MICHAEL Leask emerged as the hero by blasting Cally Highlanders to victory in a Super Over thriller at Titwood.
In front of an enthralled Friday evening crowd the Western Warriors and their rivals from the north could not be separated in regulation time – just like England and New Zealand in the World Cup final earlier in the month.
Chasing a modest 11 after Scott Cameron had restricted Rory Kleinveldt and Tom Bradburn to just 10 from the extra six deliveries, Highlanders skipper Leask hit back-to-back boundaries off Kleinveldt to seal victory with two balls to spare.
Cameron had also been the bowling star in regulation time, conceding only a bye from the final delivery when two runs would have seen the Warriors clinch victory.
A topsy-turvy encounter saw the Highlanders dominate the first 18 overs after winning the toss and electing to bat.
Hard-hitting innings from Wihan Lubbe (57) and Leask (53) appeared to have put them on course for a total in excess of 200.
Leask’s knock was particularly punishing on the Warriors bowlers, coming from just 25 balls and including five boundaries and four maximums.
However, a plucky Warriors fightback saw the visitors lose their last seven wickets for just 10 runs to be dismissed in the final over for 180.
Ross Lyons did the bulk of the damage with 4-22 while Kleinveldt and Niall Alexander had two wickets apiece.
In reply, the home side managed to stay in touch with the required rate thanks to cameos from Mo Awais (23) Fazal Jawad (30) and Kleinveldt (25) though the regular loss of wickets meant that Highlanders looked favourites going into the last five overs.
Instead Bradburn and Dave Stafford, having played themselves in, opened out to take the game to its thrilling finale, the former hitting 41no from 27 balls while Stafford’s unbeaten 43 included three fours and two sixes.
Jamie King was Cally’s most successful bowler with 3-38.
Warriors will bid for revenge when the sides meet again, also at Titwood, on Thursday (August 1).