|European Division 2: Guernsey, August 2008|
It's a Channel Islands decider
Guernsey and Jersey will meet in the deciding match of the tournament after both recorded emphatic victories in the penultimate round of matches. Guernsey had eight wickets to spare in their victory over Croatia at King George V, while Jeresy went one better as they lost just one wicket in chasing a target of 175 to defeat Germany at Port Soif. The thrills of the day came at College Field as Gibraltar rallied from a terrible start to defeat France by three wickets.
Germany chose to bat first against Jersey but soon lost two wickets to the bowling of Ryan Driver. James Eggleston and Satyanarayana Srinivas took the score to 57 before Chris Jones claimed Eggleston's wicket. Farooq Ahmed contributed a brisk 25 before he became Chris Jone's second victim to leave his side at 95 for four.
Srinivas meanwhile had looked in no difficulty against any of the bowlers as he worked the ball around the ground for singles and twos. He dominated the second half of Germany's innings, scoring an undefeated 77, from 120 balls and including four boundaries. Most of the lower order gave him useful support and Germany eas able to reach 174 for seven when their overs ran out. Ryan Driver picked up two more wickets in his second spell to finish with four for 30.
Peter Gough and Ian Crocker opened for Jersey and they soon took complete control of the German bowling in a magnificent opening stand of 166. They built up the momentum gradually as all of the bowlers struggled to contain them. Any loose deliveries were dispatched to the boundary, particularly by Gough who scored nine fours and a six before he eventually hit a return catch to Haider when he had reached 80. His innings had lasted 90 deliveries.
When the German score was passed off the last ball of the 32nd over, Crocker was left undefeated on a very impressive 60 from 99 balls.
Croatia decide to bat first against Guernsey and at 76 for two looked set for a competive total against the hosts. However, the introduction of left-arm spinner Jeremy Frith into the attack brought about a very rapid decline in their fortunes as they collapsed to 116 all out, with Frith claiming four wickets for just 18 runs in his ten over spell. Paul Vujnovich top scored for Croatia with 33 but once he had departed none of the Croatian batsmen could get to grips with the slow bowler with only Ivan Bilic at number ten reaching double figures.
Matt Oliver soon departed when Guernsey batted, leg before to Chris PIvac. Lee Savident and Jeremy Frith then combined in a free-scoring partnership of 114 to see Guernsey within a few run sof victory when Frith became another lbw victim, this time to Jeff Grzinic. Savident ended up on 63 not out, which included eleven boundaries, while Frith made 38 from 65 deliveries.
Gibraltar put France in to bat at College Field and soon had them in deep trouble at 35 for four as the French batsmen's approach proved to be overly positive. The situation became worse when Andrew German and Jonaathan Houghton both fell to Ian Latin with the total on just 53. Skipper Waseem Bhatti once again was in good form and, with the help of Abdul Qureshi tried to take France to some sort of respectability. He made 39, while Qureshi contributed an excellent 30, as they took the total up to three figures. However the innings petered away with their dismissals and France closed on what appeared to be a very inadequate 123. For Gibraltar, Colin Phillips and Latin each picked up three wickets, at a cost of 27 and 29 runs, respectively.
At 52 for one in reply, Gibraltar looked to be cruising to an early victory. Kieron Ferrary and Steven Gonzalez were experiencing little difficulty, having seen off the French opening bowlers. However that all changed very quickly as Gibraltar slumped dramatically to 75 for seven. Shahid Malik claimed four wickets in no time at all, with Sulanga Hewawalandanage chipping in with two wickets of his own. Suddenly a surprise French victory seemedto be on the cards.
However, Richard Buzaglo, back in the side aafter misisng the previous game with an injury, had different ideas and he found an ally in Kabir Mirpuri. They inched their way towards the target, scoring just a couple of runs per over, aas all of the French bowlers tried aand failed to dislodge them. They finally got to their target in the 49th over amidst great excitement. Buzaglo made an unbeaten 25 from 67 balls, while Mirpuri's 25 came from 47 deliveries.
For France, Malik had taaken four for 19 in a great ten over spell, while Hewawalandanage was even more economical - his ten overs cost just 12 runs.