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Hosts Win Pepsi Cup!

Cricket teams from England, India, Italy and Switzerland gathered in Prague for the inaugural Pepsi Cup event from 12-14 September, with the host team lifting the trophy after a series of strong performances.

All tournament scorecards can be found at CricHQ, and photos can be found on Facebook.

The Czech XI beat Clapham in Cricket Club by seven wickets in the final, easing to a comfortable victory on the back of impressive displays from Man of the Match Sudesh Wickremasinghe and the tournament's Best Batsman, Hilal Ahmad.

Both players claimed two wickets apiece as CiCC batted first, scoring 112-9 from their 20 overs. Wickremasinghe conceded only four runs from his 24 balls to keep the tourists in check.

Leg-spinner Martin Glew also picked up two wickets to add to his collection, having taken eight wickets on Saturday on the way to earning the tournament's Best Bowler award. Both he and Ahmad received awards personally signed by Mahela Jayawardene, the legendary Sri Lankan batsman who retired from Test cricket this year after a glittering career in which he scored 11,814 runs, the seventh-highest total in history.

Czech XI captain Chris Pearce was given the tournament's Best Fielder award, and Riaan Ferreira of CiCC scored an unbeaten 44 in the final to confirm his status as the tournament's Most Valuable Player, having displayed his skills with both bat and ball throughout the competition.

But CiCC's total of 112 proved not to be enough, as Ahmad showed his intent by hitting the first two balls of the Czech XI's innings for boundaries. Ahmad scored 43 of the first 47 runs himself, and Wickremasinghe and Prakash Sadasivan continued the good work to see the Czech XI home.

CiCC's friendly manner and spirit throughout the tournament saw them take home the Fair Play Award, which was decided upon by the four ICC-qualified umpires who officiated the tournament - Alex Mackay and Paul Cawsey of Switzerland, and Andrew Scott and Peter de Boeck of Belgium.

The tournament survived awful weather on Friday and Sunday as participants took shelter to escape the showers. Despite the inclement conditions, the atmosphere remained upbeat, with players and officials enjoying the quality catering provided by Eventrend.

The showers eventually cleared on Friday to allow the Kerala Veterans Cricket Association to get the tournament underway with a dramatic victory over Italy's Stone Tower Cricket Club. Krishna Prasad was the hero for KVCA, taking wickets off the final two balls of the game to squeeze out a one-run victory for the visitors from India.

Despite Naidu Gajanand's 37 in the afternoon game, KVCA could not contain England's Romany Cricket Club, who romped to a 10-wicket victory with assistance from Czech national team player Scott Page, who top-scored with 33 not out.

In the other preliminary group, the Czech XI set an early tone for the competition by chasing down Geneva Sri Lankan Cricket Club's total in style. Dugal Janz top-scored for GSLCC with 44 as they scored a competitive 92 from their 10 overs, but Ahmad combined with his regular opening partner for the Czech national team, Sudhir Gladson, to score 74 for the first wicket. Ahmad finished with an unbeaten 42 from 24 balls.

Saturday provided the best weather of the weekend, with six matches being completed in total. Romany CC ensured top spot in Group A by beating Stone Tower CC by five wickets, led by three wickets for Charles Smith and Gaurav Dhaul's 44 runs.

Meanwhile in Group B, GSLCC's captain Janz again led the way for his team with 43, but Jan Hendrick Roussow grabbed three wickets before battering his way to 63 off 32 balls in a superb all-round display which ensured victory for CiCC.

Sadasivan (50), Ahmad (41), Wickremasinghe (39) and Pearce (41) combined to make the second game of the day miserable for CiCC though, mercilessly smashing their way to an impressive total of 206-7 before bowling the visitors out for 98, with Glew taking 3-17.

The Czech XI brushed aside KVCA in the first semi-final, winning by 114 runs as the visitors could not cope with accurate bowling from Glew (5-13) and Ahmad (4-14).

In the second semi-final, Ferreira's unbeaten 51 helped CiCC to post 149-5. And he followed up with three wickets as Romany CC's reply fell short on 126, despite good innings from Dhaul (42) and Shailendra Singh (37).

Players, spectators and officials came away from the weekend impressed with the quality of the facilities available in Prague, as well as the standard of the host team. A firm platform has been established, and everyone within the Czech Cricket community looks forward to expanding such tournaments over the coming years.

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