Kevin O’Brien stars as Leinster Lightning get title defence off on right foot

Ireland international all-rounder hits 75 from 49 balls before collecting two key wickets

Kevin O’Brien starred with bat and ball as Leinster Lightning beat North West Warriors in the Hanley Energy Interprovincial Cup match at Milverton in Skerries. Photograph: Russell Pritchard/Inpho/Presseye

Kevin O’Brien starred with bat and ball as Leinster Lightning beat North West Warriors in the Hanley Energy Interprovincial Cup match at Milverton in Skerries. Photograph: Russell Pritchard/Inpho/Presseye

 

Kevin O’Brien warmed up for this week’s ODIs against England as Leinster Lightning got their defence of the Hanley Energy Interprovincial Cup underway with a 105-run win over the North West Warriors in Skerries.

After winning the toss, Lightning posted their 286 courtesy of a solid showing from their middle order. Kevin O’Brien top scored with 75 from just 49 balls (seven fours, four sixes), sharing in a 97-run partnership with Simmi Singh who finished unbeaten on 70 (six fours, two sixes).

John Anderson and Andy Balbirnie both made 40 while at the top of the order, Ed Joyce chipped in with 23 on his Lightning debut.

Niall O’Brien was making his first appearance in a Warriors shirt and the former Leinster player claimed five catches to mark the occasion.

Craig Young came back very well in his second spell to finish with figures of four for 50 while Johnny Thompson picked up two for 46 on his North West comeback, while Coleraine’s new signing, Steve Lazars, bowled well to take two for 44.

The Warriors could only manage 181 in reply with Bready’s overseas player Iroosh Samasooriya their standout performer with a battling 77 (13 fours). The Sri Lankan looks a decent capture based on this showing but unfortunately for his side the bowlers were otherwise on top.

A 63-run stand between Samasooriya and Ricky-Lee Dougherty (24) briefly threatened to let the North West side back in after the hosts had seized the initiative, however George Dockrell (three for 37), Kevin O’Brien (two for 24) and Peter Chase (two for 40) had other ideas.

O’Brien earned bragging rights in the Sandymount family home as he dismissed older brother Niall, and then trapped Warriors skipper McBrine lbw next ball – a double blow from which the Warriors never looked like recovering despite the best efforts of Samasooriya.

The visitors also contributed to their own downfall with a couple of ill-timed run-outs.

HANLEY ENERGY INTERPROVINCIAL CUP

(at Milverton): Leinster Lightning 286 (49.2 ovs) (K O’Brien 75, S Singh 70no, J Anderson 40, A Balbirnie 40; C Young 4-50, S Lazars 2-44, J Thompson 2-46),

North West Warriors 181 (44.2 ovs) (I Samasooriya 77; G Dockrell 3-37, K O’Brien 2-24, P Chase 2-40). Leinster Lightning won by 105 runs.

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