By Michael Hall
In preparation for the upcoming tours to England, a team from the Swiss U13 squad was invited to Luxembourg to play a series of matches. Saturday would see two T20s and a a 35 over match on the Sunday. As the first opportunity for competitive cricket for the Swiss players, it would be a vital warm up. Switzerland U13s won all three matches!
Swiss U13 126-7 (Kai 21*, Arkan 18, Hayden 18*; Thomas 4-21, Leonardo 1-5) bt Luxembourg U13 91 all out (Sasha 20*, Thomas 15; Arkan 2-9, Kai 2-11) by 35 runs
Charlie won the toss and elected to bat. Sasha and Jai found it difficult to get value for their shots on the damp (but drying outfield), They were both watchful for the first couple of overs, with only a couple of singles from the bat. Jai (6) fell first, falling to the off-spinner, but the pair put on a 34 run partnership. Kai muscled his way to retirement with boundaries to the leg-side bringing up his 21 runs in only 11 balls. Sasha (15) fell just before pulling a ball from Leonardo straight to short third man. The next wicket came quickly with a mix up between Charlie and Arkan seeing the skipper run out. Arkan and Hayden used their long levers well, both scoring around a run a ball. Hayden in particular finding the straight boundary twice hitting over the ring field. Arkan perished just before retirement, the off-spinner Thomas taking his second bowled. Thomas struck next ball having Adarsh caught of a top edge. Nevzad saw off the hattrick ball, but fell in his next over again through the gate. George and Hayden saw off the remaining balls, with George (2) finding it difficult to pierce the gaps, and he fell on the last ball chipping back to the bowler Sasha.
Kai exerted pressure from the first ball with pace. At the other end however Nevzad found it difficult to get the right length with his leg breaks and Sasha tucked in and he retired off only 10 balls. Kai struck in the next over having Charlie caught by Charlie. Sasha replaced Kai and was accurate, with the only runs in his spell coming from a waist high full toss that was hit for a single. Arkan took advantage of the pressure and had Leonardo caught at point by Nevzad. Ayush fell two balls later with Charlie taking a stunning diving catch. Adarsh struggled with his line bowling 3 wides, and to add insult to injury the next one was hit for 4, but he came back the next ball when Lydie chipped it back to him. Charlie continued where Sasha left off and build pressure with 5 dots and Andreas had Rebecca caught by Sasha. Charlie bowled straight hand knocked over Oscar, bringing two U11s to the crease. They both showed great intent, using whatever pace there was to score singles before starting to hit until Anirudth was run out by Sasha after he dropped the catch. Charlie then ran out Malvina and then Sasha managed to get the ball back, despite falling over, to run out Stella at the non-striker’s end. Kai finished things off, ending Thomas’ innings.
Swiss U13 103-2 (Jai 21*, Hayden 20*, Charlie 18*; Sasha 1-19, Thomas 1-22) bt Luxembourg U13 101-9 (Sasha 35*, Ayush 10; Kai 2-14, Dev 1-1) by 8 wickets
After a delicious Indian lunch, this time Charlie lost the toss, and Lydie wanted a bat on the now dry outfield. The innings started in a similar way to the last game with Kai tight and Sasha dispatching Nevzad. This time Charlie managed to edge Kai for 4 but chipped the next one back to the bowler. Nevzad showed great recoverability to contain his next over to two singles and then bowling Leonardo. Some fantastic outfielding from Kai saw Lydie run out without facing a ball with a direct hit from the deep square leg boundary. Sasha was a touch unlucky to have an edge from Rebecca run to the third man boundary but struck later in the over, bowling her. A stand formed between Ayush and Oscar before Oscar chipped Andreas to Dev, taking a stunning catch diving forward full stretch. Thomas looked to replicate his innings from the previous game but this time was done by an inswinger from George but not before finding the boundary. The other U11 was fortunate to receive a gift with a wild overthrow going to the boundary. Dev was on the money and had Malvina caught behind and Stella was bowled by Kai, bringing Sasha back. Swiss Sasha took the ball for the last over and was unlucky to have Sasha scamper through for a bye to be on strike where he dispatched the ball over cow-corner for two sixes, with the field still up, to bring up 101-9.
The openers of Sasha and Jai found run-scoring much easier on the now dry outfield, and ticked along at a run a ball before Sasha (15) tried to drive Thomas over the top and could only find Lydie at mid on, breaking a 36 run partnership. Jai looked in great touch, unfurling drives to retire off 27 balls. This time Kai couldn’t stick around and was bowled for 6. Charlie and Hayden started with respect but both soon kicked on, with Hayden again finding the straight boundary 4 times, and Charlie hitting a 6. Hayden retired off 14 balls and with a handful of runs needed Andreas swung and missed but was there at the end when a wide saw the Swiss over the line.
Swiss U13 135 all out (Nevzad 28, Kai 20, Hayden 20; Lydie 2-15, Leonardo 2-15) bt Luxembourg U13 113 all out (Lydie 30, Charlie 23; Kai 3-15, Charlie 2-5) by 22 runs
The Sunday morning weather didn’t start promisingly but all agreed to try to play a 35 over match - a first for this group of players. Charlie won the toss and chose to bat with the outfield still damp. The innings didn’t start well with Sasha top edging a ball from his namesake to Leonardo for 7, and Jai (2) falling soon after. Charlie tried to play an expansive drive second ball and was bowled by Lydie to leave Switzerland on 11-3 with 31 overs still to go! Kai and Hayden got their eye in quickly and looked to put on a big score, but both fell for exactly 20 runs each within 3 balls of each other. The two leg-spinners, Arkan and Nevzad looked to continue but Arkan (6) hit Malvina to Lydie. Adarsh joined Nevzad and combined well taking singles. Nevzad looked assured, finding the boundary three times before hitting his wicket. Dev came out for his first bat of the weekend, and didn’t look awed, scoring 7 before being bowled. George and Adarsh (15) put on another 13 runs before the latter chipped Thomas to Rebecca. Andreas could only watch on as Thomas had George (5) caught next ball by Oscar, leaving the Swiss on 135 from 31.5 overs.
Kai got proceedings underway having Anirudth top edging to Hayden running back, and went on to record a wicket maiden. With Nevzad having left for the airport, Andreas’ off-spin was picked to open. He kept Alec quiet, taking a single off the 5th ball, bringing the dangerous Sasha to the crease. He looked to heave the ball over cow-corner but the ball spun through the gate to take leg stump. Alec chipped Kai straight back to him to leave Luxembourg 2-3 and the Swiss team cockahoop after feeling they had not batted as well as they should. As it turned out it was the last wicket to fall for 13 overs with Lydie and Charlie looking to consolidate. Lydie hit 4 fours, with some fantastic timing. Charlie was in danger of stagnating, at one point being 2 off 30 balls but showed the value of staying in by accelerating later.
A lunch break was taken after 11 overs, and Luxembourg started to feel in the game with the required run rate edging down. After the break Charlie bowled himself and got the breakthrough by attacking the stumps, first bowling Lydie and then trapping Ayush in front. Thomas safely negotiated the hattrick ball, and again used the pace to find the gaps and put on a 46 run partnership with Charlie who started to find the boundary. With the required rate now at under 3.5 an over, it looked like Luxembourg would ease over the line. However a mix up meant Adarsh could get the ball back in to George at the non-striker’s end to run out Charlie. George followed up later that over swinging one past Rebecca’s bat to hit the stumps. Extras kept the run rate ticking over before Kai could beat Thomas with pace, with 24 runs required. Sasha came back on and had Malvina caught by Kai. Anirudth batted again (after Oscar had to leave) and couldn’t get the ball away before Sasha trapped him in front with a full ball to secure the victory!
Given the poor weather the tournament provided one of the few opportunities for the Swiss team to get some outdoor practice before the tour at the end of the month. Overall the team came together
well and supported each other. The transition to outdoor cricket showed the fitness as they were all exhausted after the Saturday!
The opening batsmen generally did a good job of seeing off the early bowlers and setting a platform, except in the longer game where both got out cheaply. The middle order however did a great job of scoring runs quickly with every one of 3-6 getting a decent score, and often at a quick rate. Hayden showed his strength and ability to hit over the infield, scoring 9 fours - the most in the tournament and was the highest run scorer overall.
The bowling was very consistent and tight from most of the players and all but one getting a wicket. The mix of seam and spin options combined well and put the Luxembourg players under pressure.
Special note for Andreas as an U11, taking 3 wickets and was the second most economic. However the opening pace bowling from Kai was attacking and accurate and with 7 wickets he was awarded
bowler of the tournament.
In the field the team held onto all their catches, including two stunning diving catches (one from Charlie and one from Dev). The throwing to keeper/bowler was the weakest area with a number of run out opportunities lost and overthrows given with wild or difficult throws. Behind the stumps Hayden started excellently, only letting 1 bye through, but tired over the weekend. He also took two catches.
Many thanks to Adrian, Tom and Peter of Luxembourg for hosting the tournament, as well as playing a longer format match. The independent umpires were also well appreciated, as was the delicious curry lunches! Many thanks also to Lance for coaching the side.