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2012 Swiss national team

The breaking news on Thursday 19th July from Amsterdam was that the Swiss national team beat VRA CC by 46 runs in the Twenty20 opening match. The following day the Swiss national side narrowly lost the 40 over game.

 

Following is a report from Ali Saleem, a member of the 14 man party that made up the Swiss tour party: 

 

The Swiss National team, consisting of a squad of 12 players, went to Amsterdam, Holland on Thursday 19th and Friday 20th of July to compete in a Twenty20 and a forty overs match against the VRA club, which is one of Holland’s top clubs, consisting of several players (current and former) who have represented Holland at the national level in ICC tournaments.

Thursday 19th July 2012

VRA CC v Switzerland

at VRA in Amsterdam (T20 match)

On the first day, dark clouds greeted the Swiss team in Holland and the chances of play looked bleak with further rain predicted for the first day. However, the rain stopped at 3pm in the afternoon and thanks to fantastic drainage facility at the ground the outfield was ready by the start time. The game was played at the VRA cricket club’s second ground, as play on the main ground (with the turf pitch) was not possible due to the rain that took place earlier in the morning.

 

The visiting Swiss team won the toss and decided to have a bat in the cold and muggy conditions. Switzerland lost both their openers early against the disciplined bowling unit of VRA, who hit the right lengths on a consistent basis and swung the ball significantly causing a lot of problem for the batsmen. Sathya Narayan, however, combined with skipper Raja Hafeez, who was at his aggressive best with the bat, to get rid of the threat of the new ball. The VRA bowlers, however, made a comeback with the ball, breaking the partnership between the two and halting the flow of runs. Sathya was dismissed for 17 and Raja for 21. Afzaal Sikander (33) and Mounir Barone (25) then gave the Swiss innings a much-needed impetus and the visitors managed to post 124 runs on the board on a ground with big boundaries. The VRA club also fielded brilliantly, depriving the Swiss team of around 20 runs with their fielding alone. The pitch did have something in it for the bowlers though, and this gave Switzerland a lot of confidence and hope heading into the second half of the match.

 

Ali Saleem and Nasir Mahmood opened the attack for Switzerland and found immediate success. The young talented Ali Saleem swung the ball beautifully and took two wickets in his 3 overs at the top and Nasir bowled with great pace and beautiful line, beating the batsmen on several occasions and giving away only 4 runs in his 2 overs. He was very unlucky to go wicketless, as he was nearly impossible to play in his new ball spell. Sudath Jayaratne was then brought into the attack and he immediately took a wicket, with Vaibhav taking a well-judged catch at the long off boundary. Sudath also combined with wicketkeeper Asvin Lakkaraju to get rid of the VRA dangerman, Jeroen Mulder (36). Mulder lost his balance for only a second, but Asvin was sharp with the gloves and whipped the bails off before Mulder could get his foot back in the crease to effect a brilliant stumping. Vaibhav Singh and Raja Hafeez also bowled with great accuracy and variations and picked one wicket each. The pick of the bowlers, however, was Afzaal Sikander (he had also top scored with the bat earlier). He gave away only 18 runs in his 3 overs and took 4 wickets, including a very sharp reflex catch of his own bowling to get rid of the VRA captain, Keith Ferrett.

 

The intensity of the Swiss team was good and this reflected in the way they fielded as well. The fielding was of a very good level and the Swiss team took most of the catches that were offered. In the end, the VRA club only managed to get 82 runs on the board and lost all 10 wickets in just 15.3 overs, handing the Swiss side a massive 42 runs win in the context of a Twenty20 and their first ever victors in Holland.

 

Switzerland 123-6 (20 overs) beat VRA CC 78ao (16 overs) by 46 runs

Batting: Afzal Sikander 33, Mounir Barone 25, Raja Hafeez 21, Sathya Narayanan 17

Bowling: Afzal Sikander 4-18, Sudath Jayaratne 2-4.

Scorecard

Swiss Cricket Association

SCA National Sqaud 1. Raja Hafeez*, 2. Sathya Narayanan+, 3. Ovais Yousuf, 4. Nasir Mahmood, 5. Ali Saleem, 6. Afzal Sikander, 7. Sudath Jayaratne, 8. Mounir Barone, 9. Vaibhav Singh, 10. Asvin Lakkaraju, 11. Peter Swanepoel.

 

Friday 20th July 2012

VRA CC v Switzerland

at VRA in Amsterdam (40 over match)

On the second day, the Swiss teams were confident in their ability to compete with the VRA club in the longer format as well, after their victory the day before. This time, it was the local team that won the toss and elected to bat first. Once again, Ali and Nasir opened the bowling and although they weren’t able to get any early wickets, they restricted the VRA batsmen nicely and kept the run rate around 3 runs an over. Afzaal Sikander then came into the attack and started right where he had left off the day before. He removed two VRA batsmen in quick succession with beautiful inswingers, after which VRA’s captain Keith Ferrett and Victor Lubbers started to rebuild the innings. Several bowlers were tried in an attempt to break the partnership, however the duo played risk free cricket and dealt mainly in ones and twos. The two took the score close to 120 before Ali Saleem returned into the attack and, in a spell of 3 overs, took 4 wickets, including the wickets of the two set batsmen. Pieter Swanepoel also registered his name in the wickets column and the VRA club went from being 120-2 to being 130-7 in no time. The Swiss team, however, failed to close the proceedings and allowed the VRA club batsmen to add another vital 50 runs to the total and managed to take only one more wicket, as the home side finished with 182 runs on the board for the loss of 8 wickets. One reason the VRA club was able to recuperate from such a fragile position was the experience they had in the form of Steven Lubbers, who had played 154 internationals for Holland between 1972 and 1996 and captained the side in the 1996 World Cup. Even at the age of 59, he had no problem handling the pace of even the fastest of the Swiss bowlers and looked at ease at all times during his stay at the crease. Another reason was the extras. The bowlers found it a bit difficult to control the swing at times and there were 31 wides in the 39 extras that were given away during the VRA innings.

 

Chasing 183 for a win, the Swiss team lost an early wicket, as Pieter Swanepoel was caught behind of the bowling of the experienced Steve Lubbers. His son, Victor Lubbers, who is probably the quickest bowler any member of the Swiss team ever faced removed Sathya Narayan and the Swiss side quickly found themselves in a bit of trouble. Ovais Yousuf and Asvin Lakkaraju then brought some stability to the middle. They rotated the strike well and hit the odd boundary that was on offer in their partnership of 80. Asvin was then given out LBW trying to flick the ball and this triggered a collapse, as the next three batsmen only managed a combined 3 runs between them. Ovais Yousuf held one end admirably in his knock of 71, but he was quickly running out of partners at the other end. The run rate was also escalating as at this point the Swiss side needed to get around 6 runs an over for victory, but they only had 4 wickets in hand to get the remaining runs. A combination of lack of communication and pressure exerted by the VRA bowling and fielding unit resulted in two run outs, following which Ovais lost his wicket trying to force the run rate. The last man was eventually dismissed with the score on 124 and the Swiss side fell short by 58 runs in a match where it looked like they would be able to reach the target easily when Ovais and Asvin were out in the middle.

 

VRA CC 183-7 (40 overs) beat Switzerland 128ao (32 overs) by 45 runs

Batting: Ovais Yousuf 71, Asvin Lakkaraju 24 

Scorecard

Swiss Cricket Association

SCA National Sqaud 1. Raja Hafeez*, 2. Sathya Narayanan+, 3. Ovais Yousuf, 4. Nasir Mahmood, 5. Ali Saleem, 6. Afzal Sikander, 7. Sudath Jayaratne, 8. Mounir Barone, 9. Vaibhav Singh, 10. Asvin Lakkaraju, 11. Peter Swanepoel.

Tour summary

The tour was a great learning experience for the Swiss side, as they saw the importance of running between the wickets and fielding. The two sides were evenly matched, but these two aspects of the game are what separated the two teams. VRA’s running between the wickets and fielding was exemplary as was their fitness level. Switzerland didn’t field badly either, but VRA’s level was above that of the Swiss team. It was also a thoroughly enjoyable tour, which gave the Swiss team an opportunity to play on a great cricket ground and with the very hospitable people of the VRA club. It is not the talent that is lacking but it is the experience of playing high quality cricket, which is missing, and hopefully everyone on this tour has learnt a lot about themselves and how they can improve their game. The learning curve for the Swiss national team has begun.

 

The Swiss Cricket Association would like to thank Mr. Jeroen Van Meerten from VRA club for helping in organizing the games, Mr. Arnoud Lips for taking care of the lunch and dinner, Mr. Keith Ferrett, who is the skipper of VRA and all the members of VRA cricket club who made the stay of team enjoyable.

 

The Swiss Cricket Association also recognise the assistance of ARCV (Association Raja Coeur de Vie) which also sponsors Geneva XI Stars CC and generously decided to sponsor the Swiss team kits for the the tour of Amsterdam.

Media

Read the Cricket Country article written by Arunabha Sengupta who travelled with the Swiss team on this tour.

There are also a selection of the Swiss national team tour to Amsterdam.

 

Additionally you can read the pre-tour announcement from July 17th 2012 and the initial tour announcement from March 8th 2012.

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