Limerick Cricket Club missed out on consecutive second placed finishes in the Munster Premier League after losing to County Kerry in Tralee on Sunday.
Limerick put up a score of 176 from their 45 overs, but an impressive response from their hosts saw them earn a victory. County Kerry reached 178 for the loss of just three wickets to earn a routine win.
The game at the Oyster Oval had a delayed start of 1pm due to heavy overnight rain. Kerry won the toss and sent Limerick’s openers Usman and Azeem Khan in to face the new ball.
The opening partnership started well with Usman hitting two fours and a six early on in the innings.
However, his luck ran out and was dismissed in the fifth over. That brought Zubair Rehman to the crease and he put in a promising 50-run partnership with Khan.
The partnership was broken in the 20th over when Khan fell for a patient 31 runs. Rehman soon followed when he was controversially given out LBW to leave Limerick at 83-3 at the halfway point.
After that disappointment, Limerick came back fighting. Swaroop Burra and Shani Alam came in to tighten up the innings.
They also put on a 50-run partnership, but that ended when Burra’s pull shot was caught on the boundary in the 34th over.
Limerick still had plenty of batting to come in their remaining six wickets, but it was not to be their day. The tail enders did their best to hit fours and sixes as the innings grew to an end.
However, Kerry’s bowling plans worked a treat. Wickets continued to fall in the final 10 overs and a below par score of 176 on a now dry outfield was always going to be a tall order.
Limerick were up against it from the beginning of the Kerry innings, but a fine opening bowling spell from Asif Shahab saw him notch up his 100th wicket for the club. As a result of this fantastic achievement he will receive a silver bowling medallion for Limerick.
Shahab was unlucky not to come out with a couple of more opening wickets, as was fellow opener James Spencer.
He was causing the Kerry batsmen plenty of problems with the swinging new ball, but the Kerry top order managed to hold firm and see off Limerick’s opening bowlers.
Kerry’s second wicket partnership would ultimately prove decisive. They piled on the boundaries to race away to help their score to 140/1.
That left them just 37 runs short of Limerick’s target. Usman Khan popped up with a beauty to get rid off fellow Munster player Awais Saghir, but it was not enough to usher in a Kerry collapse.
Khan’s second wicket did little to stop a rampant Kerry team that reached the target after just 28.4 over.
Scorecard – Limerick: 176 all out off 45 overs; Azeem Khan (31), Swaroop Burra (31).
County Kerry: 178-3 off 28.4 overs; Usman Khan 2-27, Asif Shahab 1-26.