Day 3: Round-up

Tue, Aug 28, 2007 4:47 PM

On another scorching day in Spain, the morning's action saw both Guernsey and Belgium win comfortably against Gibraltar and Cyprus.

Gibraltar, surely exhausted from their epic encounter with Cyprus the day before, were never in the hunt against Guernsey, who dominated from the off, taking a wicket with the first ball of the match and rarely letting up from then on.

Only Scott Chipolina reached double figures as Gibraltar relied on wides to provide almost half of their total of 71, a target that was never going to test this strong Guernsey batting line-up.

Of Guernsey's bowlers, the last three used by captain Thomas Kirk were the more successful; Kirk himself took 3-9, Thomas Still 2-9 and Max Ellis was painfully miserly, conceding only five runs from his six overs.

There was one minor slip-up for Guernsey while chasing, however, as Will Thompson was run out without facing in the first over, but CJ Peatfield and Joseph Alvarez rapidly put on 65 together as the Channel Islanders cruised home by nine wickets in fewer than eight overs.

Cyprus, who had themselves beaten Gibraltar yesterday, found the going much tougher against a Belgian side determined to avenge the reverse they suffered in their opening match against Spain.

Following his 43 from the day before, Jay Savani anchored the Belgian innings with a fine, unbeaten 51 and he was given ample support from Sebastian Shukla (21) with whom he added 82 for the third wicket.

It was then Shukla (3-14) who tore through Cyprus' top order to leave them reeling at 42 for 7 at the half-way stage. His victims included yesterday's hero George Papaonisiforou, who had earlier bowled his full spell for only fourteen runs, while a fine catch at slip from Shaival Mehta removed Harry Callaway off the bowling of Akshat Sanghvi.

Cyprus fought on, however, and finished their allotted overs on 109-9, something of recovery from their earlier position. The most successful Belgian bowler, other than captain Shukla, was Naman Parikh, who took 3-22.

In the afternoon, Jersey faced Italy in a crunch match in Group A, while Germany and the Isle of Man went head-to-head on the top pitch at the La Manga club.

In the end, neither match was close-run, with Jersey and Isle of Man clear winners, with the latter's victory taking them above Jersey in Group A, courtesy of a superior net run rate.

Germany had set Isle of Man 122 for victory and this was a target duly passed for the loss of only one wicket in the thirtieth over. It could have been a much easier chase, nonetheless, had it not been for Manishi Mathur's tenacious 32 and his resilient partnership of 42 with Ritvik Marwaha (13*) for the ninth wicket.

It had been 4-22 from Alistair Brown that had created the need for such a recovery, his opening spell ripping out Germany's top four, and then tight spells from Alex Stokoe (seven overs for 14) and Zaheer Jafri (the same for just nine runs) that had ensured Germany would not post any more than they did.

But German captain Mansor Mubarik and Leonid Gerhards then guaranteed that Isle of Man would have to bat exceptionally well to reach 122 without losing more than one wicket, neither conceding more than three an over throughout their spells.

Confident performances from all of Isle of Man's top three (Stokoe, Richard Foden and Jack Rowlands), however, made safe the win that took their team to the top of Group A.

Jersey's formidable 215-8 against Italy was built around 41 from Bradley Rimeur and a string of handy contributions down the order, particularly Thomas le Lievre's rapid 29 from just 17 balls at the death.

Extras proved very expensive for the Italians, gifting Jersey 82 runs, but there were several notable performances from their bowlers, with captain Ali Shakeel leading the way by taking 3-36.

Yet disaster struck the Italian response when dangerman Abdur Rahman Bhuiyan was caught at mid-off for just 1 so, despite the efforts of Giorgio Scalco (21) and Chanuka Welarathna (24), Jersey's victory was never really in doubt.

The Jersey attack shared the wickets around, no one taking more than two, but they gave a fine all-round show, backed up impressively by their fielders. Wicket-keeper le Lievre was more conspicuous than most, taking three catches and stumping the big-hitting Fahran Akbar off the left-arm spin of Joseph Mayes.

So, with three rounds of the group stage gone, three teams are tied for points at the top of Group A, with Isle of Man meeting Jersey tomorrow afternoon in what should be a cracking match. France and Germany lock horns in the group's other match, with both desperately keen to register their first win of the tournament.

In Group B, Belgium and Guernsey clash in the morning, while if Spain can see off Cyprus later on, it should assure the hosts of finishing in at least second place in their group.

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