Zurich Nomads won the 2019 Swiss Mr Pickwick Twenty20 League, beating Geneva by 50 runs in an exciting final at Sportplatz Schönau on Sunday 25th August.
The Finals Day began with Zurich Nomads beating Berne on their own ground in the first semi-final by just 32 runs.
The second semi-final turned out to be a bit of an anti-climax when St Gallen failed with the bat to lose against Geneva by a convincing 109 runs.
And Zurich Nomads went on to beat Geneva in the final by 50 runs to make their claim to being Swiss Twenty20 champions in 2019 and for the fourth time in the 15 years the competition has been held.
First semi-final: Zurich Nomads versus Berne CC
Zurich Nomads 132-8 in 20.0 overs (F Nazir 62; Mohib Kakar 4.0-0-19-3, Aneesh N. Kumar 4.0-0-25-3) beat Bern Cricket Club 100ao in 18.5 overs (Thirukumaran Natesan 25; F Nazir 3.5-0-10-3) by 32 runs.
The day began at 9.3am with the first semi-final, Zurich Nomads versus the hosts Berne CC. Nomads won the toss and chose to bat, leaving Berne to contend with dewy outfield and a wet ball.
The Nomads' openers started strongly, interrupted when Azeem had to retire injured on 22 after taking a ball on the toe. He was replaced by his brother Faheem who continued the good work and took the score to 71 before Shaqat was caught by Lalit off Thiru's bowling, one ball before the half-way mark.
Faheem (62) was dismissed 3 overs later adjudged LBW by umpire Vaishak & was replaced by Azeem who returned to finish his innings. The top order continued to perform when with the score at 127-2 Waqas (21) and Azeem (5) were dismissed in consecutive balls. With just a few overs to go only Hassan (16) contributed anything significant to the score, Nomads finishing their innings with one wicket intact on 132.
The outfield had completely dried by the time Berne were asked to reply and it started well, but slow. With the score at 17 Nomads' Shijo dismissed Qadeer off the first ball of the 4th over. On the fifth ball of the following over senior Idrees dismissed Berne's second opener Salman. Shijo struck again, Aseem taking a good catch to dismiss Aneesh. Berne were now 26-3 after 6 overs. The Berne middle order recovered somewhat, Berne captain Aseem (21), Thiru (25) & Imran (18) but the run-rate had increased from 5.31 to an ambitiuos 10 an over. With little option but to hit out, in attempting to go for the runs the tail was dismissed in 8 balls and for just 7 runs, Berne's innings finishing with 1.1 overs to go and 32 runs short.
Second semi-final: Geneva versus St Gallen
Geneva Cricket Club 152ao in 20.0 overs (A Mehmood 43; OM Mahmood 4.0-0-31-3) beat St Gallen Cricket Club 43ao in 8.0 overs (K Ashfaq 2.0-0-10-5) by 109 runs
The second semi-final, the much anticipated match between Geneva & St Gallen from opposite ends of the country, began with a delayed 30 minutes late.
Geneva didn't start well. In the second over they lost both Ali (9) & Leo (2) in the space of three balls and then Kurram (0), run out by Haroon.
However, Geneva's middle-order of captain Anser (43), Simon (23), Massoud (9), Vikram (24) & Kashif (14) all contributed to a good Geneva batting performance. The innings ended on the last ball, Fletcher taking Joshua caught & balled.
If the the big hitting 2018 champions St Gallen weren't daunted by the 7.6 required run-rate set by Geneva, they might have been after losing the otherwise very reliable Osama (0) off the first ball and then Ali (0) clean bowled by Ali "Cha-Cha" an over later.
Majaz (14) hung around for three overs before being dismissed caught by Genevan sub Davinder off Ali's bowling, and was the only St Gallen batsman to make double figures.
The remaining St Gallen batsman, not prepared to take a look before hitting, were dismissed all out 5 overs later for just 43 handing Geneva a place in the final against Zurich Nomads. Kashif was the pick of the bowlers with the fifth 5-wicket haul in this year's Mr Pickwick Twenty20 League competition.
The Final: Zurich Nomads versus Geneva CC
Zurich Nomads CC 151-6 in 20.0 overs (H Ahmad† 82, A Nazir 26) beat Geneva Cricket Club 101ao in 18.5 overs (K Alvi 31, A Vinod 28no; S Joseph 4.0-0-20-3, @S Hussain 4.0-0-26-3) by 50 runs
Zurich Nomads won the toss & elected to bat first against a confident Geneva after their candid performance to dismiss last season's winners.
A good start with the ball it was too, Geneva's Ali dismissing Nomad's opener Faheem (7) in the second over after Yavar took a simple catch. In the third over Ali clean bowled Shafqat (5). With Nomads struggling, Hassan (82), took to the crease and proved why he had won the best batsman award in the Eastern division. Supported well by Waqas (8) and the Nomad's captain Aseem (26), Nomads scored a very good 151-6 leaving Geneva a target of 152 and a required run-rate of 7.55.
The Genevois openers didn't have the best of starts, losing their top three by the fourth over for just twelve runs. Khurram (31) staged a good recovery but, with the exception of Ashwin (28no) received insufficient support from the middle order, Geneva dismissed for 101 and 50 runs short in 16.5 overs.
The presentation ceremony
In his address to the teams and the spectators that had hung around until the end, Cricket Switzerland President, Alexander Mackay, thanked everyone involved for their support.
The presentations for the Best Batsman & Best Bowler from each division in the league phase were made, followed by the MoM for the final runners-up & winners medals and awarding of the winners trophy.
Best Batsman Eastern Divison - Hassan Ahmad (Zurich Nomads CC)
Best Batsman Western Divison - Anser Mehmood (Geneva CC)
Best Bowler Eastern Divison - Farid Din (Zurich Nomads CC)
Best Bowler Western Divison - Raja Hafeez (Geneva XI Stars CC)
Mr Pickwick Twenty20 Final Man of the Match - Hassan Ahmad (Zurich Nomads CC)
Runners-up medals - Geneva CC
Winners medals - Zurich Nomads CC
Winners Trophy - Azeem Nazir (Captain, Zurich Nomads CC)
You can read an introduction to all the semi-finalists in an article published on the website during the week immediately prior to the Finals Day.
The 2019 statistics for this year's Mr Pickwick Twenty20 League make impressive reading.
Further information regarding the Swiss Mr Pickwick Twenty20 Final is available from Cricket Switzerland's Asvin Lakkaraju.