Student reporter reports on the triple header at Chelmsford

Michael McArdle
Fri, Jun 27, 2014 1:16 PM

Student reporter reports on the triple header at Chelmsford
The Essex County Ground hosted Day One of the Pepsi ICC Europe Division 2 tournament on Monday 23 June, as the Isle of Man, Gibraltar, Belgium, Austria, Germany and Norway fought to progress through the pathway that leads to the ICC World Twenty20. As part of the day, student reporter who was on work experience with Essex County Cricket Club, Michael McArdle reported on the day?s play which saw three back to back games featuring each nation.

The Pepsi ICC Europe Division 2 tournament came to the Essex county ground for the first day of a three day competitive tournament, where the winner would be promoted to the Pepsi ICC Europe Division 1 the following year. The six teams taking part; Austria, Belgium, Germany, Gibraltar, Isle of Man and Norway all were hopeful in getting off to a good start in the competition.

Belgium vs. Gibraltar

Belgium and Gibraltar kicked off the day?s play with Gibraltar winning the toss and electing to bat. After a positive start Gibraltar lost a wicket towards the end of the power play and finished the first six overs 38-1.

Gibraltar pushed on after the fall of another wicket with M.Bacarese powering his way to 45 off 35 balls clearing the boundary twice during his time at the crease. After Bacarese was dismissed, Belgium took the advantage and took another two quick wickets and restricting the Gibraltar tail . Gibraltar finished on 148/7 from their 20 overs.

Belgium got off to a steady start despite the loss of a wicket in the power play. S.Jamil top scored for Belgium with some strong shots around the ground. Wickets however fell around Jamil who eventually got out to a loose delivery off the bowling of I.Latin. S.Ud Din carried on where Jamil left off leading Belgium to victory with a assured 42 not out, resisting the pressure applied by the Gibraltar attack.

Germany vs. Austria

Austria came out firing picking up two wickets in the power play in reply for only 33 runs. The bowlers throughout this contest seemed to be on top and Germany would have posted a defendable score if it was for the contributions of I.Chaudhry, K.Khan and Andre Leslie in the middle over?s. Austria continued with their pressure with M.Ahmed the pick of the bowler, dismissing three German batsman and only going for 7 runs in his 3 over?s. Germany finished a below par 109/8.

Like Germany, Austria lost 2 wickets in the power play getting their innings off to a shaky start. S.Kahn not only top scored for his country but top scored across all nations on the first day at Chelmsford.

Khan fell just short of his 50 on 48 after a run out by K.Butt. The pressure was then shifted to the Austrian lower order to victory. However a resurgent German bowling line up capitalised, forcing the 10th wicket partnership to hit the final runs. After some close running between the wickets the Austrian bats managed to get over the line with a patient knock from T.Perera, who hit the winning runs, to gain bragging rights between the two countries.

Isle of Man vs. Norway

Isle of Man got of to a flying start with Luke Lacey hitting the ball powerfully around the ground putting immense pressure on the Norwegian opening bowlers. Norway prevailed and managed to pick up a couple of key wickets as the Isle of Man batsman started to get into their stride.

Despite some good positive starts from many of the Isle of Man batsmen, none of them could push on and make that big, influential score for their team. Norway throughout bowled well with Hayat and Damon Crawford picking up 3 wickets. And a great fielding display saw two direct hits causing two run outs in quick succession in the middle over?s. Isle of Man finished all out for 117 after 19 over?s.

Norway looked sting early on with Ashiq manoeuvrings he ball around and out of the ground, ensuring his team wouldn't get off to a bad start. All the Norway batsman made valuable contributions but one more than Shahbas Butt, who top scored with 36 guiding his team into a commanding position and concluded the days play with greatly timed shot down the ground for four, Securing victory for Norway.

Despite being during the working day the games were well supported by local primary school children who provided a vibrant and enthusiastic atmosphere. The Children were also able to take part in the cricket factory which was assembled in the county ground, allowing the children to test their arm on the speed gun and their aim in the batting target practice, sparking light hearted competition.

Without the slight interruption of rain before the final match, the day provided a constant supply of fast, free flowing, competitive cricket, where all games went down to the wire, all reaching the final over.

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