The European Cricket League is underway in La Manga with day one in the books.
In a first for cricket on the continent, European domestic cricket was streamed and broadcast on televisions in over 100 countries, with favourites VOC Rotterdam taking little time to put the marker down.
After defeating Dreux Cricket Club in the tournament’s first match, the Dutchmen secured a semi-finals spot, defeating Cluj later in the day.
Max O’Dowd brought his form from the Netherlands’ matches against Zimbabwe, making 53 run from 22 balls in game one, with 46 of them made in boundaries. Dutch national team captain Pieter Seelaar also jumped in on the act, finishing with 29 off 17 balls in a comfortable 8-wicket win.
Denmark’s Svanholm, likely to be VOC’s closest rival for the silverware, knocked French champions Dreux out in convincing fashion, taking six and a half overs to chase down 61. Zishan Shah and Mads Henriksen put the result beyond any doubt, with Henriksen in particular playing shots pleasing to the eye.
Group B looks to be more competitive across the group, with JCC Brescia making a statement by chasing down 119 against Catalunya, who had brushed aside St. Petersburg with little fuss earlier in the day. Hassan Ahmad impressed for the Italians, striking 29 off 10 balls to breeze past what looked like a difficult total.
JCC Brescia secured their finals berth by beating SG Findorff, with Muhammad A Jefri adding to his earlier score of 38 with a 17-ball 59. Only three of Jefri’s runs did not come from boundaries, striking eight sixes with an array of shots.
SG Findorff have catching up to do, needing to win both their fixtures on day 2 to have any chance of progressing to the semi-finals.
Day two begins with Cluj taking on Dreux in what looks to be a fight for third in the group.
TEAM BY TEAM GUIDE
Catalunya Cricket Club
Year Established: 2008
How they qualified: Spanish 2018 National T20 Champions
Team colours: navy blue and yellow
Cluj Cricket Club
Year Established: 2009
How they qualified: 2018 National Championship Winners
Team colours: orange and blue
Dreux Cricket Club
Year Established: 1993
How they qualified: 2018 Superligue Winners
Team colours: light blue and yellow
Year Established: 2013
How they qualified: 2018 Coppa Italia winners
Team colours: light and navy blue
Year Established: 2013
How they qualified: 2018 German T20 Champions
Team colours: green and dark blue
Year Established: N/A
How they qualified: 2018 Russian T20 Champions
Team colours: brown and yellow
Svanholm Cricket Club
Year Established: 1956
How they qualified: Danish National Championship 2018
Team colours: red and yellow
Country: The Netherlands
Year Established: 1895
How they qualified: Topklasse Winners 2018
Team colours: red and black