Kalev clinch Estonian title
By James Ramsden
Kalev Cricket Club retained their Westons Estonian Premier League trophy in dark and windy conditions last week, beating Reval CC at the Tallinn Hippodrome by 60 runs.
Looking at the dark clouds looming, it was always going to be an important toss to win, and Reval's stand-in skipper Oliver Slovodetsky had his first decision of the day to make when he won the toss. He decided to make full use of the cloud cover and put Kalev into bat.
Kalev batted solidly for the first 15 overs out of the 35, putting on 40 for no wicket. Slovodetsky then turned to his spinner with instant success. Phil Marsdale did what the experienced fast bowlers Obli and Shiva couldn’t do and dismissed the Kalev openers in successive balls. Shiva then followed up the impetus with a wicket in his final over to leave Kalev on 47 for 4 off 17.
This brought to the crease Hazelhurst and Mike Tiffin, the South African overseas player, who went about making up for lost time. Hazelhurst scored a quickfire 35 before holing out on the boundary and Tiffin remained undefeated on 68 after a few other useful lower-order scores. Kalev finished on 174 for 8 off 35 overs.
It was disappointment for Shiva as he remained one wicket short of the target he had set himself at the beginning of the day. Still, with five an over and the ball not swinging, it was still all to play for.
Alas Reval never not going. Uko Nurges fell in the very first over after Vineeth Govind found some swing to rip out his off stump. Skipper Slovodetsky had to watch as two more departed in the next over and he soon found his team at 24 for 3 off ten overs. Despite some lusty blows from the skipper and Shiva, it was never going to happen for Reval as Slovodetsky fell for 48 and Reval tumbled to 114 all out. Vineeth finished with an impressive bowing tally of 4-13-6.
So Kalev skipper Andres Burget will be looking for a hat-trick next season, and he and his team have really laid down the benchmark for inter-league cricket in Estonia. Speaking after the game he said he had thought Kalev had blown their chance when he lost the toss in the morning. “I was so proud that my boys kept it tight on the field, because we know that on their day, Reval are more than capable of hitting 10 an over, never mind five. I'd like to thank Oliver for giving us such a good match, and would like to say to James Ramsden, that if it wasn't for the fact that he was sitting out the match with a groin injury, if he was playing today, I still think we'd have got him out first ball.”
The Estonian cricket league has now finished for the season, although winter nets will begin in November.
Nishi Narayanan is a staff writer at ESPNcricinfo