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Limerick CC into National Cup Final

The Editor | 13 Aug 2018

Limerick CC into National Cup Final
The Limerick side that defeat Galway at Lydican yesterday

Limerick Cricket Club will be Munster Cricket's first ever representative at a National Cup final, after their 5 wicket win over rivals County Galway at Lydican yesterday.

And while defeat at this late stage will have been a bitter pill to take for the hosts, they can be immensely proud of their efforts, which have showed that Munster now firmly belong at the top table in the club scene.

For Limerick however the excitement can begin to build for a final perfectly timed on their 50th anniversary, who, even given their excellent record at the top level in Munster, must count this as one of their greatest achievements as a club.

Having cut through Kerry in their quarter-final victory, Galway found the same thing happening to them, as they set the chase for the first time in this year's competition, some brilliant Limerick bowling across the board not giving the hosts an inch.

A disastrous start saw the Galwegians on 11-4 after five overs, before a mini-revival between Waqas Ali Raja and Umair Maqsood provided some stability, before Maqsood was trapped lbw by Murtaza Sidiqi.

Ali Raja’s six wickets proved the difference in Galway’s quarter-final win, but his top score of 31 was never going to be enough for the hosts, undone by some brilliant Limerick bowling all across the attack, with Mudassar Aziz, Hashir Sultan, and Farrukh Bhagat taking two wickets apiece, while Mustafa Sidiqi joined brother Murtaza with a wicket of his own.

28 extras from a score of 97 tells its own story for Galway's first innings with the bat, only three scores in double figures showing what the pressure of a national semi-final can do.

However, the chase was never going to be a simple one for visiting Limerick, who were coming up against a Galway side yet to concede over 140 in the competition, and Ali Raja kept his form going by taking the huge wicket of Arsalan Khalid on the second ball.

Limerick recovered well however, and a valuable 42-run partnership between Sultan and wicket-keeper Varsh Shetty got them out of a potentially tricky spot, before Sultan nicked behind off Mohammed Arshad, and Shetty followed in similar manner off Ali Raja's bowling.

The Galway seamer wasn't going to give up hope, and in the 13th over he had Bhagat out for 8, with Limerick now on 56-4 with plenty of overs to play with, but needing to knuckle down and protect their wicket.

It was captain Zia Khan who led from the front who, despite losing Murtaza Sidiqi with 25 runs left to go, anchored the rest of the chase, an invaluable 19* getting Limerick over the line with five wickets to spare.

A phenomenal achievement by both sides to reach this late stage of the competition, which now sees Limerick take on Rush - who comfortably defeated Ballyspallen in their respective semi-final - in the final at Stormont on September 2nd.

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