MAL remain on course to complete the double after winning the Maccabi Twenty20 competition, beating Southgate in the final of a four-team event in Bushey.
They reached the final after beating Casual Nomads in the semis. With an early start it was no surprise that Nomads asked MAL to bat first on what looked to be a decent, albeit slightly damp, pitch. Gavriel Lebens’ team got off to a cautious start, with the Nomads openers extracting extravagant movement off the pitch.
However, Mark Landau and Avishai Kestenbaum were able to set a decent platform of 68-0 off 10 overs. Both perished in an attempt to push on, but Yoav Lebens again batted beautifully for 48 before being run out late on attempting to pinch a single to the keeper. MAL reached a formidable 156-7 from their 20 overs.
In reply, Nomads never really looked like getting close as Yoav Lebens and Charlie Sherrard bowled tight opening spells. Nomads were soon 18-4 on their way to 105, a total that included 28 extras. Sherrard (2-12) and Yoni Fidler (2-20) produced tight spells for MAL.
The second semi-final saw a strong-looking Belmont & Edgware side take on Southgate. Southgate batted first, and though they struggled to get the bowling away initially, Russell Wainbergas cracked a fantastic half century to get Southgate up to a very impressive total of 138.
Belmont would have been confident of chasing the target down, but managed to contrive to be bowled out some 50 runs short. In particular, they struggled against Norman Bean’s slow left armers. He took four wickets including a hat-trick.
The final between MAL and Southgate began late, and having won the toss, MAL sought to exploit Southgate’s tired legs by batting first. Once again, Landau and Kestenbaum started brightly, putting on 48 at better than a run a ball, before Landau was caught by Wainbergas off a full-blooded pull shot. Kestenbaum continued to bat well, and MAL’s running between the wickets was a real feature of the day, putting pressure on the opposition throughout. Eventually, Kestenbaum was joined by Elliot Unsdorfer and the pair put on an excellent partnership at the death to get MAL up to a solid-looking 134-6 from their 20 overs. Avishai carried his bat for 64 not out.
Terrific opening spells from Yoav Lebens and Tony Wise (3-11), and some canny field placements from Gav Lebens saw Southgate reduced to 28-4 from eight overs. Fidler and Jon Begner kept the pressure on, Fidler picking up 5-6 in 3.4 hostile overs as Southgate were dismissed for 51. MAL ran out winners by 83 runs.
MAL will look to clinch the double on Sunday. With a commanding lead in the Barratts Maccabi Sunday League, the only two teams that can catch them, Southgate and Chigwell, play one other.