|European Division 3 Championship: Tallinn (Estonia), June 2012|
Slovenia beat Bulgaria to claim second place
Slovenia proved too strong for Bulgaria in their final game of the Division 3 tournament at the Tallinn Hipodroom, posting the highest total of the competition with 197 for three and then holding out against a spirited reply by the Bulgarian top order to win by 36 runs.
Setting a pattern of domination by the batsmen which continued throughout the day, the Slovenian openers Lalantha Karunatilake and Mark Oman put on 60 from 53 deliveries before the former skied a return catch which was well taken by Ivaylo Katzarski. He had made 36 from 38 deliveries with seven fours.
His departure set the scene for an extraordinary onslaught from Chris Bishop who, having been given a life before he had scored, smashed a brutal 20-ball 58. His innings included five fours and six sixes, four of the latter of consecutive deliveries.
With Oman content to give him the strike with a series of singles, Bishop helped his captain to add 91 for the second wicket from just 51 deliveries, and the Bulgarian out-cricket disintegrated under the pressure: catches went down, there were misfields and overthrows, and the bowlers delivered numerous wides.
Nor did the dismissal of Bishop, finally bowled by Prakash Mishra, and the run-out soon afterwards of Primož Pustoslemšek, bring the Bulgarians much relief, as Oman was joined by Matthew Charlesworth, who contributed 31 from 17 balls, including three fours in the final over, to push the total close to 200. Oman batted throughout for an unbeaten 33, including two boundaries.
It was a daunting target, but while Bulgaria were never seriously likely to achieve it, their batsmen gave a determined reply.
Matthew Stewart led the way with an undefeated 61, made from 51 balls with five fours and a six, and he was given solid support by Mishra (28) and by Stuart Clarkson, the latter helping him to add 89 in an unbroken third wicket stand.
It was a third defeat in a row for Bulgaria, but in only losing two wickets and reaching their highest total in an ICC T20 tournament they showed that they were capable of better than their results so far, and their somewhat chaotic performance in the field, had suggested.