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ICC EUROPEAN T20: Magnificent attacking batting as Italy and Gibraltar win in style


Group A
Two magnificent attacking innings provided the highlights of Tuesday afternoon’s matches at Preston Nomads, as Italy and Gibraltar completed comfortable victories over Norway and Sweden respectively.

Italian left-hander Dinidu Marage blazed a century – only the second in the brief history of the ICC European Division 1 Twenty20 championship – to enable his side to reach an imposing total of 205 for two against Norway.

He shared a fine opening stand of 79 with Andy Northcote (27), and then added 109 for the second wicket with Peter Petricola, eventually falling to a catch by Ehtesham ul-Haq off the bowling of Shahbaz Butt. His 107 came from 62 deliveries with 14 fours and two sixes.

Norway had no answer to this challenge, and when Gayashan Munasinghe claimed two wickets before there was a run on the board their task became even greater. Suhail Iftikhar resisted for a time with a 31-ball 27, and Shahbaz Butt again played a captain’s innings with an undefeated 20, but they could only reach 109 for eight, Munasinghe returning towards the end to claim another wicket and finish with three for 22, while Carlo Sandri took two for 16.

Sweden did well to post 176 for six against Gibraltar, wicketkeeper-opener Sadat Sidiqi getting their innings going with an aggressive 70, made from 44 deliveries with eleven boundaries. Mohammad Azam made 21 and Wakil Jalili an unbeaten 24, while there were two wickets each for Iain Latin and Charles Harrison.

When Jalili and Serge Conein removed both openers by the time 19 runs were on the board it seemed as if Gibraltar might struggle, but then the game was turned around by a splendid, unbroken third-wicket partnership of 160 between Kayron Stagno and Kieron Ferrary. Stagno’s 54-ball 93 not out, with eight fours and six sixes, was as decisive as Marage’s for Italy, and he was given great support by Ferrary, whose 63 came from 52 deliveries with seven boundaries. Together they took their side home with an over to spare, to register Gibraltar’s first win of the competition.

Guernsey all-rounder Jeremy Frith reinforced his position as one of the outstanding personalities of the tournament at Preston Nomads earlier on Tuesday morning as he followed up his undefeated 99 against Norway on Monday with a 47-ball not out 87.

Earlier, the 35-year-old had taken three for 12 with his left-arm spin, helping the islanders to dismiss their opponents Austria for a modest 115. Jordon Martell claimed three for 27 and Matthew Stokes two for 20. Armaan Randhawa held the Austrian innings together with a well-made 49 from 26 deliveries with three fours and three sixes, and Imran Asif contributed 26 in the closing stages. Guernsey won by nine-wickets.

In the other morning match Norway were too strong for Sweden. The Norwegian innings closed on 159 for six with Ansar Iqbal (31) and Ali Saleem reaching 37 the notable batsmen. Sweden’s reply started steadily, but they lost wickets at regular intervals and they were never able to get close enough to the required rate to pose a serious threat. Hassan Khan removed both openers at a cost of just 11 runs, and then Abidul Haq (three for 21) and Shahbaz Butt (two for 27) worked their way through the top and middle order, but the final total of 131 for seven fell well short of their target.

Group B
Denmark have gone a long way to booking their place at Hove for finals day on Saturday with a crushing win over France this afternoon at Horsham.

Batting first after winning the toss, the opening pair of Fred Klokker and Carsten Pedersen put on 79 for the first wicket. Aftab Ahmed then took over the run scoring, smashing an unbeaten 54 from 35 balls including three sixes, one of which went so far the ball could not be found. His innings took the Danish total to a formidable 185-4.

In reply, France initially looked to be making a slow but steady chase of that target. But the dismissal of Thavalingam for 27 sparked a collapse as they went from 45-1 to 71-8. Zika Ali then gave the innings a little more respectability with a quick 17, but he couldn't stop France being bowled out for 96.

Meanwhile next door on the main Horsham ground, the Isle of Man lost a low scoring game against Germany to make it three defeats from three at the tournament.

The Isle of Man won the toss and chose to bat first. Philip Littlejohns batted well for the second time today with 35 before he was stumped, but that and 28 from Oliver Webster were the only two significant contributions and some tight German bowling helped restrict them to 122-9 from their 20 overs.

To start with, the Manxmen bowled well, keeping the German scoring rate down, and at the halfway stage the teams were more or less neck and neck. But Nafees Ahmed eventually cut loose, at one point taking 34 runs from 2 overs almost entirely by himself.

Germany won by five wickets with 4.5 overs to spare. It was a much needed win for the German side after losing both games on the opening day.

France started the day well with a victory over Isle of Man at Horsham. Batting first after winning the toss, France made a nervy start, with Komalan Thavalingam (87) being dropped when he'd scored seven. But he and opening partner Arun Ayyavooraju (50) soon got their eye in and put on a big 138 partnership. A good last five overs helped France post 197-5 from their 20 overs.

The Isle of Man's reply started badly when Jansen was out for a duck from the second ball, and the side struggled to get the ball away from the French spinners and medium pacers. Philip Littlejohns played well to score an unbeaten 81, but the Manxmen fell just short, losing by 20 runs.

France Captain, Arunkumar Ayyavooraju said, “ We wanted to bat first as it’s a great batting wicket here. This proved true with an opening 100 partnership between myself and Komalan Thavalingam who went on to score an impressive 87. We knew our 197 total was a great batting total and was likely to be a winning score.

“We started well with the ball, but knew runs would come, with Isle of Man being a great batting side and the short boundaries,” said Ayyavooraju.

In the other morning’s game Belgium were bowled out for 134 from exactly 20 overs. They lost wickets regularly throughout their innings, Shafiq top scoring with 39, and their innings could have been a lot worse had it not been for Khaliq scoring 28 from 16 balls towards the end.

Jersey lost two wickets early on in their reply before Ben Stevens and Andy Dewhurst put on an unbroken 92 run partnership for the third wicket. Stevens was dropped twice on his way to his 50, scored from 32 balls, whilst Dewhurst made 40 from 27 balls as Jersey won by 8 wickets.

Tuesday’s Scores
Group A
Sweden v Norway at Preston Nomads (Pitch One)

Norway won by 28 runs
Norway 159-6 (20.0 overs)- S Butt 33, A Saleem 27, M Naveed 5-33
Sweden 131-7 (20.0 overs)- Y Ikram 33, N Anjum 24, A Haq 3-21

Guernsey v Austria at Preston Nomads (Pitch Two)
Guernsey won by 9 wickets
Austria 115 (19.4 overs)- A Randhawa 49, Imran Asif 26; JL Martel 3-27, JDJ Frith 3-12, MWR Stokes 2-20
Guernsey 117-1 (13.5 overs)- LJ Barker 32, JDJ Frith 87 not out

Sweden v Gibraltar at Preston Nomads (Pitch One)
Gibraltar won by 8 wickets
Sweden 176-6 (20.0 overs)- S Sidiqi 70, J Wakil 24 not out
Gibraltar 179-2 (19.0 overs)- K Stagno 93 not out, K Ferrary 63 not out

Norway v Italy at Preston Nomads (Pitch Two)
Italy won by 96 runs
Italy 205-2 (20 overs)- DA Marage 107, AM Northcote 27, PA Petricola 52 not out
Norway 109-8 (20 overs)- Suhail Iftikhar 27; GRD Munasinghe 3-22, CS Sandri 2-16

Group B
Isle of Man v France at Horsham (Pitch Two)

France won by 20 runs
France 197-5 (20.0 overs)- K Thavalingam 87, A Ayyavooraju 50,
Isle of Man 177-5 (20.0 overs)-

Germany v Isle of Man at Horsham (Pitch One)
Germany won by 5 wickets
Isle of Man 122-9 (20.0 overs)- P Littlejohns 35, O Webster 28, S Hassan 3-21
Germany 125-5 (16.1 overs)- N Ahmad 47

Jersey v Belgium at Horsham (Pitch Two)
Jersey won by 8 wickets
Belgium 134 (20 overs)- Waqas Shafiq 39; PCC Connolly 3-20
Jersey 135-2 (15 overs)- EJ Farley 25, BDH Stevens 50 not out, ASJ Dewhurst 40 not out

France v Denmark at Horsham (Pitch Two)
Denmark won by 89 runs
Denmark 185-4 (20 overs)- FA Klokker 53, CR Pedersen 25, KT Mahmood 39, A Ahmed 36 not out
France 96 (19.1 overs)- K Thavalingam 27; HAM Shah 4-25, KT Mahmood 4-8

Wednesday is a rest/reserve day:

Thursday fixtures are:
Austria v Sweden, Horsham (Pitch One) 10.00; Guernsey v Italy, Horsham (Pitch Two) 10.00; Belgium v Isle of Man, Preston Nomads (Pitch One) 10.00; Jersey v Denmark, Preston Nomads (Pitch Two) 10.00

Gibraltar v Guernsey, Horsham (Pitch One) 14.30; Norway v Austria, Horsham (Pitch Two) 14.30; Germany v Jersey, Preston Nomads (Pitch One) 14.30; France v Belgium, Preston Nomads (Pitch Two) 14.30

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