Veteran all-rounder Isaac Massil showed all his experience and class in steering Lions Lod to a nail-biting 1-wicket win over Neve Yonatan on the opening day of the 2013 Israel Day League cricket season.
Chasing 199 to win in Ashdod on Saturday, after Yaniv Razpurker (88) had led Neve Yonatan to a respectable score of 198, Massil, who earlier had taken three for 29 with the ball, top-scored with an undefeated 62, remaining steady as Lions tumbled from a comfortable 166-6 to 174-9, before a 25-run stand for the last wicket saw the visitors claw over the line with five overs in hand.
Shailesh Bangerra (42) and Isaac Talkar (38) had earlier given Lions a steady start with 79-run second wicket partnership, but Neve Yonatan got themselves back in contention with regular wickets, with just Massil standing between them and a memorable victory.
In the day's other game, Lions Be'er Sheva began their season on a winning note with a 47-run victory over city rivals Be'er Sheva.
Batting first in Dimona on Saturday, Lions Be'er Sheva reached 192-7 in their 40 overs, thanks mainly to an excellent innings of 77 by opening batsman Ronen Waskar, who shared in a 60-run second wicket stand with Sunny Ashtamkar (30).
Be'er Sheva failed to build any significant partnerships in reply, losing wickets at regular intervals to slump to 115-9, before a 30-run last wicket partnership led managed to at least narrow the margin of defeat to 47 runs. Ashtamkar (3-27) and Yakov Penkar (3-25) were the pick of the Lions' bowlers.