Kevin O’Brien inspired Leinster Lightning to an ultimately comfortable 41 run win over North West Warriors in the opening game of the Hanley Energy Inter-Provincial Trophy at Merrion on Friday night.
In the week where he became a father for the first time, O’Brien clubbed four fours and cleared the ropes twice as he top scored with 42 from just 24 balls to help Lightning post 169 for 7.
Simi Singh batted well to make 31 from 20 balls (4 fours, 1 six), but it was George Dockrell who gave the innings late impetus with a superb cameo.
The Leinster man hit three sixes in his 11 ball knock as 23 came from the final over bowled by fellow Irish international Stuart Thompson.
Skipper Andy McBrine (2-21) was the pick of the Warriors attack, but he must have rued his decision not to give West Indian professional Oraine Williams (1-15) his full quota of overs.
In reply, Warriors lost David Rankin (4) early, and Stuart Thompson (17) shortly afterwards.
However McBrine and Fox Lodge’s overseas player Marco Marais got Warriors back into contention with a quickfire stand of 38.
The South African looked to be swinging the game Warriors way as he hit three sixes in a top score of 38 before being trapped lbw by Yaqoob Ali.
With 71 needed from the final eight overs, the game was very much in the balance, but the wicket of McBrine - lbw to Eddie Richardson for 26 - saw a spell where three wickets fell in quick succession as Lightning closed out the game.
All the Lightning bowlers were among the wickets, with their senior international quartet all claiming a brace - Richardson (2-18), O’Brien (2-19), Kane (2-23) and Dockrell (2-32).
The next action in the series sees Northern Knights entertaining Leinster Lightning starting from Tuesday (May 17-20) at Stormont in the Hanley Energy Championship.
Hanley Energy Inter-Provincial Trophy score summary
At Merrion, Leinster Lightning beat NW Warriors by 41 runs
LEINSTER LIGHTNING 169/7 (20 overs, K O’Brien 42, S Singh 31, G Dockrell 23*, D Joyce 22, A McBrine 2-21, G McClintock 2-24)
NW WARRIORS 128 all out (19.2 overs, M Marais 36, A McBrine 26, E Richardson 2-18, K O’Brien 2-19, T Kane 2-23, G Dockrell 2-32)