Australia edge Israel in thriller

The Australian Maccabiah team may well have thought they were playing against the Australian test team

Steven Shein
The Australian Maccabiah team may well have thought they were playing against the Australian test team. Chasing 204 to win in Lod on Friday, Israel's top order collapsed (in similar fashion to the Australian test team in recent times) and then after a middle order recovery followed by lower order collapse, a last wicket stand of 33 (no Agar or Pattinson are not playing for Israel in the Maccabiah...) so nearly got them over the line, falling 8 runs short.
Going into a match with both teams aware a win would significantly boost their chances of a finals place, the stage was set for a terrific contest. Asked to bat first, Australia made a cautious start to their innings, creeping to 80 for four after 30 overs. Leg spinner Josh Evans once again bowled a very tight spell, conceding just 18 runs in eight overs, taking one wicket. But the visitors upped the tempo in the closing stages, assisted by some sloppy Israeli fielding and loose bowling, Andrew Coleman (56) leading the way. For Israel, Herschel Gutman (for for 34) and Eshkol Solomon (four for 53) shared the bulk of the wickets.
Israel would have been confident of chasing down their target, with the Lod pitch conducive for stroke play and a small and quick outfield usually difficult to defend on. But 204 became a whole lot bigger as the Israel top order collapsed like dominoes, Daniel Bense and David Gelbart sharing two wickets a piece to leave the Israel innings in tatters at 40 for 4. Evans and Itamar Kehimkar bravely reconstructed the innings, adding 70 for the fifth wicket, but just as the hosts were gaining the upper hand, Evans was removed for a well played 46. Solomon (20) was run out, Yaniv Razpurker (8), Kehimkar (40) and Shailesh Bangerra (0) fell in quick succession and at 161 for 9 Australia were just one wicket away from victory. But the experienced pair of Gutman and captain Raymond Aston, surprisingly batting at number 11, very nearly pulled off a remarkable win, until Gutman (11) was adjudged leg before wicket to Gelbart (6 for 60), leaving Aston stranded on 23* and Israel all out for 195.