Cricket Switzerland would like to announce the return of the triumphant National Cricket Team from Warsaw where they have just won the Central Europe ODI Cup, beating both Czech Rep. & hosts
The first match was against the Czech Rep. and in on field temperatures rising to 40* for the 50 over match it was important, with the Czech team batting first, to keep the bowling as tight as possible and take every chance. Thanks to 3 strong bowling performances: Nasir Mahmood (St Gallen CC) 9ovs 2wkts for 23runs, Rod Sherrell (Winterthur CC) 7ovs 3wkts for 41runs and Sajid Safiat (Power Winterthur CC), the Czech team were bowled out for 216 and after a very hot and tiring 3 ½ hrs in the field, the teams & Umpires sat down to a well deserved lunch.
Lunch over and the Swiss opening batsmen took to the field to set about what should not have been a difficult target, but the loss of 3 wickets in the first 3 overs meant that even though the
scoring rate was well above that required, a period of consolidation was required. Wicket keeper Tom Mampilly (Winterthur CC) and Captain Afzaal Sikander (Power Winterthur CC) over the next 9
overs brought control back to the Swiss innings, then another collapse of 4 wickets in the next 8 overs meant, even with the run rate now far higher than that required, the Swiss team were
running out of batsmen to get the total. With the Czech team sensing victory and bowling accurately & aggressively Sajid & Nasir started to rebuild the innings. Again there was another
mini collapse in the 25th over, both Sajid and Swiss No.10 Tariq Khan (Bern CC) were out. This left Nasir and Swiss No 11 Vaibhav Singh (Cossonay CC) with 100 runs required in 25 overs, but
knowing the loss of either wicket would lose the match. A win from this position was now unlikely, but not impossible! The 2 had luck on their side, with a few chances not being taken by the
Czech team, and they used it well. With great effort and concentration they saw the team to victory, Nasir 54no and Vaibhav 30no, both batting for over 1 & 1/2hrs to achieve an unlikely
victory and a record 11th wicket partnership of 100 for the Swiss team.
The team had the following day off and a chance to recover, have a look around the historic city of Warsaw and then go over to the ground to watch the end of the Czech Rep. V’s Poland match,
where the Czech team put in a huge effort to come back to win, meaning that depending on the result of the Poland V’s Switzerland match all 3 teams could still win the cup.
Sunday morning was hot @ 9am it was close to 30* on the pitch already and with Poland winning the toss, they unsurprisingly put Switzerland into bat – it was going to be brutally hot to field and
bowl in the afternoon. Following the collapse against the Czech team, the Swiss top order had to perform and openers Prafull Shikare (Winterthur CC) and Idrees Ul Haque (Uprising CC) put on over
50 for the first wicket, but a few balls later both openers had gone, leaving Wicket keeper Tom Mampilly (WCC) and Swiss No4 Shahnawaz Muhammad (Power Winterthur CC) with the task of
consolidating the innings again. With 40 in the next 9 overs, things were looking good and with 4 of the top scoring batsman for the game V’s the Czech team still to bat, confidence was high.
Then wickets tumbled. Switzerland lost the set Shahnawaz, and then Afzaal, Nasir & Sajid for just 6 runs between them in 3 overs. In came Ali Abbas (St Gallen CC) with the instruction to
support Tom (who had already been batting for more than 20 Overs). The pair managed to steady the innings and put on a partnership of 33.
Following Ali’s dismissal there were small partnerships with the lower order before Tom was last man out for a hard earned 73, batting for over 2hrs in on field temperatures of over 40*. With the Swiss total of 203 from only 42 of the 50 overs, they had scored probably 50-80 runs less that either team expected after the first 10 overs.
With the lower than expected total to defend, it was vital the Swiss team bowled tightly and took early wickets to keep the pressure on, and despite a great early spell for Switzerland’s player
of the tournament Nasir Mahmood (St Gallen CC) dismissing both Polish openers, after 10 of the 50 overs Poland were 65-2 and looking like they would win comfortably. Captain Afzaal Sikander
(PWCC) called on Sajid & Vaibhav, both having had poor days with the bat and said “get me some wickets we need to win this!” and what a response: 4 wickets in 7 overs put the game back in the
balance. With 3 very well matched teams it was never going to be that easy, and Poland again fought back; 45 runs in 10 overs without losing a wicket put them back in control, needing only just
above 2 runs per over, 2 well set batsman and 4 wickets left. Switzerland needed their great team spirit and the fact that whenever they were in difficulty, someone in the team stepped up and
took responsibility to pull the game back. So, at the drinks break, the Captain re-focused the team in the field, took on the bowling and broke the partnership getting the wicket of the Polish
Another wicket quickly followed and the game was back in the balance: Poland needed 30 runs, Switzerland needed 2 wickets and with almost 20 overs remaining, time was not an issue. Afzaal again
turned to Sajid and Vaibhav, and the last 2 Polish wickets were taken for just 10 runs and victory and the Cup were awarded to Switzerland. Over the course of the tournament everyone found things
they needed to improve, whether it was batting, bowling or in the field, but also everyone in the team stepped up at some point with a great effort to change the course of a game. A true team
Match 1: Czech Republic 216 ao (48 overs) lost to Switzerland 217-9 (45.3 overs) by 1 wicket
Match 2: Czech Republic 253-9 (50 overs) defeated Poland 171 ao (41.3 overs) by 82 runs
Match 3: Switzerland 203 ao (42 overs) defeated Poland 184 ao (36.5 overs) by 19 runs