It was a highly successful few days for Limerick Cricket Club on this bank holiday weekend as they came out on top in four out of their five games to land the Junior T20 trophy back in Limerick for the first time since 2020, a year when Limerick won 5 out of a possible 8 trophies they competed in and junior skipper Mohammed Gouse etched his name as the only captain to win the trophy back to back. That was just to be the cherry on the cake as the 1sts advanced to the quarter-finals of the national cup on Sunday as well as the 4th XIs fantastic display on Saturday which saw them as runners up in the Division Three T20 Cup.
Having defeated County Galway in the last 32 fixture, Limerick were looking to avenge last year’s loss to NCU side Cregagh, who were making the trip down from Belfast. The sides were very familiar with one another as umpire John O’Dea tossed the coin which landed in Limerick’s favour.Limerick team vs Cregagh: (Back row, l-r) Prasad Hegde, Arslan Sayyam, Mirhamza Ahmedzai, Arslan Anwar (Capt.), Asif Hussein, Ajay Hari. (Front row, l-r) Mosawar Sidiqi, Nishant Kumar, Sumukh Venkatesh (wk), Tim Smithies, Sarfraz Ramay, Shani Alam.
Limerick’s attack, who were off the back of a superb display in the previous round, were up against it in the opening exchanges as Cregagh’s opening stand of 83 gave the home side a small bit of repairing to do before decent spells from Shani Alam and Ajay Hari levelled out the contest. A run out four overs after drinks however was the catalyst as Arslan Anwar’s brilliant figures of 2-12 reduced the run rate which Cregagh’s batsmen had to navigate. With wickets in hand, Cregagh could afford the more aggressive route as they picked 80 runs off the final 10 overs to reach a score of 213-6. Despite a few setbacks in the field, Limerick would be confident in chasing down this target in 40 overs.
It was business as usual for openers Arslan Sayyam and Tim Smithies who took full advantage of the power play, 40 runs on the board and both openers still at the crease.Tim Smithies faces the Cregagh attack
Sayyam would depart for a well-made 39 off 34 before another steady partnership from Arslan Anwar (52*) and Tim Smithies (90) was crucial as the target neared for the home side. Smithies unfortunately holed out for 90 but the damage was done and Sarfraz Ramay and Arslan Anwar chipped off the winning runs for the whole team with three overs to spare.
RESULT| Arachas National Cup.
We defeated Cregagh by 7 wickets yesterday.
Cregagh 1: 213-6 off 40 overs.
Arslan Anwar 2-12
Sarfraz Ramay 1-17
Limerick 1: 215-3 off 37 overs.
Tim Smithies 90
Arslan Anwar 52*
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The 2nd XI brought the first piece of silverware of the 2023 season home on Monday after an enthralling day in Midleton. As finals days go, all contests produced some nail-biting moments which provided a lot of entertainment, so too that for the neutral. This was the case for Limerick’s semi-final against the hosts, after Cork County made light work of Nenagh in the first game. Limerick struggled to keep Midelton at bay, partnership after partnership paid dividends as a score of 194-7 was posted and Treaty were really up against it going into bat.2nds captain Sumukh Venkatesh flips the coin before the semi-final
A rampant start from Sourabh Teke was backed up with a few stylish knowcks from the middle order, most notably from Yogesh Borghare (74 from 46) and Mosawar Sidiqi (38 from 20) kept them within touching distance of the run rate throughout the chase. The key was keeping wickets in hand, and despite losing Borghare and Sidiqi as the target was in sight, the middle order struck gold with some much-needed boundaries. A straight 6 over long-off from Ajay Hari with four balls to spare gave Limerick the victory by four wickets as they marched on to the final.
It was a quick turnaround however as Limerick decided to bat first in the final upon winning the toss, perhaps the wiser choice given the rollercoaster semi-final which saw some fantastic, yet exhausting running between the wickets.Cork County skipper Ross Duggan does the toss before the final as Declan Earley (umpire) and Sumukh Venkatesh look on
Opener Sourabh Teke looked to be in extremely good nick once again before an unfortunate run-out dismissal cost him his wicket as he went packing early along with fellow opener Arslan Sayyam. Again, it was the middle order who did the damage for Limerick with Borghare, Sidiqi and Venkatesh all contributing significantly to the total. A total of 9 6’s and 11 4’s allowed a target of 169 to be set for County to chase.
Although he was quiet in the semi-final, seamer Ramoji Alla came back with a bang in the final, swinging the new ball in all directions to force mistakes from the batsmen. This was well backed up from the other end by the confident Prasad Hegde, with Alla taking three wickets inside the power play, two of which earned him a hat-trick ball. The batting side were under tremendous pressure now with an increasing run-rate and would have no answers Prabhu and Ahmedzai in the middle overs, both of whom picked up two a piece. The job was almost complete as Waqas Shinwari, an Afghani who is really making a name for himself in his debut year at the club, mopped up the tail with three wickets, truly deserved from a very consistent line and length, as County found themselves 29 runs shy and Limerick would be deserved winners of the Junior T20 Cup.The 2nd XI line up before the trophy presentation
RESULT| MCU Junior T20 Final.
We defeated Cork County by 29 runs yesterday.
Limerick 2: 168-6 off 20 overs.
Yogesh Borghare 45
Mosawar Sidiqui 42
Sumukh Venkatesh 40*
Cork County 2: 139 all out off 18.5 overs
Waqas Shinwari 3-22
Ramoji Alla 3-32The Limerick 2nd team vs Midleton/Cork County: (Top row, l-r) Stephen Hackett (Team manager), Ramoji Alla, Sourabh Teke, Yogesh Borghare, Prasad Hegde, Sumukh Venkatesh (Capt. + wk), Nishant Kumar, Arslan Sayyam, Sathya Prabhu. (Bottom row, l-r) Waqas Shinwari, Mosawar Sidiqi, Mihamza Ahmedzai, Ajay Hari.
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It wasn’t to be for Limerick’s 4th XI on Saturday in their respective T20 Cup competition. Despite a brilliant performance in the semi-final, Shubham Poddar’s side were beaten by a strong Cork County side in the final.
It was opener Waqas Mahmood and Uzair Khan who provided the bright spark to the team’s path to the final, their partnership of 73 runs had Limerick at 89-3 after 10 overs and in a strong position for the final ten. A bright and breezy 15 from 10 balls off the bat of Irfan Solozai added to the total which culminated in 139-9 from 20, setting a target of 140 for Lismore to chase. Despite a decent start in scoring 60 runs off the power play, Limerick reigned the batting side in with some accurate spells of bowling, most notably Abdul Baqi Khan whose figures of 4-16 from four overs were the deciding factor to Lismore’s innings. They would only manage 122 which meant Limerick qualified for the final of the competition for the second year running.
RESULT| MCU Division Three T20 Cup Semi-final .
We defeated Lismore by 18 runs yesterday.
Limerick 4: 139-9 off 20 overs.
Waqas Mahmood 40
Uzair Khan 35
Lismore 1: 121 all out off 19 overs.
Abdul Baqi Khan 4-16
Waqas Mahmood 2-14
Limerick couldn’t provide the same fortunes with the bat in the final however, only mustering a target of 100 this time round with no partnerships really acrewing. This would be light work in the end for a Cork County side brimming with up and coming talent, chasing the target within 14.1 overs with seven wickets to spare. Nonetheless, a steep learning curve for a side still chasing other silverware in their season, the 4ths can be proud of a second-placed finish in a tough competition.
RESULT| MCU Division Three T20 Cup Final
We lost to Cork County by 7 wickets yesterday
Limerick 4: 100 all out off 19.3 overs
Abdul Baqi Khan 21
Nikul Kevadiya 15
Cork County 4: 101-3 off 14 overs
Abdul Baqi Khan 1-29
Christian Matthew 0-15
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In youth cricket, only one game to note from this weekend which saw the u17s get themselves back in the mix for the MCU U17 T20 Cup with a 6-wicket win over County Galway on Friday night. Despite a narrow loss against the same opponents in the opening round, Limerick bounced back strongly with an incredible bowling performance in the first innings, despite losing the toss. Nofil Khan cause havoc with the new ball, picking up two of Galway’s top order. An aggressive charge shortly after brought Galway up to 92-4 before skipper Shaoib Zazai and the returning Alan McCutcheon chipped in with two wickets each to limit the target to just 114 in 20 overs.
Limerick’s opening stand of 38 made sure no early scares occurred but Galway bit back with a few neat bowling spells as 38-0 became 67-4 to put the away side in a spot of bother. But a solid partnership from Ayan Ullah (33*) and Shaoib Zazai (15*) saw Limerick home and dry with six wickets to spare and put themselves right back into contention of claiming their first U17 league title.