Balbirnie and Dockrell bat Leinster Lightning to Interprovincial Cup title

David O’Halloran takes four wickets in four-wicket win against North West Warriors

At Eglinton CC: North West Warriors 231 (49.3 ovs) (A McBrine 72, N McGuire 53; D O'Halloran 4-44), Leinster Lightning 235-6 (48.5 ovs) (A Balbirnie 85no, G Dockrell 67; C Young 2-43). Leinster Lightning win by 4 wkts.

A masterful display of batting by Andrew Balbirnie and George Dockrell led Leinster Lightning to an unassailable position at the top of the Interprovincial Cup competition for 2021, after overcoming stubborn resistance from the North West Warriors at Eglinton on Tuesday.

The Ireland captain was in fluent form as he top scored with 85 not from 110 balls, punishing anything short from the spinners and repeatedly stroking the seamers to the boundary through covers when the ball was over-pitched.

Player of the match Balbirnie came in after Kevin O’Brien was dismissed in the third over, and anchored the innings right through to the end of the successful run chase.

Balbirnie is the second highest run-scorer in the Cup this year, amassing 218 runs at 109, with one century and his unbeaten half-century on Tuesday provides him a solid preparation leading into the Netherlands ODI series next week.

Where Balbirnie’s batting has been very good, Dockrell’s has been supreme – with his 67 taking his Cup run-scoring tally to 364 runs at an average of 120.33 (featuring a century and four half-centuries in six innings).

Dockrell celebrated his recall to the national team in style, putting on a 123-run fourth-wicket stand with Balbirnie – taking the Lightning from a tricky position of 46 for three to a position well on the road to victory.

Not only has Dockrell’s timing and placement been unmatched this year, but his effortless six over long off showed he has the power to possibly be that effective late overs batter that the national side has been seeking.

Earlier in the day the North West Warriors compiled 231 in blustery but dry batting conditions, and facing an in-form Lightning pace battery looking to cause early damage.

William Porterfield looked good early for 33 until we nicked a low catch to Balbirnie at slip off Simi Singh. Warriors captain Andy McBrine dug in and fought hard for 72 from 117 balls, but the rest of the Warriors batting line-up failed to give support – that was, until Nathan McGuire came to the crease with the score at 151 for seven in the 35th over.

McGuire is known for his big-hitting and that was evident for all to see. He is also not afraid to innovate, and there was no better example of this than his reverse sweep for six off Dockrell to bring up his half-century. McGuire finished 53 not out from 46 balls – putting on a valuable 50-run 10th wicket stand with Craig Young (13).

Young Malahide seamer David O'Halloran claimed a career-best four for 44 and bowled with pace and bounce, while Dockrell finished with two for 37 as the Warriors posted 231.