Andrew Balbirnie stars as Leinster Lightning strike in Inter-Provincial tie

Andrew Balbirnie
Andrew Balbirnie

Andrew Balbirne enjoyed a day to remember as he helped Leinster Lightning to a comfortable 54 runs (D/L) win against North West Warriors in the Newstalk Inter-Provincial Cup at Strabane on Saturday.

He celebrated the news that he’d signed a two-year contract extension with Middlesex by top scoring with 88 from 98 balls including seven fours and four sixes as Lightning scored 158 for 5 in 28 overs.

Balbirnie shared stands of 71 for the first wicket with Fintan McAllister (24), and 74 for the second with Stuart Poynter (30).

A lengthy rain resumption meant Leinster’s innings was curtailed to just 28 overs after play had stopped with the Dubliners on 103 for 1 in 23.3 overs. 55 runs were added in the remaining 27 balls with Balbirnie upping the tempo as he scored 39 runs from just 14 balls.

Duckworth-Lewis upped the run chase equation for the Warriors to a daunting 215 in those 28 overs. Jason Milligan (0) went early, but David Rankin (44) and Stuart Thompson (30) both hit entertaining cameos to keep their team up with the rate.

The Warriors kept losing wickets at crucial intervals, and despite an entertaining 46 from 34 balls by Donemana’s Gary McClintock, they fell 54 runs short.

Leinster’s margin of victory ensured what could well be a crucial bonus point, which takes them two points clear at the top of the table.

The trophy will be decided next month when Lightning face Northern Knights in two contests at Waringstown on September 14, followed by a clash at Rathmines on Saturday September 20.