Luxembourg win the first match of T20I series

Isaac Lockett reports on the first match of the Tri-serries between Luxembourg, Belgium and the Czech Republic where the hosts' captain Joost Mees scored 40 from 24 balls to help his team post a 164 for 7 in the first T20 International to be hosted in the country

Luxembourg men's team in Romania

Men’s T20 Tri-Series Match 1: Luxembourg 164/7 (Mees 40, Barker 39, Gilhan 1-18) defeated Czech Republic 89/9 (Gori 38, Nanda 3-21) by 63 runs (DLS – Target 153 from 16.5 overs)

Luxembourg won the first T20I against the Czech Republic during the first match of the Tri-series between the two nations and Belgium, which is being hosted in Luxembourg. The game took place at the picturesque Pierre Werner Cricket Ground with fans watching on the live stream all set to watch Luxembourg bat after the home nation won the toss and elected to bat. 

James Barker and debutant Scott Browne opened the batting for Luxembourg and got the team off to a fantastic start. The opening partnership of 35, which came off 4.2 overs, really helped to set the tone for the hosts. Sudesh Wickramasekara overstepped in the fifth over, and Barker was unable to get the free hit away, mistiming an attempted pull shot the ball only squeezed out onto the off side of the pitch after collecting bat and body of the left hander. Browne, however, had shot off from the non-striker’s end and was rightly sent back by Barker. In the meantime, Wickramasekara ran the few paces to his right to collect the ball with his favoured right hand and quickly pivoted anti-clockwise to calmy underarm at the stumps, where a scrambling Browne was found short.

Brown’s innings really helped to set the tone for the Luxembourg innings and considering this was his debut it was an innings that shows real potential. Joost Mees, the Luxembourg captain, came to the crease following the fall of the first wicket and ensured that the team did not lose momentum. Barker and Mees quickly set to work in ensuring that the team set a competitive total for their opponents to chase. Barker took the role of anchoring the innings allowing the free-scoring Mees to continue to find the boundary. The skipper scored a quickfire 40 off 24 balls, in an innings that consisted of eight boundaries, before he edged a ball to wicket-keeper Edward Knowles off the bowling of Kushalkumar Mendon as he looked to heave the ball over the infield.

The innings continued to develop when number four batsman, Vikram Vijh, came to the crease but the partnership between Barker and Vijh was short-lived as the Czechs were able to pick up another wicket. This time Barker departed for a well made 39 as Wickramasekara bowled a temping delivery outside the off-stump which Barker’s fend only managed to edge behind to keeper Knowles. Momentum then swang towards the Czech side, with the bowling line-up then being able to pick up wickets whilst being able to restrict the run rate. Kyle Gilham picked up the fantastic figures of 1-18 from his 4 overs with Arun Ashokan (1-12) and Naveed Ahmed (1-32) also having impressive games with ball in hand. Despite a decent fightback from the Czech bowlers, Tony Whiteman was able to rotate the strike and run hard between the wickets to finish on 20* and helped the Luxembourg team finish on 164/7 from their allotted 20 overs.

With the Czech team needing 165 to win, openers Honey Gori and Sumit Pokhriyal (2) came to the crease. The Luxembourg team made an early breakthrough with Ankush Nanda claiming the early wicket of Pokhriyal with Meest taking the catch at mid on from a mistimed heave to the leg side. The Czech team were then able to build some momentum through a partnership of Gori and Sabawoon Davizi. The pair were able to build a partnership of 51 before Gori also played a shot that was intended to clear the ropes on the legside, which only looped to Saransh Kushretha at mid wicket which saw the right hander depart for 38 in the 8th over.

Marcu Cope Luxembourg
Marcus Cope took three wickets for Luxembourg (Photo: LCF)

Unfortunately, a mixture of the rain and some tight bowling from the Luxumbourg team meant that the Czech team lost their grip on the game. Dominant bowling performances from Nanda (3-21), Kushretha (0-8), Malav (2-10), Vijh (1-12) and Marcus Cope (3-16) saw all five go for under a run a ball. Eventually, the Czech team finished on 89/9 after a rain-reduced allocation of 16.5 meaning that Luxembourg won by 63 runs by the Duckworth Lewis Stern method. 

Tomorrow sees the next round of fixtures with three games being played. The early morning fixture sees a repeat of the opening match with the Czech Republic coming up against Luxembourg. Then Belgium makes their entrance as they come up against Luxembourg before closing out their double header against the Czech Republic in the last game of the day.

All matches will be stream via the LCF’s new YouTube channel.

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