IDL turns into a two-horse race
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Half way through the domestic Israel Day League season, the Division One title race is turning into a two-team show, with Sri Lanka Tel Aviv maintaining their perfect start to the season with victory over Ra'anana on Friday, whilst Lions Lod remain in touching distance in second place after a big win over Lod Rangers on Saturday.
At the other end of the table, Young Ashdod claimed their first win of the season, swapping places at the bottom of the league with Petah Tikva who have now lost five out of five.
Despite a hesitant start having won the toss and elected to bat at Hadar Yosef, the Sri Lankan lower order put up a good fight with sensibly cautious batting, enabling their team to post a competitive total of 171 on what is a tricky batting surface.
Ra'anana's top order failed miserably in their previous match, and there was little improvement for them to cheer about once again, reduced to 55-5 with only Daniel Hyman (23) managing to make a start.
A 37-run fifth wicket stand between Herschel Gutman (17) and Daniel Bergman (32) raised hopes, but once Gutman was well caught behind the wicket off Kamal (3-17), the lower order collapsed as quickly as had the top, giving Sri Lanka a deserved 47-run win.
Lions Lod bounced back strongly from their slip up against Sri Lanka last week with a comprehensive 111-run victory over city rivals Rangers.
Former Rangers all-rounder Isaac Talkar led the way with an excellent 77 as Lions tamed the normally effective Rangers attack in scoring 229.
Talkar then completed a fine individual match, taking 3-15, as Rangers folded for 118.
Petah Tikva have failed to come to terms with life in the top flight so far this season, but may have fancied themselves against Young Ashdod, themselves without a win, in Ashdod on Saturday.
However, the visiting batsman were blown away by the hosts pace attack, before opening batsmen Srinath (42*) and Danny Malyankar (25*) raced to their 71-run target in just six overs.
Dimona A remain undefeated in Division Two, scoring an impressive seven-wicket win over Ashdod A in Dimona on Saturday.
Rafi Varsulkar took 5-34 as the visitors were dismissed for 155, before the fourth wicket pair of Yaniv Dokarkar (40*) and Raz Ben Zaken (56*) took their team to a comfortable win.
First plays third in the A Division on Saturday as Neve Yonatan host runaway leaders Sri Lanka Tel Aviv. NY will be looking for two big innings from two of their star players, Eitamar Kehimkar and Yaniv Razpurker to have any chance of pulling off an upset.
In Division B, Young Sri Lanka with one win in four, travel to Dimona as they come up against leaders Dimona 'C' while over in Lod, home team Lod take on Lions BS.