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Dramatic win gives Poland the trophy!

Poland walked away with the silverware, taking home the Central Europe Cup after a four-wicket win over Switzerland in the final match.


It meant that the two teams were tied at the top of the table, with Poland victorious due to winning the head-to-head encounter.

Run-rates would have come into the equation and forced Poland to chase down the target of 141 within 18 overs, had the Czech Republic taken victory over Luxembourg.

But the hosts' target of 136 was easily chased down by Luxembourg in an eight-wicket victory, which gave the Polish team extra balls to play with. And they took full advantage, with Man of the Match Toqueer Ahmed smashing the first ball of the last over through midwicket to seal victory.

Ahmed's great spell of 4-12 had helped to restrict Switzerland's strong batting line-up to just 140-9 in their 20 overs. Adnan Ali top-scored for Poland with a composed 47 not out after opener Nabeel Akram had helped to set a good platform with 37 from 26 balls at the start.

The home team entered the final day knowing that a big win was required in order to boost their run rate and potentially lift the trophy, which had been within their reach in a tight match against Switzerland on Saturday afternoon.

Luxembourg were winless after the first two days of the tournament, but they re-focused and bowled well, with the Czechs collapsing from 87-1 to 101-8. Wayne Codd took Man of the Match honours for his 4-27, and Anand Pattabiraman took 3-13.

Openers Richard Neale (33) and Joost Mees (51) scored 69 for the first wicket as Luxembourg eased home, with the Czech team struggling to reach the heights of Saturday.

The Czechs had performed marvellously in their opening two games, coming back strongly to defeat Poland before losing to Switzerland in a rain-affected match.

The home team showed good resilience to come back after a first-ball drop and the score reaching 36-0 off the first three overs. Brigham Smith led a solid effort from the home attack, finishing with 3-13.

Polish captain Tarun Daluja top-scored with a battling 40, but his team were bowled out for 119. Fast bowler Vineet Sinha immediately put the Czech team on the back foot once again though, shattering Hilal Ahmad's stumps with the first ball of the innings and taking two more to leave the hosts reeling on 8-4.

Opener Sudhir Gladson remained, and he was joined by Smith for a 55-run 7th-wicket partnership off just 28 balls which changed the course of the game. Smith twice hit the last ball of an over for six as Poland's confidence slumped.

Sinha was brought back for his last over and took two more wickets to fray Czech nerves, finishing with 5-12 from the match. But Gladson (59 not out) smashed the winning boundary to seal the win and the Man of the Match award.

The home team's exuberance continued in their start to the second game, with Ahmad and Manjeet Malik putting on 101 in nine overs. But they couldn't capitalise, only reaching 177-5 from their 20 overs despite captain Vojta Hasa hitting the last ball for six.

The Swiss reply was well-poised on 99-4 before a short sharp shower came to visit. It looked for a while as if the ground would become waterlogged by the deluge, with the Czechs slightly ahead on Duckworth-Lewis. Fortunately the rain cleared, and the decision was made to play out the full match with a clear sky and plenty of time available.

Alas, the wet ball became difficult to control and the Czech bowling became wayward, with Switzerland able to reach the target in the 19th over, led by captain Afzaal Sikander's 39.

Sikander's side had won the tournament's opening game, with opener Sajid Safiat laying the platform with a blistering knock of 42 off 21 balls as Luxembourg's bowlers toiled.Luxembourg vs Switzerland

Leg-spinner James Barker came on to repair some of the damage, taking 4-28, but Switzerland showed their batting depth throughout the tournament and No. 7 Sahanwaz Muhammad played a great innings, smashing 38 off 22 to boost Switzerland's final total to 179-7.

Mees scored 59, but no other Luxembourg batsman could settle. Safiat picked up 3-32 to take the Man of the Match award.

In the afternoon match, Luxembourg's captain Tony Whiteman combined with Richard Neale to put on 62 for the third wicket. But Sinha's pace destroyed Luxembourg's middle and lower order with a triple-wicket maiden which reduced the team to 107-6.

Young bowler Charlie Ramsden smashed two huge sixes in the last over to life the target up to 139, but Nowshad Babu made light work of the chase, scoring 85 not out off 51 balls to lead his team home. Babu and Akram put on 97 for the first wicket, and the target was reached in the 16th over.

Mees and Babu ended tied for tournament high-scorer, three runs ahead of Ahmad. Mees took home the competition's Best Batsman award for his two half-centuries, and Sinha's two scorching spells saw him claim the Best Bowler award.

The Czech team were presented with the Spirit of Cricket award for wanting to play the full match against Switzerland despite the unfavourable conditions. Captain Hasa made a special mention at the presentation that the award should be shared with the Swiss.

For the first such tournament held at the Czech Republic's new improved pitches, the competition was a great success, aided hugely by the glorious weather - we actually ran out of water, caught by surprise by 25-30 degree sunshine in early September!

There are still many stages to go in our striving for better facilities, but having the pitches available to play good quality international matches on is a great start. We look forward to building on the great relations we've established with Luxembourg, Poland and Switzerland this weekend, and hosting other similar tournaments in the future for those countries trapped outside the ICC divisional structure.


Final standings:
1. Poland (2-1)
2. Switzerland (2-1)
3. Luxembourg (1-2)
4. Czech Republic (1-2)

*Poland and Luxembourg are placed ahead due to winning the head-to-head tiebreaker.


Scores:

Switzerland 179-7 (20 overs; S Safiat 42, S Muhammad 38, J Barker 4-28, A Pattabiraman 2-17)
Luxembourg 143-9 (20 overs; J Mees 59, R Neale 21, T Whiteman 21, S Safiat 3-32, S Muhammad 2-3)
Switzerland won by 36 runs

Luxembourg 138-9 (20 overs; R Neale 38, T Whiteman 35, V Sinha 4-23, T Daluja 2-34)
Poland 139-1 (15.2 overs; M Babu 85*, N Akram 29, R Neale 1-30)
Poland won by nine wickets

Poland 119 all out (18 overs; T Daluja 40, M Babu 19, B Smith 3-13, R Deshmoyni 2-22)
Czech Rep 121-8 (18.1 overs; S Gladson 59*, S Page 18, V Sinha 5-12, M Babu 2-35)
Czech Rep won by two wickets

Czech Rep 177-5 (20 overs; H Ahmad 79, M Malik 34, S Safiat 2-24, S Franklin 2-29)
Switzerland 183-6 (18.2 overs; A Sikander 39, S Franklin 28, R Subash 3-25, B Smith 2-35)
Switzerland won by four wickets

Czech Rep 135 all out (18.3 overs; H Ahmad 40, M Malik 32, W Codd 4-27, A Pattabiraman 3-13)
Luxembourg 138-2 (16 overs; J Mees 51, R Neale 33, B Soucek 1-39)
Luxembourg won by eight wickets

Switzerland 140-9 (20 overs; S Muhammad 30, A Saleem 26, T Ahmed 4-12, M Babu 1-16)
Poland 144-6 (19.1 overs; A Ali 47*, N Akram 37, R Sherrell 2-26, A Sikander 2-27)
Poland won by four wickets
 
 
 
 

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