KEVIN O'BRIEN struck a commanding 89 not out and Ireland colleague Andrew Poynter also made an unbeaten half-century as Leinster Lightning opened their defence of the Hanley Energy Cup with a six-wicket victory over the Northern Knights at Stormont.

Openers Dom Joyce and Finto McAllister both made 30 but the visitors looked to be in a spot of trouble at 78-4 chasing a modest Knights' total of 221 before O'Brien joined Poynter in a partnership of 148 that eased Lightning home with 6.2 overs to spare.

O'Brien was at his bludgeoning best, striking three sixes and eight fours in a 77-ball innings while Poynter also found the boundary eight times in making 59 not out from 73 balls.

Former Ireland international Greg Thompson top-scored with 61 for the Belfast-based side but with Eddie Richardson taking 3-40 and O'Brien, Tyrone Kane and Yaqoob Ali chipping in with two wickets apiece, Lightning again look the team to beat on the domestic front this season.