Norway edge closer to promotion
With one round of matches to play, Norway are well placed to secure promotion to Division One of the European Championship after the morning matches on the final day of Division Two today in Essex.
At Garon Park, the Isle of Man batted first after Austria put them in and soon found themselves in trouble when Gareth Morris was run out before facing a ball during the first over. At 8-3 and then 23-4 after 8 overs, they were looking well out of the game.
Daniel Kniveton and Max Stokoe staged a recovery of sorts, scoring 23 and 20 respectively, but they were the only batsmen to make double figures as the Isle of Man were bowled out for just 80. Lakmal Kasthuri Arachchige was the pick of the bowlers, taking 3-6 in nine balls of work.
Austria wasted no time chasing down that total, knocking off the required runs in 10.3 overs without losing a wicket. Arachchige completed a fine all-round performance by scoring 52 from 31 balls.
At Billericay Cricket Club, Norway won the toss and put Gibraltar into bat. Some tight bowling kept Gibraltar to 113-9 from their 20 overs, with Kayron Stagno the only batsman to get a decent start, scoring 27 from 23 balls.
Norway had little trouble in reply. After losing captain Zaheer Ashiq in the third over, Ehtsham Ul-Haq and Shahbaz Butt put on an unbroken 103 for the second wicket to take their team to a nine wicket win in 15.4 overs. Ul-Haq top scored with 54 from 45 balls.
On the other ground at Billericay Cricket Club, Belgium batted first against Germany after winning the toss and scored 126-9 from their 20 overs, with Brighton Watambwa top scoring with 21. Demuni De Silva was the pick of the German bowlers with 3-12.
In reply, Germany lost Khalid Khan in the first over, but got back on track as Khalid Butt and Rishi Pillai put on 57 for the second wicket. Abdul Rehman bowled Butt in the ninth over, bowled a wide from his next ball before taking two wickets from two consecutive balls, only the wide denying him a hat-trick. He finished with 4-19.
Pillai was dismissed in the next over, and Germany were on 66-5. Bilal Jafar then shepherded the tail with an innings of 26 before he was dismissed in the 18th over. Needing 19 from the last two overs with two wickets in hand, Germany were able to take 9 from the penultimate over, which was bowled by Brighton Watambwa.
Shahab Ud Din bowled the final over, and three runs were taken from the first two balls before a wicket fell from the third. With 7 needed from 3 balls, Ud Din bowled a wide and conceded a single to leave Germany needing five from the last 2 balls. It wasn't to be though as Ud Din had the final batsman caught in the deep to secure a four run win for his team, and finish with bowling figures of 4-13.
Norway now just need to avoid defeat to Germany this afternoon to secure promotion to Division One. Should they lose though, the winner of the match between Austria and Belgium will pass them on net run rate and win the tournament.