Hosts Estonia got their tournament off to a great start on Wednesday morning with a comfortable six-wicket victory over Bulgaria.
The Bulgarians managed to set a total of 105, but their innings came to a dramatic conclusion when Estonia's Murali Obili performed a hat-trick in the final over. Bowling a succession of Yorker-length deliveries, he bowled the last three Bulgarian batsmen to finish with figures of three for 8.
Bulgaria began promisingly in brilliant sunshine after captain Saif-ur-Rehman won the toss and elected to bat, Matthew Stewart and Danial Trenev putting on 33 before Stewart was bowled by Sivalingham Arunachalam. Stuart Clarkson then helped Trenev add another 20, but then Moshiur Rahman removed both batsmen, and the innings began to falter.
Tim Heath picked up three wickets at a cost of 20 runs, and despite a useful eighth-wicket partnership between Ivaylo Dunchev and Ivaylo Katzarski which saw the total past the hundred mark, it was all brought to an end by Obili's feat.
Nand Lal Riar went onto the attack when Estonia replied, hitting five boundaries as he contributed a run-a-ball 24 to an opening stand of 40, but then Amal John struck back, having both Riar and his partner Moshiur Rahman caught behind by Lyubomir Zanev in the space of four deliveries.
But Heath blasted 21 from 15 balls, including the only six of the match, and with useful support from Obili he took the total on to 73. Then two wickets again fell in quick succession, Katzarski removing Obili and Prakash Mishra dismissing Heath in the next over, and at 74 for four the Estonians threatened to wobble.
Wicket Keeper Marko Vaik and Arunachalam saw their side home with an unbroken fifth-wicket stand of 32, however, Vaik hitting three boundaries in his 19 not out and Arunachalam contributing 12 as Estonia won with moiré than four overs to spare.
In the second match of the day a blistering 33-ball 76 not out from Murali Obili and a five-wicket haul for Moshiur Rahman were enough to ensure that Estonia ended the opening day in pole position to secure promotion to Division 2.
After Tim Heath winning the toss and choosing to bat, the Estonian captain soon found himself at the crease, Bradley Eve removing Karl Peter van Buuren in the fifth over with just 16 on the board. Eve was in the course of a fine spell, conceding just nine runs from his four overs.
But with Nand Lal Riar again in a punishing mood, he and his skipper added 47 for the second wicket from just 37 deliveries before keeper Rob Bohinc combined with his brother Domen to remove Riar for 28.
Heath was in punishing mood, hitting five sixes in a 29-ball innings of 44, but eventually he, too, fell to Domen Bohinc. And in his following over the Slovenian seamer dismissed Marko Vaik to finish with three for 38.
From then on the innings was completely dominated by Obili, who hit eight fours and four sixes as he raced to his unbeaten 76, taking his side to an imposing total of 170 for six from their 20 overs.
Chasing eight-and-a-half an over, Slovenia needed a good start but they were denied by a generally well-disciplined Estonian attack.
There were only four fours in the first ten overs of the Slovenian reply, and by the time Mark Oman was out in the fourteenth over, the required rate had climbed to more than twelve an over. Oman had made 25, but it had taken him 41 deliveries to get there, with just a single boundary, all but six of his runs coming in singles.
Matthew Charlesworth, who had shown rather more aggression in making 16 from 18 balls, was caught by Van Buuren later in the same over, and at 77 for four with two new batsmen at the crease Slovenia were in some difficulty.
Their troubles deepened considerably in Rahman's next, in which three more wickets fell, and with Heath picking up a wicket in between 77 for four had suddenly become 86 for eight.
There was no way back from there, and although Heath decided not to give Rahman a final over, leaving him on five for 14 from three, brothers Mart and Mario Tammoja collected a wicket apiece to end the Slovenian innings on 105, giving Estonia victory by a thumping 65-run margin.
At Hipodroom: Bulgaria 105-10, 19.5 overs (Murali Obili 3-8, Tim Heath 3-20)
Estonia 106-4, 15.4 overs (Tim Heath 21, Nand Lal Riar 24, Marko Vaik 19*)
Estonia won by 6 wickets
At Hipodroom: Estonia 170-6, 20 overs (Murali Obili 76*, Tim Heath 44; Domen Bohinc 3-38)
Slovenia 105-10, 16.5 overs (Mark Oman 25; Moshiur Rahman 5-14)
Estonia won by 65 runs
ICC European Division 3 2012 table (as of 14 June)
Tomorrow's fixtures: Slovenia v Bulgaria, Hipodroom 10.00; Estonia v Slovenia, Hipodroom 14.00