|European Division 4: Cyprus, September 2009 2010|
Winning start for hosts
CYPRUS made a winning start to the European Division Four Championships in Limassol with a 105 runs win over Switzerland.
Anil Nair was the batting star for the hosts, hitting 103 from 114 balls with 12 boundaries, half of them sixes. He shared a second wicket stand of 96 with Mushtaq Kashif and 62 for the third with Udumulle Sirithunga as Cyprus totalled 277 for eight in their 50 overs.
Kashif hit 39 from 57 balls with three fours and two sixes and Sirithunga's 54 included eight fours and two sixes and came off just 33 balls.
That was always likely to be too many for Switzerland who are playing their first international tournament for five years. They scored only 24 runs in the first 10 overs and were eventually out for 172 in the 41st over. Kapila Wickramathanthrigie, the slow left arm bowler, was hit for six in his first over but took six of the last seven wickets to fall for 40. Opening bowler Michael Kyriacou was particularly impressive at the start, conceding just 12 runs in his five overs.
Nair started slowly but accelerated well, and was particularly forceful after the departure of Sirithunga in the 41st over. Happy to watch his colleague dominate the third wicket stand - he scored only eight runs in eight overs while Sirithunga was at the middle, Nair then took over and scored 39 of the next 44 runs in just four overs before he was caught in the deep.
Kyriacou then hit 19 off 14 balls including the 12th maximum of the innings as the Swiss were set an imposing total.
Unfamiliar with the powerplay in the first 10 overs they found it difficult to get away the Cyprus opening bowlers but at least they kept the majority of the wickets intact in the first half of their innings. Indeed they went into the 27th over on 99 for three, probably just too slow to go for a victory charge but certainly with hopes of getting close.
Then Wickramathanthrigie came into the attack and once he bowled Azeem Nazir for 33, he ripped through the rest of the Switzerland batting, He took the next two wickets in his third over, a fourth in his next and suddenly the Swiss were 108 for seven. Munawar Raja hit two sixes in his cameo 20 but, fittingly, Wickramathanthrigie took the last wicket to give him a six-for and wanting the match ball.