The penultimate week of international t10 cricket was the last opportunity for 5 teams to get through to the all important Championship Week. However, it will be Italy who will take that fifth and final spot and will return in just a couple of days time for the final week of the European Cricket Championship 2022.
Once again there was one team that wasn't able to make it through to the final day of group D. This time around it was Romania who would miss out on finals day action as they were only able to take one victory away from this week's t10 cricket. Romania have and will always be fan favorites on the European Cricket Network and with two players born in 2006 and 2007 already playing in the senior team, the future is certainly bright for Romania with Marian Gherasim and Luca Petre proving to be the future of Romanian cricket.
With the round robin matches over, it was confirmed that Italy and Norway would be the teams with the double chance to get to the final of group D. In a week where low scores seemed to be the trend, it was no surprise to see Norway set 86 for victory, finishing on 85/7 after their 10 overs. The Italians didn’t get off to the best start and were consistently losing wickets however, it just wasn't enough runs on the board as they ticked off the final runs with 3 wickets in hand. Italy were in the final.
In the eliminator, it was Germany taking on Switzerland. Switzerland had really come into their own this tournament, surprising almost everyone whilst Germany had been a little off the pace and were only able to take 2 wins from their 8 round robin matches. Germany winning the toss and bowling first meant that Switzerland were put into bat, and set 100 exactly for victory. Germany were going at the rate right up until the final over. It was 17 runs needed off the final over, A. Vaseekaran was on strike and struck two devastating sixes to start the over and then clipped a four into the legside to keep Germany alive. Switzerland were out.
The Swiss were able to surprise many viewers around the nation throughout the week. Being sat at 57 in the ICC World T20 rankings, many were expecting Switzerland to be the team that wouldn’t make it through to finals day, however much to the enjoyment of all Swiss fans, players such as Asad Mahmoood and Kernado Fletcher were on top form and were crucial in the Swiss’ success. Mahmood top scored with 192 runs with a high score of 55, averaging 32 and 13 maximums to his name. Fletcher proved to be successful with his left arm quick bowling, taking 12 wickets and an average of just 15. There were many positives for Switzerland to take from this week and there is no doubt that they will be climbing those rankings in no time.
Qualifier 2 proved to be a very interesting match up, as Norway would take on Germany for the last spot in the final. Norway got the first victory as they won the toss and elected to bat. Opting for the ‘runs on the board’ method, Norway were able to post 102 AO from their 10 overs. Germany were able to pull themselves out of a run of bad form and get things going on finals day as Shoaib Khan was able to hit 49(15) to guide Germany to the final. Defeating the Norwegians by 7 wickets.
Norway will be disappointed not to have made it to the final haven been given two opportunities to do so. It has been a topsy turny year for Norway with victories over Guernsey and Spain earlier in the year however, they will feel that not making the final of their group is a big miss. It was no shock to anyone to see Raza Iqpal at the top of the runs with 247 runs to his name, with 126 of those runs coming in maximos. Iqbal also starred with the ball, taking 14 wickets at a seriously impressive average of 9.35.
With Germany causing a slight upset in the second qualifier, it set up the final for group D, Germany taking on Italy. This time Italy opted to bat first and they were able to post a par score of 114/8 off 10 overs. Baljit Singh and Umar Gujjar with a crucial partnership scoring 30(14) and 29(14) respectively. Runs on the board seemed too intimidating for Germany as an excellent spell of bowling from Jagmeet Singh ripped through the middle order as the German fell to 49 AO in the 10th over. Italy will go through to finals week in just a couple of days time.
Having struggled all week with form, Germany will be proud to have got all the way to the final. Coming up against a very strong Italian squad, they were always going to be the underdogs and unfortunately the upset just wasn't meant to be. Walter Behr is a serious success story for Germany this year. Having performed with bat and ball in an international tri-series earlier this year, he earned the role of captain for the ECC and led his nation in an incredible manner. He was also able to take 10 wickets with him alongside that so he will be more than happy with his personal performance.
It is Italy who will take the final spot at the Dream 11 European Cricket Championship Finals Week. The first ball will be bowled at 9:30 GMT, 11:30 CEST and 15:00 IST on the 10th of October.