Bulgaria shock champions Estonia in final game
Bulgaria demonstrated that their batsmen’s strong showing against Slovenia in the morning match was no fluke then they successfully chased down an Estonian total of 161 for five and caused the shock of the tournament by claiming an eight-wicket victory over the Division 3 champions in the final game.
Their splendid effort was built on a century opening stand between Matthew Stewart and Danail Trenev, who put on 112 in 13-and-a-half overs to set their side on course for their first win of the week.
Stewart, who hobbled through his innings as he had through much of the earlier one, posted his second half-century of the day, hitting nine fours and two sixes in a 45-ball 66 before he skied a attempt at another boundary and was caught by Murali Obili, who ran the length of the pitch to take the catch.
Obili struck again by bowling Prakash Mishra, but not before he and Trenev had added another 24 and put Bulgaria within sight of victory. Then Lyubomir Zanev joined Trenev, and with his side now needing little more than a run a ball immediately showed his intentions by stroking the first ball he received to the boundary.
Trenev reached a well-deserved half-century with his first six in the following over, and then took a single to level the scores with an over remaining. He hit the first delivery to the boundary to complete the win, finishing on 59 from 54 balls with five fours and that six.
It had been a dramatic reversal, which had begun when Bulgaria, unrecognisable from the side which had been put to the sword by the Slovenian batsmen a few hours earlier, shocked their hosts by reducing them to 30 for four in 8.3 overs.
Estonian captain Tim Heath had shuffled his batting order, but the experiment was in danger of coming unstuck when Ivaylo Katzarski and Prakash Mishra claimed two wickets apiece, and it was left to the skipper himself, coming in at six, to turn the innings around in partnership with opener Karl Peter van Buuren.
He did so with a vengeance, belting the highest individual score of the tournament – 88 not out from 43 deliveries with seven fours and seven sixes – while Van Buuren made a 41-ball 45. The pair added 91 for the fifth wicket, but that imposing figure was to be eclipsed by the stand between Stewart and Trenev in the Bulgarian reply.
The final day saw 689 runs scored for the loss of just twelve wickets as the batsmen finally came into their own, providing a rousing climax to three days of spirited cricket.