Finland, Spain and Hellas win on the first morning
A damp Monday morning did not overcome the spirits of the sides as the tournament got under way, with two of the matches starting on time, and only in Mechelen did a series of showers cause the game to be reduced to ten overs a side.
In Group A, Finland drew first blood with a comfortable eight-wicket victory over Cyprus at the Royal Brussels CC.
Put in to bat, Cyprus managed 134 for nine in their twenty overs, with opener Syed Hussain making 24 from 25 deliveries, and Nimal Durayalage picking up the momentum in taking just 10 balls to reach the same score.
Ekhpelwak Kuchey did most of the damage for Finland with three for 23, with Obaidullah Sadiqui taking two for 19.
Michael Shaw and Roholah Sadiqui got the Finns away to a good start, and then skipper Jonathan Scamans (47 not out) and Shabir Sheerzad (32 not out) shared an unbroken stand of 86 for the third wicket which saw their side home with 16 balls to spare. Syed Hussain was the only wicket-taker for Cyprus with two for 24.
Spain took the honours in their opening Group B match against promoted side Sweden in Ghent, who nevertheless made a promising debut at this level.
An unbeaten 54 by captain Piyal Rahman enabled Sweden to reach 141 for five after Bilal Zaigham and Sunny Sharma had put on an opening stand of 40, but Farhat Mahmood removed both openers and then added the scalp of Aman Khalil to finish with three for 25.
Hassan Zaigham then struck a couple of early blows when Spain replied, but a superb 44-ball 70 from James Morgan swung the game Spainís way. By the time he was fifth man out only five were needed for victory, and the Spanish, too, had 16 balls to spare as they reached their target without further loss.
In the other Group B match, in Mechelen, the Hellas batsmen, given first use of the crease, set a cracking pace despite losing Andreas Koutsoufis to the first ball of the match, with Georgios Stogiannos hitting six fours in a 23-ball innings of 36.
Iordanis Kontarinis chipped in with 21 from just nine deliveries, including a big straight six, and the innings closed on 98 for six. Mike Caruana was the pick of the Maltese bowlers with two for 7, and Ronnie Sacco also claimed two wickets.
Malta made a steady start in reply, but in the third over three wickets fell in the space of four deliveries, two of them for George Toulantas and the third a run-out, and the side never really recovered from these reverses.