Romania wins first Tri Nations Tournament

Fri, Aug 10, 2012 11:25 AM

Romania wins first Tri Nations Tournament
Romania won the first Tri Nations tournament held over the first weekend in June, in Bucharest, beating Serbia and Bulgaria.

Consistently heavy rain in the ten days leading up to the event had posed a serious threat to proceedings with Cricket Romania's Otopeni playing surface too wet for play, but a change of venue to the home ground of the Transylvania Cricket Club, guaranteed that the weekend of cricket could go ahead.

Day one
The tournament began amidst warm and sunny conditions the following morning with the first match between Romania and its fiercest cricketing rival, Bulgaria began well with and continued steadily but unspectacularly until the introduction of Zanev in the 19th over, who hit 25no off 6 balls, raising Bulgaria's total to 153 off 20 overs. Romania struggled in the early stages of its response with both openers falling cheaply and wickets continuing to go down. Twenty runs were needed from the final over and Gondal could not quite get Romania over the line; Bulgaria drew first blood by five runs.

After lunch the second game saw Romania play Serbia, the hosts again struggled to build momentum early and at the halfway mark of its innings were just 52-3, but the next 10 overs saw the run rate lift pushing Romania's total to 155. Serbia's wickets fell regularly, the innings ended with the score at 86-6, meaning a comfortable win for Romania by 69 runs. The tournament was finely poised with Romania and Bulgaria each recording a win and with Serbia having to win its next match the following morning to stay in the hunt.

Day two
Sunday morning began with a visit to Cricket Romania's Centre of Excellence on the outskirts of Bucharest at which Romania's cricketing chief Rangam Mitra proudly presented what will be a jewel, not just in Romania's cricketing crown, but its entire sporting crown.
“Can you imagine how nice it will be”, he addressed the assembled throng, “to play cricket here?” Indeed, with a lake in the foreground, flanked by a village and a forest either side, all attendees were impressed. Though like Rome, nor was Romania built in a day, and for a man who has observed the progress of this development, from cow paddock to rendered field to what will be an immaculate playing surface, no one knows better than he that patience is indeed a virtue. As they boarded the bus to resume the matches, invitees were left in no doubt that Romania's cricketing future is more than encouraging.

At the ground, the third match began after Serbia's captain Vladimir Ninkovic won the toss and batted, but once again his batsmen found the going tough early on, and it was not until the number 9 batsman, Milanovic, did a Serbian score double figures. The innings total of 75 – aided by some wayward bowling from Bulgaria - would never be enough, and it was overcome with ease by Bulgaria's openers Trenev (50no) and Petrov (11no), whose confident hitting clinched the win and Bulgaria’s position in the final against Romania. Many congratulations to Serbia however with the development of their team made up primarily of Serbians.

Warm sunshine, azure, cloudless skies and the faintest breeze greeted players as they took to the turf, after Romania were 63-0 after 10 overs although both were dismissed shortly afterwards, a solid foundation had been established. Romania's batsmen proceeded to score at more than nine runs an over in the second half of their innings, with Kanth (43no) and Hughes (27) adding meaningful contributions in an innings that ended at 154-4, a total that would prove to be too difficult for Bulgaria's batsmen to overhaul.

While they made every attempt at winning the game, Bulgaria's batsmen could not stand up to the superiority of Romania's bowling and fielding they were crisp and quick in the field, denying any steady flow of runs, which did come, but not without wickets, and before long Bulgaria found itself in a position from which it would not recover. Kanth proved his all-round credentials by taking four wickets, a haul which contributed to his man-of the-tournament award, and Gill's two world-class catches behind the stumps emphasised his status as the best keeper in the country.

The awards ceremony ensued, and as each player from each country stepped up to receive their medal they were applauded enthusiastically by an audience that included a group of youngsters from School 25 in Timisoara who had participated in the national final of the Allianz-Tiriac Kwik Cricket tournament earlier that day. They also enthusiastically cheered” Romania in their win against Bulgaria. What a treat it had been for them to witness such good cricket, as it had been for all others present. Romania and Bulgaria have built a keen cricketing rivalry over the last several years and while this most recent episode was won by Romania, the rivalry will be renewed when the two countries meet again, along with several other nations from Central and Eastern Europe, in the Euro T20 Tournament in Sofia, which takes place in September.

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