Skanderborg win Elite Division in Net Run Rate Thriller

In a thrilling final day of Danish Elite Division action, Skanderborg scraped through to take the title on net run rate. Here's how they stole the trophy.

Skanderborg Cricket Club has claimed the Danish Elite Division title after a dramatic final day.

Despite starting the day third and outsiders for the championship, a big win, coupled with a slip up from their rivals, allowed Skanderborg to steal the title.

Ahead of Sunday’s final round, Kjøbenhavns Boldklub (KB) led the standings, being unbeaten in 5 games. Svanholm were placed in second, with 4 wins from 5, along with Skanderborg, who trailed on net run rate. KB held a net run rate advantage over both their rival clubs

The final day fixtures saw leaders KB host Svanholm. A win or tie would be enough for KB to take the title. Svanholm would need to beat their rivals comfortably to overcome their net run rate deficit, though for outsiders Skanderborg, they required Svanholm to beat KB, and beat Herning by a large enough margin to overtake both on NRR.

In Copenhagen, visitors Svanholm won the toss and elected to field. Bolstered by several Danish internationals in their line-up, including Mads Henrisken and Hamid Shah, Svanholm got off to a brilliant start. They ran through the KB batting line-up early on, reducing the league leaders to 41-4 in 15 overs.

Aftab Ahmed was able to offer resistance, but scoring was slow. When he was out to Hamid Shah for 22, the hosts had slumped 84-8 in the 30th over. Three wickets for Shah, and three for Mads Henriksen would see KB all out for 114.

The stage was set, and Svanholm would need to chase 115 in 34 overs to overhaul KB into first. Hamid Shah and Jonas Henriksen would get them off to a positive start, accumulating 33 in the first 8 overs. From there, the KB bowlers took charge, taking wickets and restricting the run rate. After 25 overs, Svanholm had slipped to 73-5, needing 42 in 9 overs to keep their title hopes alive.

Wickets would keep falling, and in the 33rd over, Svanholm were 105-9, needing 9 in 9 balls to claim the upper hand, KB needing 1 wicket to claim the title outright. The runs did not come in time, but neither did the wicket, Svanholm eventually getting over the line in the 39th over. KB had edged out Svanholm, but only just.

With all this going on, it was easy to forget there was a third player in this race. At Herning, in central Denmark, the hosts won the toss and put Skanderborg into bat. The visitors lost a wicket in the 2nd over, but rebuilt rapidly, thanks to Danish international Nicolaj Damgaard’s 75 off 40 balls. Backed up by Kamran Mahmood’s 84 ball century, and Skanderborg were able to post 308 all out.

To claim the Elite Division, Skanderborg still needed a massive win, though they wouldn’t know the exact target – they would need to win by at least 200 runs to claim the title.

They got off to the perfect start, Oliver Hald taking 2 wickets in the first over. Hald would pick up two more wickets in his spell, leaving Herning 29-5 in the 15th over. Ihyas Saumy would offer resistance, making 35, but was the only batsman to reach double figures for the hosts. The Herning innings would close at 64 all out.

With Skanderborg finishing their game first, it would come down to the timing of KB’s defence, and some maths, to decide the title. With Svanholm completing the chase 39th over, it would prove two overs too early for KB. Skanderborg were announced Elite Divison champions by 0.024 on net run rate, the equivalent of 7 runs, or 10 balls. KB would finish second, with Svanholm third.

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