|European Under 15 (Division 2) Championship: Bologna, Italy, August 2009|
Italy recover to beat the Isle of Man
Hosts Italy came back from a terrible start against the Isle of Man in their morning match in Rastignano, recovering from 75 for seven to reach a respectable – and thoroughly astonishing – total of 231.
They owed their comeback to a stand of 123 for the eighth wicket between Aamir Shaikh and Waqas Asghar, who went through a difficult period until they settled but then launched a ferocious attack, first on the Manx spinners and then on the seamers.
It had all started so well for the Isle of Man after Italy won the toss and elected to bat: David Hayward struck three times to reduce the Italians to 31 for three, and then his new-ball partner Andrew Vels bowled Italian skipper Adnan Mohammad to make it 35 for four.
Harry Starost showed some defiance with a bright 24, made at almost a run a ball, but his run out – thanks to a brilliant piece of fielding by Shaun Kelly – ended a promising 36-run partnership with Alamin Mia. Mia fell to Ryan Burns soon afterwards, and with Faysal Mia bowled first ball Italy seemed likely to be dismissed for under 100.
Shaikh and Asghar had other ideas, however, and their stand transformed the match. Shaikh in particular hit with increasing freedom, while his partner’s 49-ball 62, with eight fours and two sixes, was no less enterprising. Shaikh eventually ran out of partners, but not before he had made 75 not out, from just 51 balls with 10 fours and three sixes.
All the Manx bowlers came in for some punishment, with Hayward finishing with three for 46, while there were two wickets each for Vels, Burns and Kelly.
The Isle of Man began confidently in reply, openers Burns and Rowan Bird reaching 55 before Harpreet Singh bowled the former for 25. Bird followed with the total on 77, caught by James Fort off the bowling of Sahidul Islam Swad for 32 – which would prove to be the top score in the innings.
Wickets now began to fall at regular intervals as the Manxmen slipped further and further behind the required rate, and although several batsmen got a reasonable start, none was able to take command of an attack which was steady, and which was backed up by some committed ground fielding.
Shaun Kelly contributed a 24-ball 23, but by this time the rate needed had crept up towards 10 an over, and Kelly was eventually caught at deep mid-on trying to hit over the top.
The Isle of Man did well to get as close to the Italian total as they did, losing by only 40 runs, but the truth was that for the last dozen or so overs of the innings they had no real prospect of reaching their target.
Singh was the most successful of the Italian bowlers with three for 34, while Alamin Mia had two for 24 and Faysal Mia two for 39.