A tense and fluctuating game between two mid-table teams battling for play-off place superiority, provided much entertainment and individual skill, with the final margin - a deserved 48-run victory for Modshem Super 6'ers (117) over Young Israel Thunder (69) - belying the closeness of the contest for the majority of the match.
The game was won and lost in the third batting partnership of each innings. The 6'ers, having won the toss and batted, saw their third pair put on a game-swinging 55 runs, plundering 31 in the two power-play overs off Israel internationals Herschel Gutman and Yaniv Razpurker. The consistent Daniel Hyman made a breezy 21 and man-of-the-match Yoni Raff, smashed a brutal 34.
By contrast, Thunder, who made a promising start to reach 53 off eight overs, had their third pair blown away, scoring a demoralising minus 6. The accurate and wily bowling of Daniel Lange - bowler-of-the-match, 3 for minus 5) and Daniel Hyman (2 for minus 4), mixing pace, flight and swing, frustrated the Thunder batsmen Eyal Gottlieb and Dovi Myers. In overs nine and ten the two Daniels took four wickets for minus 13 to knock the stuffing out of Thunder's chase, leaving the final pair a mammoth 71 to win.
The match had started promisingly for Thunder. Tight bowling, including a rare maiden over from Eshkol Solomon, restricted the 6'ers to a subdued total of only 26 after eight overs, with Nick Stone, a Division One debutant, making a solid 12.
After the carnage from Raff and Hyman, the momentum was continued by the final pair scoring 36, with the ever-dependable Saul Weitzman (14) and Garth Kaufman - batsman-of-the-match - who hit 22, including two sixes. 29 runs were plundered from the last three overs. A score of 117 was certainly defendable, but very much within the scope of Thunder's strong batting line-up.
Thunder's reply saw them well ahead of the run-rate after the opening two overs, with a promising 17 on the board. But having surprisingly taken the Power-Play in overs three and four, Razpurker was out in consecutive overs, including a sharp one-handed reaction catch by Daniel Lange at short mid-off. 22 runs for the opening pair was not the start Thunder had hoped for, restricted to a mere five runs in the power-play, bowled as usual by the accurate Kaufman and Weitzman.
With 6'ers skipper Jamie Lazarus skillfully maneuvering his field (while ably deputizing as keeper with two stumpings and a catch), the second pair of Solomon (15) and Ori Lange (16) made a steady 31, without ever dominating the bowling.
Having won their previous three games, Thunder looked fairly well set to make it four in a row, with a target of 65 off eight overs. However the third pair's implosion meant victory was out of reach, even for Thunder's big finishers, Gutman and Gabi Glass, who together had average a whopping 38 runs in their previous three fourth pair partnerships. They managed only 22, with Gutman top-scoring for his team with a creditable 20. Yoni Raff, added to his batting master-class by taking two for minus 3, to end with a sumptuous Nev of 37, and deservedly receiving yet another man-of-the-match medal.
Young Israel Thunder ended the evening with a win after a hard fought 108-92 win over Redwood. Matt Hoffman (24) - one of Redwood's Israeli internationals - and Indian Maccabiah player, Ben Hur Moses (26) helped Redwood post a decent score. It would have been a lot more had 13-year-old Gabi Glass with 2 for 4 and 14-year-old Niv Razpurker 2 for minus 9 not bowled superbly well.
Eyal Gottlieb picked up a wicket on his debut in the 1st division to cap off a good alround performance from the teams youngsters. Israel national players, Eshkol Solomon (35) and Yaniv Razpurker (26) got the run chase off to a superb start as YIT passed Redwoods score with two overs remaining.
Redwood, Modshem 6'ers and Young Israel Thunder have all but secured a play-off berth in the top six, but their remaining league games are still must-win affairs to keep up the pressure on the other teams in the mix, and ensure an easier potential pathway to the medal games.
In the upcoming weekends games, Israel Academy will be looking for their first win of the season as Yonni Sidelsky’s side take on Gold ‘B’. YMCA will be hoping to inflict a third loss on runaway leaders MYL as they still have an outside chance of finishing in the top three for an automatic qualification berth. Bottom side PDCC need a big win with bonus points over Modshem S’Sixers to have any chance of qualification for the play offs.
Modshem S' Sixers 117 Young Israel Thunder 69
Redwood 92 Young Israel Thunder 108