With some disappointing results in recent weeks leaving Limerick’s title aspirations high and dry, it was time to restore some respectability in the league tables as Limerick faced tough opposition in Limerick Blasters and County Kerry in Division One and the Premier League respectively. In the Premier League, Limerick were looking to beat Kerry to a 3rd place finish, and possibly higher. Nonetheless, the Shannonsiders would be without last week’s talisman Shani Alam. Elsewhere, Sourabh Teke came in to the top order to replace Tim Smithies and there were also starts for Shaoib Zazai and Sayed Anwari.
Sunday’s Premier League clash was forced into a delayed start with some heavy rainfall before the game making conditions unplayable until umpires decided for a 1.50pm start in which the overs would be reduced to 40 aside.
After losing the toss, Limerick were put into field with a lot of moisture still residing on the outfield. Despite the concession of some early extras, Limerick found some good areas in the opening exchanges with the short ball in particular paying dividends for the opening bowlers. Mirhamza Ahmedzai struck early, his fine form with the ball continuing as he found two faint edges in his opening two overs. Wicketkeeper Sumukh Venkatesh was having a great day behind the stumps, another edge soon after would be his third catch of the day with Kerry on 23-3.Limerick 1st XI vs County Kerry: (Back row, l-r) Sarfraz Ramay, Sourabh Teke, Arslan Anwar (Capt.), Sayed Anwari, Nishant Kumar, Prasad Hegde. (Front row, l-r) Shaoib Zazai, Syed Asif Hussein, Yogesh Borghare, Mirhamza Ahmedzai, Sumukh Venkatesh (wk).
Asif Hussein came on first change for Limerick and delivered some excellent cross-seam deliveries, a deserved LBW was soon followed by a top-edge straight down the throat of mid-off to really pile the pressure on. The away side struggled to establish any real partnerships as Limerick ceased control and ended the innings with a target of just 121 to chase.
Limerick were professional in the run chase with openers Yogesh Borghare and Sourabh Teke setting some very solid foundations. It wasn’t until the twelfth over with the score at 66 that Kerry took their first wicket, and despite losing three wickets in three overs, any signs of a potential batting collapse were soon diminished as Arslan Anwar (24) and Sarfraz Ramay (24*) saw Limerick home comfortably. Limerick’s next senior tie will be a mouth-watering Senior Cup quarter-final clash against Midleton on 10 September.
RESULT| MCU Premier League.
We defeated County Kerry by 6 wickets today.
County Kerry 1: 120 all out in 27.1 overs
Mirhamza Ahmedzai 4-35
Syed Asif Hussein 4-30
Limerick 1: 121-4 off 24.4 overs.
Yogesh Borghare 34
Sourabh Teke 31
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It was the battle of two close rivals on Saturday afternoon as Limerick made the short journey to Ballyneety to face a resurging Limerick Blasters side at Croker’s Oval. With the earlier contest in the year washed out, both sides were looking for bragging rights in this eagerly awaited affair.Opposing captains Dharmesh Patel (foreground) and Rahul Polouse (background) contest the toss before the start of play
Having won the toss and electing to bat, Limerick were under pressure with the bat as conditions perhaps favoured the bowling side. Limerick struggled to see off the new ball with Karur, Venkatesh and Sharma all dismissed before 30 runs were on the board. Limerick dug themselves an even deeper hole when set opener Nishant Kumar had a thick edge caught at first slip leaving the visitors on 37-4. A captain’s knock from Dharmesh Patel kept the scoreboard ticking over but too many wickets were falling at the other end. Patel himself would soon depart with his side on 103-8 and in need of a flurry, which came in the form of Afghanis Waqas Shinwari and Shaoib Zazai whose final wicket stand of 59 runs was soon to be a match-winning partnership as Limerick finished on 163 all out.
The initial response from the Blasters looked to set the game up for a tense finish as the home side made it to 30-0 at the end of the powerplay. But the game completely turned on its head with the first change bowlers of Mirhamza Ahmedzai and Sathya Prabhu causing absolute chaos in the middle. Prabhu showed a lovely touch of gentle away swing to claim two quick dismissals, before moving the ball away from a stream of right-handers who were completely lost from the movement and swing of each delivery.Sathya Prabhu pictured next to his figures with the match ball at the end of Saturday's game
Astonishingly, the home side no answers for Prabhu who was backed up from the other end by Ahmedzai’s cameo of three wickets. 30-0 soon became 59-9 with the Blaster’s final pair reaching a 40-run partnership before Shinwari came on to take the final wicket as Blasters could only muster 99. Prabhu will etch his name on to the club’s honours board with his maiden six-wicket haul for the club in crucial circumstances.Limerick 2nd XI vs Limerick Blasters: (Back row, l-r) Karthik Karur, Ramoji Alla, Sathya Prabhu, Dharmesh Patel (Capt.), Nishant Kumar. (Front row, l-r) Prasad Hegde, Mirhamza Ahmedzai, Waqas Shinwari, Sumukh Venkatesh (wk), Shaoib Zazai, Manoj Sharma.
RESULT| MCU Division One.
We defeated Limerick Blasters by 64 runs today.
Limerick 2: 163 all out off 41.4 overs.
Waqas Shinwari 49*
Dharmesh Patel 30
Limerick Blasters 1: 99 all out off 18.4 overs.
Sathya Prabhu 6-40
Mirhamza Ahmedzai 3-28
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With the aforementioned Senior Cup game two weeks away, both the 1st and 2nd XIs will take respective breaks next weekend. However, Limerick’s 3rd and 4th teams will return to action as they look to finish their season on high notes. The 4ths will make the long trip to Waterford on Saturday whilst Limerick’s 3rd XI will face the Limerick Blasters at the Manor Fields, Adare on Sunday afternoon. Finally, the U15s face off against Cork County on Sunday in the U15 Superleague which will be a 30-over contest taking place in the Mardyke from 11am.