Cricket: Lions Lod, Ra’anana through to Friday’s T20 final

Games We Play: Ra’anana went into its last round robin match against Lions Lod on Friday in Lod needing a win for a place in the final.

Cricket 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Cricket 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
With only one week until the National squad flies off to Jersey to compete in the ICC European Division 1 Tournament, no less than seven members of that squad will be on show on Firday as Ra’anana and Lions Lod extend their budding rivalry when they meet in the final of the Division 1 T20 tournament in Lod.
Both teams, along with Sri Lanka Jerusalem, finished level on points after the round-robin stage of the competition with six victories and one defeat. The team from the capital missed out with an inferior net run rate despite a 47-run win over Young Ashdod on Saturday.
Ra’anana went into its last round robin match against Lions Lod on Friday in Lod needing a win for a place in the final.
Asked to bat first, Danny Hotz (55) and Josh Evans (55*) were both in sublime form once again, sharing a 94-run stand for the second wicket and helping Ra’anana to a competitive score of 166 for three in their 20 overs.
In reply, the Lions were in early trouble against tidy newball bowling by Des Moss (three for 27) and Amitabh Trehan (one for 19), and when Steven Shein (two for 35) chipped in with the prize wicket of Eshkol Solomon (8) and removed the dangerous Shailesh Bangerra, the hosts were 60 for 6 half way through their overs and the game looked all but over as a contest.
However, Isaac Massil refused to throw in the towel, even with the run rate climbing to almost 15 an over with four overs left, clearing the boundary rope at will and almost pulling off a remarkable victory.
He eventually finished not out on 76, but despite his efforts, Lod closed its innings on 159 for 8, seven runs short.
Sri Lanka Jerusalem, which had defeated Ra’anana but lost to Lod earlier in the season, needed an emphatic win in its last league game against Young Ashdod in Ashdod to have any chance of making the final, with net run rate set to separate the top three teams.
Jerusalem won the game comfortably enough in the end, restricting the home team to 130 for seven in reply to its effort of 177, but the 47-run margin was not enough to lift it into the top two places.
In the weekend’s other fixtures, Sri Lanka Tel Aviv secured a fourth place finish with a convincing 94-run win on Saturday over the host Lod Rangers, who finished their 20 overs on 109 for three in reply to the visitors’ 203 for six.
Ashdod A remained rooted to the bottom of the table without a win, losing to Neve Yonatan by by seven wickets after scoring just 103 for eight in Ashdod on Saturday.
Looking ahead to the final, Ra’anana captain Steven Shein is expecting another close game.
“I think both teams are evenly balanced,” Shein said. “[Lod] has very dangerous players who can all turn a game on their own, we have a couple of batsmen in excellent form and also bowled reasonably well on Friday, so it should be a great final.”
Lions Lod opening batsmen and Israeli international, Yefeth Nagavkar, praised Ra’anana’s team ethic, saying, “they are playing well as a team, but it all depends on who plays better on the day.
“We have a very balanced side, but the team effort at the end of the day and who puts in the better performance on the day will decide the the match.”
Play starts at 1:30 p.m. at the Lod ground, alongside the city soccer stadium.