After a thrilling first 24 matches in the 2022 edition of the European Cricket Championship, week one came to an exciting climax as Spain are the first confirmed nation to join the England XI in Championship Week, starting on the 10th of October.
Four out of five nations from group A went into finals Friday with their eyes on the first spot in Championship week, with the Czech Republic the only team not participating as their fate was sealed the day before with their final game ending in a loss against Austria in match 18.
Although there were some inspired performances throughout the week from the likes of Sabawoon Davizi and Abul Shohas Farhad, it wasn’t meant to be for the Czechs as they went winless over the entire week and just weren’t able to get out of first gear. However, they will forever be remembered as one of the participating teams in the first match of the ECC to be played under lights.
It was a mixture of emotions for the likes of Portugal and Austria. A combination of fortunes not being in their favor at key moments alongside the general ups and downs of cricket which led to Portugal and Austria bowing out at the final hurdles before the all important final.
It was Austria who got the better of Portugal in the eliminator as they simply batted Portugal out of the game in the first innings setting 152 for victory, which ended up being 38 runs too many for the Portuguese. Portugal will be able to take positives away from the week's action as young Francoise Stoman had a real breakthrough week with the bat finishing on 205 runs for the week, 138 of those runs coming in the form of maximos and at the young age of just 22, has a bright future ahead of him.
It was eventually Spain who would go onto meet the dangerous Ireland XI in the final as los Toros were just too strong for Austria as Daniel Doyle Calle was able to pull his team through to the eagerly awaited final with more crucial runs from himself, finishing with 40(23). Austria finished just 7 runs short of the target of 92. Daniel Eckstein was a real key element of Austria’s tournament especially at the top of the innings with ball in hand, finishing with 8 wickets for the tournament
The final was set. Spain, the host nation, would take on a young Ireland XI who - at an average age of just 20 - had really taken the world by storm with their aggressive intent and were looking to make it an England vs Ireland match up in Championship week.
It was the Ireland XI who won the toss and captain Jared Wilson elected to bat first and looked to be the wrong call as they fell to 19/3 with top run scorer Seamus Lynch going 6 and out due to Mohammad Kamran taking 2 in 2 in the first over. However, that brought the skipper to the crease who took matters into his own hands and ended up 68*(26) to take Ireland XI to 134/4.
It was a positive start in the chase for Spain as Doyle-Calle got them off to a flier as he finished on 45(14). However, for such a chase, contributions were needed from every batsmen coming to the middle. This was certainly achieved as every batsmen hit at least two boundaries. It was Hamza Saleem Dar who struck the final blow with a 6 down the ground to seal Spain's fate as they will head to Championship Week starting on the 10th of October.
Christian Muños Mills, Spain Captain: “Its massive to be in finals week, to have Spain being represented in Championship Week, going up against the best of the best is a huge honor. But a lot of the credit has to go to the players behind me, everyone has worked so hard to get us to where we are right now, it can only get better.”
Congratulations to the Ireland XI for representing your country to the highest standards. So much so that the leading run scorer for group A was Seamus Lynch.
However, returning in Championship Week as the winners of group A are SPAIN!