad Ullah (12 n.o.) and Ibrahim Ashan (29 n.o.) ensured that County were still in the fight.
With County requiring 7 from the final over Mirhamza Ahmadzai bowled 4 dot balls before conceding a 4 on the penultimate ball, leaving County with 3 required off the final ball. However, Mirhamza ensured that nothing was conceded from that ball. The final score: Limerick 158 for 2; Cork County CC 156 for 3, a 2 run victory for LCC.
It was an entertaining match that could have gone either way until the final ball, with the batsmen on both sides in the ascendant. LCC can take pride that they came through a close match in which the bat dominated bowling and fielding, something they have not experienced before. Victory ensures that LCC under 15s have won 4 of their 5 matches this season.
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