Halfway through the domestic season, the Division 1 title race is turning into a two-team show, with Sri Lanka Tel Aviv maintaining its perfect start to the season with a victory over Ra'anana on Friday. Meanwhile Lions Lod remains in touching distance in second place after a big win over Lod Rangers on Saturday.
At the other end of the table, Young Ashdod earned its first win of the season, swapping places at the bottom of the league with Petah Tikva, which has now lost five out of five.
Despite a hesitant start having won the toss and electing 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 a tricky batting surface. Ra'anana's top order, which failed miserably in their previous match, showed little improvement and little to cheer about once again. Ra'anana was reduced to 55 for 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 (three for 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 its slip up against Sri Lanka last week with a comprehensive 111-run victory over city rivals Rangers. Former Rangers allrounder 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 three for 15, as Rangers folded for 118.
Petah Tikva has failed to come to terms with life in the top flight so far this season, but its players may have fancied themselves against Young Ashdod, also without a win, in Ashdod on Saturday. However the visiting batsman were blown away by the hosts pace attack, before opening batsmen Srinath (42 not out) and Danny Malyankar (25 not out) raced to their 71-run target in just six overs.
Dimona A remained undefeated in Division 2, scoring an impressive seven wicket win over Ashdod A in Dimona on Saturday. Rafi Varsulkar took five for 34 as the visitors were dismissed for 155, before the fourth wicket pair of Yaniv Dokarkar (40 not out) and Raz Ben Zaken (56 not out) took their team to a comfortable win.
On Saturday number 1 plays 3 in the A Division as Neve Yonatan hosts runaway leaders Sri Lanka Tel Aviv. NY will be looking for two big innings from two of its 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 travels to Dimona to come up against leader Dimona 'C' while over in Lod, home team Lod takes on Lions Be'er Sheva.