A narrow victory over Antwerp kept Ostend Exiles in pole position in Belgium’s National League Division 1 competition on Sunday although with a game in hand Beveren, just seven points behind, remain a serious threat to the Exiles’ championship ambitions.
Abdul Muhammad anchored the early part of the Exiles’ innings despite wickets falling at the other end, his aggressive 72 setting the tone for his side’s total of 172 in just 38.3 overs; once he had gone, a contrastingly steady knock of 39 from Zoheeb Hussain enabled the Ostend team to reach a barely defendable score.
For Antwerp, Raja Saqlain Tasawar and Shafiullah Zakhel did most of the damage, with three for 33 and three for 31 respectively.
Economical bowling from Sohail Chaudhary and Amer Diwan prevented Antwerp’s reply from gaining real momentum, but Usmani Wahidullah kept the visitors in the game with a well-made 50 before Fahad Zadran produced a decisive spell, taking four for 10 in six overs including the wicket of Wahidullah.
28 were still needed when the ninth wicket fell, and although Zakhel and Adnan Rahimi added 22 for the last wicket Antwerp ended just five runs short.
There was an equally tense finish in Antwerp, where Ostend held on to beat 12 Stars by just seven runs in another low-scoring encounter.
Ostend were in deep trouble at 89 for seven before a typically hard-hitting, 25-ball 50 from Abdul Rehman Butt got them to 131, and that proved just about enough as 12 Stars collapsed in their turn; Fahim Bhatti claimed three for 23 and Sidiqi Noorullah three for 17 as the home side were all out for 124.
Weather disrupts the Coppa d’Italia
Rain caused problems for many sides in the weekend’s cup programme in Italy, with ten of the 27 scheduled matches abandoned.
No play at was possible in the double-headers between Brescia and Albano in Group C and between Royal Parma and Kings XI in Group D, although the latter side had managed two victories over Cricket Stars the previous day.
Other double winners were Pak Lions Ghedi, who were too strong for Cantù in Group B, and Napoli, who had two comfortable victories over Lux Roma in Group H.
Bergamo and Cividate shared the points with a DLS result apiece in Group A, Milan Kingsgrove and Torino had one win each in Group B, and the honours were also even between Jinnah Brescia and Lonigo in Group E.
Jinnah went on to claim two more points against Royal Padova before their second match was rained off, and in the same group Padova had to be content with a single win over Venezia, the second game likewise falling victim to the weather.
In Group A Milan United beat Pioltello by 157 runs but saw their second match abandoned, and a similar fate awaited Janjua Brescia, who won their first game, reduced to 17 overs, against Trentino but were unable to start the second.
It was a similar story in Bologna in Group D, where Bologna were just ahead of Pianoro when the match was rained off, no further play being possible, while in Group G Roma beat Capannelle by eight wickets in the only game of the day.
Zurich Nomads win the Pickwick Cup
Rain also brought a premature end to the finals day in Switzerland’s T20 Pickwick Cup, but not before there had been some memorable performances and the Zurich Nomads had secured a winning position in the final.
They had needed to overcome a remarkable individual effort from Power Winterthur’s Abdullah Rana in their semi-final; after taking five for 35 in the Nomads’ total of 206 for seven, Rana smashed a 42-ball 90 when Power replied, hitting six fours and nine sixes, but even that innings could not get his team further than 176 for seven.
Earlier, Faheem Nazir (74) and Asvin Lakkaraju (63) had got the Nomads off to a great start with an opening stand of 103 in 12.3 overs, setting the basis for their side’s winning total.
In a contrasting second semi-final Perumal Jeyakanthu took four for 25 as Olten restricted Cossonay to 133 for eight, and then Ratnarajah Pratheepraj made 52 to enable Olten to reach their target with two wickets in hand and one over to spare.
The Nomads’ Faheem Nazir then completely dominated the final: his 121 came from just 63 balls and included seven fours and ten sixes as his side reached a massive 219 for four, and he went on to take five for 42 in 20 deliveries as, with the weather closing in, Olten scored at over nine an over in an effort to stay ahead of the DLS target.
The wickets, however, were their downfall, and when rain ended proceedings after 8.2 overs they were on 77 for six, 14 runs behind the par score.
Val-d‘Oise squeeze home against Val-de-Marne in France
In France’s 50-over regional competition Val-d’Oise eked out a two-wicket victory over Val-de-Marne at Chantilly on Sunday.
The Val-de-Marne innings was essentially a two-horse affair, Kamalanathan Subaskaran (43) and Gunarasa Rithursan (50) putting on 76 for the third wicket out of a total of 143, while opener Jignesh Kumar top-scored with 33 as Val-d’Oise managed to get home with plenty of overs but only two wickets remaining.
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