Division 3 hosts Estonia triumph in Tallinn as a special guest watches on
Wed, Jun 20, 2012 4:25 PM
Shane Warne and the Estonian team
The ICC European Division Three tournament was a triumph both on and off the field for hosts Estonia, who topped the group ahead of Slovenia and Bulgaria.
The competition was played in glorious conditions throughout on the magnificent and unique setting of the Hippodrome ground.
Media and spectator interest in the event was high, helped by the appearance of cricket legend Shane Warne and his partner Elizabeth Hurley on the first day. The games were all live streamed with also ball-by-ball scoring and commentary on the internet, which ensured the competition received global interest.
On the field of play there were many highlights, from Murali Obili's hat-trick on the opening day to Matthew Stewart's consecutive half centuries on the final day.
Obili was the leading wicket taker in the competition with nine wickets at a miserly 8.67, ahead of his Estonian team-mate Moshiur Rahman with seven at just 6.68, including the best bowling return of 5 for 14 against Slovenia.
Bradley Eve of Slovenia rolled back the years with a series of fine parsimonious spells, conceding just 60 runs from his 16 overs, giving him the best economy rate of all the bowlers.
Slovenian wicket-keeper Rok Bohinc, one of three brothers in the Slovenian side - one fo the few instances this has happened in an international side - topped the dismissals table with seven catches.
The aforementioned Stewart shared the only century partnership of the event with Danail Trenev, as their opening stand of 112 helped Bulgaria to shock Estonia.
Stewart with 147 and Trenev 135 were second and fourth in the leading run scorers, with Slovenian captain Mark Oman (146) in third place. Oman's team mate Chris Bishop produced the most entertaining innings of the week.
He had the statisticians reaching for the record books as he raced to 42 from just 9 balls against Bulgaria. However he wasn't able to beat Yuvraj Singh's record of 12 balls for the quickest ever half century, eventually making 58 from 20 balls (5 fours, 6 sixes).
However the dominant figure throughout the week was Estonian captain Tim Heath, who comfortably topped the run aggregates with 182. He made the top score (88*), had the second best strike rate (180.20), the second best economy rate (4.78), was seventh in the wicket takers (4 at 10.75), and was joint top in the catches table with three.
Heath was therefore the outstanding candidate and a worthy recipient of the tournament's MVP award. He was clearly delighted at not just his own personal success but that of his team saying: "It was a tremendous honour to lead the Estonian team during the Division 3 tournament, especially on home soil. I feel very humbled that the ICC have awarded me with the MVP award, as my aim was to perform to the best of my ability to help the Estonian team in their pursuit of victory.
"However individual awards aren't a patch on the satisfaction of team victory. There is nothing greater than being a part of a team who have achieved a common goal after many months, if not years, of hard toil together. To this end, I?m extremely proud to simply be a member of the Estonian team, and I know that everyone is certainly looking forward to the Division Two competition in Corfu, where hopefully, we can take the next step forward!"