Belgium lost to Spain in the match of the tournament and gained promotion to Pepsi ICC Europe Division 2 by the closest of margins on net run rate.
On the morning of the last day in La Manga, Spain entered the fixture a win behind Belgium and managed to pull off a fantastic victory winning by 4 wickets. Belgium batted first with a strong innings contribution from Watambwa (26), Muhammad (23) and Shafiq (30 not out) putting Belgium into a winnable position finishing on 131 for 7 wickets in its 20 overs. Spain’s Ranjah claimed 3 wickets for 20 runs.
Spain’s reply got off to a tentative start leaving them on 34 runs for 4 wickets before Ahmed’s fantastic innings of 65 runs from 43 balls including 5 fours and 4 sixes turned the match around. His partnership with Iqbal (33 not out) put Spain in pole position scoring the required runs in 17.5 overs. However it was ultimately not enough and by the smallest of net run rate margins they finished the tournament in 2nd place.
In the days other match Hellas beat Finland comfortably by 53 runs. Hellas’ Manousis scored a remarkable 102 not out from 61 balls including 14 fours and 4 sixes. Manousis was supported by Bogdos (28) and Koutsoufis (38), leaving Hellas on an impressive 185 for 3 wickets after their 20 overs.
It was always going to be a tough task for Finland and they were not helped by regular wickets falling throughout their chase. Mahmada Achchige (21), Kuchey (37 not out) and Zakiullah Kamal (30 not out) batted well and yet ultimately they couldn’t get Finland near the total. A great bowling effort from Hellas’ bowlers saw Koutsoufis 3 wickets for 27 runs and Triantafillidis 3 wickets for 23 runs, lead the way. Finland finished on 132 runs for 8 wickets.
In the matches on day 3, Spain crashed to defeat, as Israel won by 7 wickets. Spain’s top order only contributed 13 runs before Crompton (19) and Ahmed (31) secured some stability in the innings. Iqbal run out for 15 was the only other Spain batsman to get into double figures, which left them 111 all out and batting only 19.1 overs. The stand out bowler for Israel was Perere getting 4 wickets for 21 runs.
Israel managed the winning runs in 17.5 overs, thanks to Kahamker who just fell short of his half century with a well made 49 and Evans who finished 43 not out. Panchal was the best bowler for Spain with 2 wickets for 23 runs.
Due to Spain’s defeat it meant Belgium with a win would be outright leaders at the top of the table going into the last day. Belgium put on a strong start with Watambwa (23) and Latif (16), complemented by Shafiq (35) before he was bowled by Kuchey and stumped by Scamans. A fantastic half century by Faiz (52) with 2 fours and 5 sixes resulted in 157 for 7 after 20 overs for Belgium.
Finland got off to a good start with the openers putting on 51 before Pervage Bin Islam (28) was run out and Scamans (27) was caught LBW by Rehman. Abdul Rehman was the star bowler for Belgium ripping through Finland’s batting line up with figures of 4 wickets for 16 runs. There was no significant contribution from the rest of the batting order and Finland finished on 114-9 losing by 43 runs.
Images from Pepsi ICC Europe Division 3 are on ICC Europe’s Facebookpage.
Scores in brief:
At La Manga 1 on Day 3- 2 May 2014
Belgium 157 for 7, 20 overs (Faiz 52, Shafiq 35; Kuchey 2-19)
Finland 114 for 9, 20 overs (Pervage Bin Islam 28; Rehman 4-16)
Belgium won by 43 runs
At La Manga 2 on Day 3- 2 May 2014
Spain 111 all out, 19.1 overs (Ahmed 31; Perere 4-21)
Israel 114 for 3, 17.5 overs (Kahamker 49, Evans 43; Panchal 2-23)
Israel won by 7 wickets
At La Manga 1 on Day 4- 3 May 2014
Belgium 131 for 7, 20 overs (Watambwa 26, Shafiq 30 not out; Ranjah 3-20)
Spain 133 for 6, 17.5 overs (Ahmed 65, Iqbal 33 not out; Watambwa 3-21)
Spain won by 4 wickets
At La Manga 2 on Day 3- 3 May 2014
Hellas 185 for 3 20 overs (Manousis 102 not out, Koutsoufis 38 not out; Tariq Sarfraz 1-27)
Finland 132 for 8, 20 overs (Kuchey 37 not out, Kamal 30 not out; Triantafillidis 3-23)
Hellas won by 53 runs
The final Pepsi ICC Europe Division 3 table can be viewed at www.icc-europe.org via Cric HQ.
Photo appears courtesy of ICC/Tony Henshaw