The European Region Qualifiers for the T20 World Cup concluded last weekend with Jersey claiming the highly sort after prize of joining the final qualifying tournament in the UAE later this year in the most dramatic of circumstances.
In what was more than just a great result for the emerging game cricket but for international cricket itself the result came down to the final afternoon of the tournament with results on the last two days all creating a ripple effect to create a quasi-final despite it being a single round robin event. Jersey defeated joint ladder leaders Italy on what became the penultimate day of play, meaning that a win, any win over Germany would assure Charles Perchard’s team qualification to the next round. Germany, with back-to-back games on the final day – a reserve day after inclement weather during the event had cancelled an entire day’s play – needed to win both games handsomely to topple Jersey, whilst Italy was also a chance if results went their way.
On the final matchday, Germany made light work of Norway in their first match of the day chasing Norway’s total of 99 in 11.1 overs boosting their net run rate in the process. Despite the convincing victory against Norway, wher Germany should have completed the chase about an over faster, the task at hand was a daunting one for for the Germans. Germany had to not only defeat the unbeaten Jersey side but chase their total within 14 overs to qualify. Germany was set 134 for victory, with the Germans falling agonisingly short making the total in 14.2 overs. The win extraordinarily left the Germans 0.05% short of Jersey on net run rate meaning the Island nation won the competition and in turn the elusive qualification spot. An astonishing result given the five days of previous match play being decided by such a minuscule margin.
The competition regardless of the sole qualification spot showed the quality of the European nations. Germany, Italy and Jersey shared wins among themselves as they stood out as the teams to beat. Denmark and Guernsey were both competitive in matches with Denmark beating the more fancied Italy on the final day. Norway went winless and will take the competition as a building block in their development as a cricketing nation, with their young Oslo born and raised seamer Junaid Sheikh impressing.
We have crunched the stats and brought together a team of the tournament.
1. Craig Meschede (Germany)
179 runs, 44 average. 6 wickets, 5.75 economy
It was no surprise Germany’s Craig Meschede led the run-scoring totals through the competition. Meschede’s 179 runs came at an average of 44 going at an impressive clip of 155 strike rate while also picking up six wickets in the competition. His county experience at the top of the order for the Germans made him an asset to a German side who lost both Dieter Klein and Ollie Rayner prior to the tournament.
2. Joy Perera (Italy)
120 runs, 30 average
The vibrant opening batsmen was highlighted as being a key to the Italian campaign and he delivered upon that. Prior to the qualifiers Perera lit up Germany in their warm-up series scoring 67 and 21 and continued the form into the tournament setting the pace for Italy’s first three wins of the tournament, we’ve also given him the gloves.
3. Josh Butler (Guernsey)
140 runs, 35 average
Despite Guernsey’s performance at the tournament Butler starred for Guernsey sitting third for run scoring at the championships. His performance of the tournament came in the opening day with an unbeaten 65 against Jersey.
4. Jonty Jenner (Jersey)
164 runs, 41 average
Jenner put aside a forgettable T20 series against Guernsey where he registered scores of 2,3 and 5 to lead Jerseys campaign with the bat. Jenner scored 164 runs at an average of 41 in the competition. His 71 against Italy in what was a banana skin game for Jersey really put emphasis on how impressive tournament Jenner had to finish second for runs scored.
5. Hamid Shah (Denmark)
116 runs, 19 average. 5 wickets, 9.37 Economy
Shah was earmarked as the man for the Danes going into the tournament and provided a steadying influence at the top of the order. 40 in the opening game against Norway to get their tournament underway with a win was important for Denmark.
6. Ben Stevens (Jersey)
104 runs, 26 average. 3 Wickets, 4.33 Economy
Mr Reliable for Jersey was again at his consistent best. Despite not being utilised with the ball as much through the tournament only picking up three wickets. Stevens registered 104 runs in the competition at an impressive average of 26 showing his importance to the Jersey cause. Look for him to have a massive tournament at the qualifiers in October.
7. Nicolaj Laegsgaard (Denmark)
101 runs, 20 average. 8 wickets, 4.88 economy
Laegsgaard impressed for the Danes notching the 100-run mark whilst also picking up eight wickets in the tournament. At the top of the order, Laegsgaard and Shah were the go-to guys for the Danes and both did not disappoint.
8. Anthony Hawkins-Kay (Jersey)
10 wickets, 5.88 Economy. 38 runs, 19 average
Hawkins-Kay led the wicket-taking at the competition, the pace bowler taking ten wickets across the five games. In what is a young Jersey team, Hawkins-Kay played a vital role with the ball in Jerseys successful campaign.
9. Izatullah Dawlatzai (Germany)
8 Wickets, 4.88 Economy
Izatullah Dawlatzai delivered on his match-winning reputation taking eight wickets in the competition at just under 5 an over economy. He led the German bowling attack that looked to the pace bowler to lead the attack with no Klein or Rayner in the side.
10. Luke Le Tissier (Guernsey)
9 Wickets, 5.88 Economy
The spinner carried some form into the competition and didn’t disappoint for Guernsey. Le Tissier finished third in the wicket-taking column for the competition and he will continue to be an important player for the Guernsey side for years to come at only 22.
11.Baljit Singh (Italy)
10 Wickets, 4.94 Economy
Singh finished top wicket-taker alongside Hawkins-Kay and played a vital role in the Italians success in the competition. With his 3/19 against fellow heavyweights Germany setting the tone for a big win for the Azzurri early in the competition.
For winners Jersey, thoughts now turn to the World Cup Qualifying finals in the United Arab Emirates in October where they will face off against fellow regional qualifiers like Papua New Guinea, Namibia and Kenya as well as automatic qualification teams like Zimbabwe and Scotland to qualify for the T20 World Cup in Australia in 2020.
For the T20 World Cup qualification roadshow, the next stop is cricket heartland Asia in late July. Where once again one qualification spot will be up for grabs between Nepal, Qatar, Singapore, Malaysia and Kuwait. Emerging Cricket will be covering the tournament comprehensively in the lead up to the major qualification tournament in the UAE later this year.
(Photos: Martin Gray / Guernsey Sport Photography)