Lions roar to double-header win over Neve Yonatan;

Ra’anana, SL Jerusalem still have final hopes alive.

Eshkol Solomon 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Eshkol Solomon 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
In another busy weekend of Division 1 T20 action, Lions Lod remained the only undefeated team in the competition with wins over both Neve Yonatan and Young Ashdod in Ashdod on Saturday, while Sri Lanka Jerusalem and Ra’anana both maintained their challenge for a place in the final as well.
Jerusalem scored a thrilling three-run win over Sri Lanka Tel Aviv in Lod on Saturday, and Ra’anana beat Young Ashdod by 13 runs in Ashdod on Friday, In Friday’s game, Ra’anana would have been more than satisfied with its score of 152 for nine after winning the toss and deciding to bat against Young Ashdod, which had beaten it in the league a few weeks earlier.
Daniel Hyman – who survived a torrid working over by fast bowler Kapila Yasaratne – and Danny Hotz gave Ra’anana a good start, adding 57 for the second wicket, before Adrian Vardplayed well towards the end to take the total above 150.
In reply, Young Ashdod, although up with the required run rate for most of its chase, lost wickets at regular intervals to eventually finish 14 runs short.
On Saturday in Ashdod, Super Lions Lod batted first against Neve Yonatan in the first of their two matches on the day, reaching 180 for six in their 20 overs, with contributions from Isaac Massil, Eshkol Solomon and Shailesh Bangerra.
Aby Daniels returned the very respectable figures of two for nine in his four overs.
Although starting the chase well, the target was always going to be tough for Neve Yonatan, which eventually finished on 149 for seven, losing by 31 runs, with Yaniv Razpurker the top scorer.
Young Ashdod would have wanted to bounce back quickly following their defeat Friday, and asked to bat first by Lions Lod would have been satisfied with their total of 154 for eight, although having been 90 for two after 10 overs, may have been looking for a couple more runs.
At the end of the day they would have needed a lot more runs than a couple, as Lod, after the early loss of Anim Solomon, was in a most destructive mood.
Eshkol Solomon was left to play a supporting role as Yefet Nagavkar probably played the innings of the season so far, hitting Yasaratne, arguably the quickest bowler in local cricket, for five huge sixes in his first two overs. Nagavkar finished undefeated on 73* as Lions completed a remarkable nine wicket win with over six overs remaining.
In a thrilling afternoon match in Lod on Saturday, Sri Lanka Tel Aviv mounted a superb chase in response to a big first innings score of 173 by their countrymen from Jerusalem, although eventually finished fractionally short of its target, managing 170.
Ashdod A remains without much to smile about, after it was defeated by five wickets by Lod Rangers in a bottom of the table clash in Lod on Saturday.
In Divison 2 games, Lod, having scored 188 for five, including 27 off the last over defeate Ra’anana 2 by five runs in a high scoring match in Lod on Friday, while Tel Aviv then scored a remarkable come-from-behind victory over Lod in the afternoon game.
Kiryat Gat defeated Petah Tikva by 37 runs in Kiryat Gat on Saturday, having scored 195 for nine batting first.
In one Division 2 league match, Be’er Sheva extended its lead at the top of the Blue Group standings with a comprehensive 93-run win over Dimona C in Dimona on Saturday.
The race for third place in the Division 2 Blue Group is wide open after the two bottom teams going into last weekend, Ra’anana 2 and Dimona C, both won for the first time this season to move up the table.
The two teams will meet in their final first round games, with the winner likely to secure the third spot and a place in the upper group of round two, after Petah Tikva, slipped to a 9-wicket defeat in Dimona on Saturday, after scoring just 17.
There isn’t all that much to write about a game that lasted all of 13 overs in total. The only actual highlight for Petah Tikva, which had shown such a remarkable improvement this season, was winning the toss.
But its decision to bat first backfired spectacularly, as Roger Goslaker top scored with five, nine players scored ducks and one remained nought not out.
Thank goodness for the wides which took their total to 17. Dimona C duly completed a nine wicket win in just four overs.
In a match played on Friday at Hadar Yosef, Ra’anana 2 defeated Lions Be’er Sheva by 39 runs, with captain Anthony Harris, with 69 with the bat and then three for 31 with the ball, leading by example.
The Ra’anana innings of 193 was built almost entirely around a 2nd wicket stand of 159 between Harris and Josh Evans (73), before Ronen Waskar (five for 24) bamboozled his way through the rest of the order.
In reply, Lions lost wickets at regular intervals, never managing a substantial partnership, 34 for the last wicket was almost the highest of the innings, dismissed for 154.
In one Division 1 league game played over the weekend in Ashdod, Ashdod A remained rooted to the bottom of the table after a 99-run loss to Sri Lanka Tel Aviv.
The visitors scored 218/9 declared, Amishka Nimentha scoring 50 and Indika Alwis 45, before dismissing Ashdod for 119. Sudith Priyasantha took four for 36, with just Menashe Wadhawker (43) offering any resistance for the home team.
This week’s matches see last year’s winners and runners up, Ra’anana and Lions Lod go head to head in a Friday clash in Lod, while Lod Rangers take on the high flying Sri Lanka Jerusalem outfit, Neve Yonatan takes on Young Ashdod and Tel Aviv plays Dimona ‘A’ in another Friday match.