Belgium clinch title
Hosts Belgium won the final of the ICC European Division 2 Championship at Royal Brussels following an emphatic 73-run win against Austria.
They were always on top after posting an imposing 188 for seven, with Nirvam Shah (58) and Amir Iqbal (40) sharing an opening stand of 85. Simon Newport hit a brisk 30 from just 15 balls, and Abdul Rehman struck two sixes in his 23 from 12 balls.
Satyam Subhash (3-35) was the most successful of the Austrian attack, who seemed a bit jaded after their heroic display yesterday against Isle of Man, and whose task was made more difficult by some poor support in the field.
Shahid Muhammad (2-33) removed both Austrian openers early, and from that point, it was always difficult. Andrew Simpson-Parker (48) and Benjamin Loader (26) added 59 for the fourth wicket, but Faisal Khaliq took 4 for 11 to wrap up the innings, as Austria were bowled out for 115 in 17.5 overs.
Wicketkeeper Ali Raza took six catches, to take his tournament total to 11.
In the third-fourth place play-off game, the Isle of Man bounced back from their loss to beat Portugal by 13 runs.
Oliver Webster hit 68 from 42 balls, while there were useful cameos from Peter Lewis (28 not out), and Gareth Morris (23), in their total of 155 for four in 19 overs. Khalid Izaz (2-17) was the pick of the Portugal bowling.
In reply, opener Nadeem Butt struck 53 from 31 balls as he shared in a partnership of 80 with Intesab Medhi (23) for the second wicket. Zafar Ali struck three sixes in his 33 from just 13 balls, but Oliver Webster completed an excellent all-round day as he took 2-1, as Portugal went from 134 for four to 141 for nine in the space of two overs, finishing on 142 for nine.
At Ghent, Spain made sure of fifth place when they defeated Hellas by 35 runs. A solid batting display by Spain saw seven of their players make double figures, with Gary Crompton (26), Farhat Mahmood (25), and Pedro Venus Valiente (20), the main contributors in their total of 141 for eight.
Hellas then self destructed as they suffered no fewer than three run outs, and that coupled with the bowling of Mohib Hussein (3-13), meant they could only manage 106 for nine when the overs ran out, with Alexandros Souvlakis 24 the only contributor of any note.
Spain had further good news when James Morgan won the Most Valuable Player, beating off the challenge of Amir Iqbal, Gareth Morris and Michael Caruana.
The afternoon game saw Finland edge out Luxembourg in the battle to claim seventh place. Joost Mees (19) and Tony Whiteman (16) added 39 for the first wicket, before an amazing collapse inspired by Madhu Bhandari (3-18) and Amrik Bhatia (2-17) saw them lose six wickets for just 13 runs. Nishith Gandhi and Piran Merkl both reached double figures as Luxembourg totalled 101 for nine.
A steady reply by the Finns ensured they were always in control, although they wobbled slightly going from 62 for two to 78 for six, but MT Sarfraz (14no) held his nerve to seal the two wicket win off the first ball of the last over.
At Mechelen, Malta clinched ninth place with a thrilling three-run win against Sweden in a contest reduced to 12 overs per side due to rain. Justin Brooke top scored with 36 from 28 balls in a Malta total of 95 for four in 12 overs.
In reply, opener Bilal Zaigham anchored the innings with 31 from 30 balls, and looked to be taking his team to victory, until a leaping, one handed catch on the boundary by Michael Caruana turned the game.
Maltese skipper Andrew Naudi bowled the final over, off which Sweden required seven to win, with three wickets remaining. He bowled Hassan Zaigham from the first delivery, and Aman Zahid from the fourth, to leave five runs needed from the last two. They could only manage a leg bye, to leave Malta winners by three runs.
It didn’t get any better for Sweden in the afternoon game, as they lost to Cyprus by 78 runs, to finish in 11th position. Nimal Durayalage top scored with 56 from just 33 balls, after Cyprus had been given a great start by Syed Hussain. He scored 49 from 27 deliveries, dominating an opening stand of 65 with his captain Michalis Kyriacou.
Dineja Agathocleous (29) gave the innings a further late boost as Cyprus finished on 199 for eight. Ewan Prezens (3-6) and Azam Mohammed (3-43) were best with the ball for Sweden.
Bilal Zaigham (32) was again his team’s top scorer, and Azam Khalil made 27, but they were never really in the hunt. Their innings finished on 121 all out with 3.4 overs unused. Yasir Nazir (3-16), and Babar Ayub (3-21) both caused the Swedish batsmen problems.
The Cypriot bowlers were backed up by their fielders, and in particular, Stelios Michaelides, who took no fewer than five catches on the boundary.