After the two convincing opening wins, Belgium needed only one to take the trophy home. However, the team goes for a win in every match and demonstrated its superb form on the final day.
A dominant Belgium team picked up where they left off against the Czech Republic on the very last day of the tournament. The match went in the same way as the day before, with the Belgians dominating it from start to finish. The Czechs simply couldn’t keep up with Wahidullah Usmani and Shaheryar Butt, who didn’t play long sessions at all.
This time, Usmani was on form. The Belgians posted 161/6 early on and the Czech reply didn’t go how they planned. Play was suspended for a short time due to the Czech captain Ed Knowles fracturing his thumb because of a sharp bouncer from Said.
It didn’t make a difference in the end. Belgium won by 87 runs and claimed the trophy with one match to go.
Belgium afternoon match against Luxembourg started by them winning the toss. After losing an early wicket, Belgium consolidated thanks to Usmani, Butt, and Zakhil who scored 38, 28, and 44 respectively. In the end, Belgium won by 49 runs, claiming the trophy in style.
Despite coming into the tournament ranked lower than both Luxembour and the Czech Republic, Belgium dominated the matches from start to finish. Captain Shaheryar Butt led the tournament with 236 runs in front of Honey Gori with 106.
Ashiqullah Said and Marcus Cope both had 7 wickets for their nations. Coach Corey Rutgers congratulated hosts Luxembourg on this great idea and stated that his team needed this tournament to build up fitness and stay in shape.
As soon as the T20I Trophy was announced, Belgium was the obvious favorite. With the previous Luxembourg vs. Czech Republic series ending even, Belgium was in line for 4 matches.
The first match against Luxembourg in the morning on day 2 of the tournament didn’t exactly start according to plan. Belgium opened the match poorly, losing both openers inside 4 overs. Mamoon Latif stepped in to help with 25, but went out the halfway mark.
Belgium can thank captain Shaheryar Butt for his performance. At 20 overs, Belgium closed at 165/8. It was clear that Luxembourgh is in trouble when Browne was dismissed by Ashiqullah Said in the second over. Said also saw off James Barker later. The hosts were 24/3 at that point and well on their way to victory.
Luxemboug didn’t wave the white flag right away, but not much changed. Belgium dominated the match and claimed the first win in the new T20I tournament.
The final match of the day saw Belgium take on the Czech Republic. Belgium won the toss and early exchanges between the teams reflected those of the previous games. Belgium were under pressure thanks to Honey Gori’s amazing form early in the match. However, captain Butt once again came to the rescue, demolishing the Czechs with 125 on 50 balls and 11 fours and 9 sixes.
Captain Butt went on a spree and finished with 206 runs unbeaten. The Czech Republic fought hard but it was clear that Butt’s heroics were too much to handle. Belgium eventually claimed its second win (back-to-back) and sat atop the table with two more games on the last day.
After the first day defeat against Luxembourg, the Czech Republic defeated Luxembourg by 5 wickets in the morning game on the second day. Luxembourg’s team was unchanged from the first match, yet it couldn’t replicate the form in the opening exchanges.
The Czech Republic opened the match better, with Kyle Gilham and Honey Gori on form. Luxembourg made a run a bit later thanks to captain Joost Mees, but it was canceled after Kushalkumar Mendon found 3 wickets in the 10th over.
Luxembourg fought well in the middle overs, but regular wickets would set them back any time they get close. Naveed Ahmed put the final nail in the coffin with a 3 wicket late in the match.
Pankaj Malav dismissed the on-form Gori in the 5th over, but until then, the Czechs were already at 40 runs. There was never really any pressure after that, with the Czech Republic successfully cancelling any Luxembourg run. In the end, the Czechs won with 7 balls to spare, dismissing the first round defeat to the hands of the same opponent.
Hosts Luxembourg have successfully started the recently announced Twenty20 International cricket tournament against the Czech Republic. The match was held at an empty Pierre Werner Cricket Ground in Walferdange due to WHO recommendations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The three team tournament kicked off on August 28. It was announced in June and marked the first fixtures between Associate nation since the COVID-19 outbreak. It certainly started in style for the hosts who beat the favoured Czech Republic by 63 runs.
Luxembourg was led by the brilliant Joost Mees. The captain had an amazing batting performance with a 40-run that helped his team post 164 runs. Honey Gori was the best player on the other side of the field. He came close to Mees with a 38-run, but it wasn’t enough to lead his country to a victory.
Luxembourg have played their final two matches at the ICC European Division 4 Championship held over the course of the last week, losing heavily to both Switzerland and Cyprus, but finishing fourth and, thanks to their two early victories, improving on their performance at the same competition in Belgium three years ago. Saturday's penultimate match saw Luxembourg fail to fire facing hosts eventual champions, Cyprus, as they were bowled out for 111 batting first, with only Romesh Paul (34) providing any lengthy resistance, and Cyprus had no trouble chasing down their target, doing so in 23 overs for the loss of just one wicket, opener Wickramathanthrigie finishing unbeaten on 52.
The team fared little better in today's final match against Switzerland. Again winning the toss and electing to bat, skipper William Heath (43) watched as the team collapsed around him, sinking to a tournament low of 88 all-out. Luxembourg's bowlers gave a good final account of themselves, managing to take six wickets before the inevitable Swiss victory came in the 15th over, and Nishith Gandhi's three wickets sealed an excellent tournament for the Luxembourgish bowler. He finished as the tournament's top wicket taker with 15 wickets at an average of 9.47 from his five games. The Luxembourg squad will also be proud to have been presented with the Spirit of Cricket Award by the Tournament Director, John Stock.
Luxembourg continued their good performances in Cyprus on Thursday with a comfortable four wicket win over Finland. Finland elected to bat and a solid 52-run opening partnership from brothers Michael and Christopher Shaw gave them a good foundation, but wickets fell steadily and Finland found themselves on 120-7. Despite this a further 54-run partnership between batsmen number eight and nine gave Finland the defendable total of 184. Runs from Anand Pattabiraman (33), Philip Burleigh (25), Nishith Gandhi (37) and an unbeaten half-century for Tony Whiteman (58*) gave Luxembourg the victory, easing home with just over one over to spare. Match report and Scorecard from the ICC.
Luxembourg's second match of the ICC European Division 4 Championship in Cyprus ended in defeat by just 1 wicket against Austria. Having won the toss, Luxembourg elected to bat and were restricted to 142 off 49.2 overs, a total that looked to be below-par given Austria's 264-run total yesterday. However, an electrifying opening spell from Richard Neale and Nishith Gandhi saw Austria tumble to 7-4 after five overs, Gandhi adding the four wickets to his haul the previous day and Neale keeping the other end excruciatingly tight. Keeping the pressure high, Luxembourg might have been hopeful of pulling off an emphatic victory as the fall of Austria's seventh wicket came with only 41 on the board, still more than a hundred behind. Unfortunately they had not reckoned with Austrian numbers eight and nine, Amar Naeem (45) and Satish Kaul (41), whose 89-run partnership brought them tantalisingly close to victory. Nevertheless, as the number eleven batsman came to the crease and nervously faced-out a maiden over, the game hung in the balance. However, it was not to be and Austria scrambled over the finish line victors by one wicket. On the day when Cyprus posted the huge total of 360-4, it seems the Championship is hotting up. Match report and Scorecard from the ICC.
Luxembourg claimed victory in their first match of the ICC European Division 4 Championship against Slovenia. Winning the toss and electing to bat first, Luxembourg were all-out for 225 after 48.3 overs, with impressive performances from Tim Andrews (52), Romesh Paul (37) and Tony Whiteman (36). In response Slovenia managed only 126, Nishith Gandhi's 4-19 helping give Luxembourg an excellent start to the week-long tournament. Scorecard, Photos and Match Report at the ICC.
On Monday 7th September a 13-man Luxembourg squad will fly out to Cyprus to compete in the ICC European Division 4 Championship against Austria, Cyprus, Finland, Slovenia and Switzerland. Proceedings will get under way the very next day against Slovenia as the squad begins the potentially grueling series of five 50-over games in 6 days. Managed by former ECC tournament umpire and long-serving umpire co-ordinator for Belgium and Luxembourg, Bryan Rouse, the squad, which balances youth with experience, hopes to improve on their performance in the previous Division 4 tournament in Belgium in 2006.
Updates will appear here periodically, and tournament information and rolling coverage will be available on the ICC's dedicated tournament page.
Squad Members: William Heath (captain), Timothy Andrews, Philip Burleigh, Wayne Codd, Graham Cope, Mark Fitzgerald, Brian Field, Nishith Gandhi, Piran Merkl, Richard Neale, Anand Pattabiraman, Romesh Paul, Tony Whiteman.
Scorer: Mick Swithinbank.
Manager: Bryan Rouse.