It was all change in the Israel Night Cricket League as Dialogz Dragons moved into top spot following an entertaining round of matches.
The action saw the Dragons capitalise on Yagod Morris Cricket Club (YMCA) slipping up, with KAT Israemploy climbing into second place.
Surprise package of the season, KAT Israemploy continued their surge up the table, with two wins that puts them in a position where automatic qualification for a semi-final is now in their own hands. The match against YMCA was always going to prove to be a tight affair as both teams have enjoyed a successful season thus far and it proved to be a cliffhanger as the match went down to the last ball.
YMCA elected to bat and found the going tough against a determined KAT attack, with only Paul Kloot and Yonatan Karmi coming to grips with the bowlers, sharing a 29-run stand. KAT captain, Daniel Finkelstein, with three wickets, was the pick of the KAT bowlers.
KAT started their chase of the 73 runs needed for victory in similar fashion to the YMCA batters as they too, struggled to get to grips with the excellent fielding and bowling attack that YMCA captain, Brett Hickson had hoped for.
At the halfway stage in the KAT innings and with 20 runs scored and a further 53 still required, it looked like the momentum was firmly with YMCA. But the experienced duo of Keith Shaw and Daniel Lange put on 23 runs which brought hope to the KAT team, who were now all biting their finger-nails in anticipation.
It was left to the very calm and composed Garth Kauffman and Ron Sher to steer their team to victory with a wicketless partnership of 29. YMCA threw everything at KAT and the bowling and fielding from both sides was one of the best and committed displays this season.
Next up for KAT were the vastly improved Bet Shemesh Royals. KAT manager, Chaim Emmett, rotated his large squad to good affect, giving most of the squad members a game and it proved successful as KAT won the match by 65 runs.
Bet Shemesh Royals batted first and scored their highest score this season of 69 with every player improving. Yonni Sidelsky and Chovav Wigman with a partnership of 15, laid the platform for Arieh Finkelstein, Yonna Barnett, Natan Wigman, Eitan Raye, Alex and Ari Lewis to set up the final pair of Gadi Barnett and Eli Shaw, who shared in a record 32-run stand, with Shaw hitting two big 6's in his sides total of 69.
Despite a much-improved bowling and fielding display by BSR, KAT were always ahead of the run rate and with the the second last pair of Lange and Shaw continuing the good work, with a 38-run stand, last pair Garth Kauffman and Adiel Levin dished a record partnership of 79.
YMCB, having lost all four of their games, had the daunting task of playing Dialogz Dragons, who have been tipped for a semi-final position. The Dragons batted first and openers, Simon Minitzer and Steven Shein put on a useful partnership of 40 before a mini-collapse in the middle of the innings which yielded 27 runs from eight overs.
Captain Herschel Gutman and Joseph Greenwall-Cohen ensured that YMCB would be chasing over 100 as they put on 39 to take the total to 106. Joseph Neppe with two wickets, Yonatan Karmi with two wickets and David Harris, with three wickets, were the pick of the bowlers.
Openers Harris and Hickson got the YMCB team off to a flyer as they posted 40 runs for the first partnership. In a similar pattern to the Dialogz batting performance, YMCB, too stuttered through their middle overs scoring 42 in the middle eight overs, largely due to 29 runs from Saul Weizmann.
With 18 runs needed off the final three overs and YMCB on the verge of a famous upset, Gutman and Shein combined to pick up five wickets as YMCB could only muster one run from their final three overs. Gutman with four wickets, including three in one over, and Simon Minitzer with two wickets were the pick of the Dialogz bowlers.
Although YMCB tasted defeat for the fifth time in a row, their was a remarkable improvement and the ninth place position does not do them justice.
This week sees Pommeranz Juice Good Old Boys take on Super Lions Lod as both teams will want to start climbing up the table and into the automatic qualification places.
YMCA will have to dust themselves off and regroup very quickly as on Saturday night, they face David Wiseman's inconsistent Pearl Dental Cricket Club who on their day could be very tricky opposition. The winner of this clash will almost certainly have qualified for an automatic quarter-final position, so it is an important game with both teams having to be at their best.