24 July 2011

Euro Div 1 T20 - Day 4 - Play-Offs - Germany Ruthless | Italy, Denmark Qualify


[galleries] [match reports] [tournament home on cricinfo]
[table and scorecards Group A] (Austria, Croatia, Gibraltar, Guernsey, Italy, Norway)
[table and scorecards Group B] (Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Israel, Jersey)
[results and scorecards play-offs]

Israel

First of all commiserations to Israel and Croatia, as I said in both the previous posts Israel were nowhere near showing their full potential, and while their bowling undoubtedly picked up penetration towards the end, Josh Evans, again, and Herschel Gutman each with 3 for less than 20, their batting line-up simply didn't fire. I would not be too worried about them, though, they will immediately ascend to Div. 1 again in the next Euro T20 cycle.

Italy and Denmark

Big congratulations and bear hugs go to Italy and Denmark, who with remarkable performances against the two hosting sides Jersey and Guernsey secured their spots in the World Twenty20 qualifiers in Dubai next year. Denmark downright pummelled Guernsey into defeat with another display of absolute dominance.

Germany

Asif Khan (l.) and Dilshan Rajudeen top-scored for
Germany (c) Cricket Germany
Croatia v Germany [cricinfo scorecard] [report by Cricket Germany]
In brief, Croatia didn't have the ghost of a chance. In detail, after losing the toss and being put in Germany had reached 48-1 after 5 overs and my confidence grew. Well it was not like we had a choice, do or die was the motto. The next update appeared after 10 overs, Germany had swiftly moved onward to 92 for the loss of just one more wicket, and I quietly estimated our COW to be something like 80%, excluding any kinds of spontaneous implosions that is. At 151-5 with 5 overs still to bat I chuckled in disbelief, and when the innings closed at 222-7, the highest total scored in the whole tournament so far and the new German T20 record, it was pretty obvious that we had successfully defended our spot in the sun.

With glee I noted that both captain Khan and Dilshan Rajudeen had fired again, and when eventually the scorecard was put online you could figure that Dilshan had played a very smart, yet commanding opener's knock, while Asif absolutely smashed the Croatian bowlers left and right. Very useful runs came from Imran Chaudhry once again; additionally the two Kashifs, Mahmood and Haider, came over the Balkan bowlers like the apocalypse. I am especially happy for leggie Kashif Haider, who crowned his excellent bowling performance in this tournament with this unbeaten 37*.

Croatia must have been shaking in the face of this, frankly said, near unchaseable total, and our bowlers made light work of the Croatian batsmen. Germany largely banked on spin aided by part-timers, which meant that Ehsan didn't play. After his injury in the previous match Rana-Javed Iqbal was luckily up and running, as well as alive and kicking butt massively again, had Croatia in a shambles at 14-2 and conceded a mere 13 runs in his four overs, a mindboggling feat on a 222-run pitch. Kashif Haider, in the wickets, too, went for just 17, the second spell that left the Balkan brigade desperately gasping for air. Shakeel Hassan, Imran Chaudhry and Dilshan Rajudeen (:D) shared the remaining spoils amongst them, with Shakeel and Dilshan taking two each and none of them leaking too many.

Remarkably Germany's performance curve in this tournament is nearly congruent to that in Botswana; after demoralising initial defeats they bounced back strongly and clicked in the decider. Perhaps the old lore about Germany being a tournament team proves true in cricket once again.

The others:

France beat Austria mainly thanks to Ayya (48) and Zika Ali (4-13) again. Norway registered their fourth win in six matches, beating  Belgium by 3 wickets, I'd like to especially congratulate the Norwegians on their achievement, as they surely weren't having an easy time out there with the horrible tragedy in their homeland on their minds, and they generally deserve praise for playing a very strong tournament. Gibraltar defeated Israel in the second relegation duel and will therefore remain with us in Division 1, is this the turning point for the Gibs?

Today:

On the last day of the tournament the final rankings are determined... Denmark and Italy will fight for the ultimate crown, and we are facing Gibraltar in order to find out if we are still dominating them ;)  Here's the full list of today's fixtures, the matches start at 9 GMT / 10 BST/ 11 CET, except for the grand final, which is staged in the afternoon at 14:30 BST:
  • 3rd-4th match: Jersey v Guernsey (FB Field)
  • 5th-6th match: France v Norway (Farmers)
  • 7th-8th match: Austria v Belgium (Grainville)
  • 9th-10th match: Germany v Gibraltar (Victoria College)
  • 11th-12th match: Croatia v Israel (Les Quennevais 1)
  • Final: Denmark v Italy (FB Fields)
There was something else I was going to say, but it must have slipped my mind over night. All I can say is well done Germany, exceptional performance and attitude in the most crucial match of the competition, please try and finish the tournament on that same strong note,

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Cheers
Wes

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