Italy pull off shock victory
Italy stunned previously-unbeaten Scotland A on the third day of the European Division 1 Championship in Jersey on Friday, pulling off a narrow seven-run victory in a rain-affected match at Farmer’s Field. Scotland’s defeat left hosts Jersey in pole position to win the tournament, since they were much too strong for Netherlands A in their game at FB Fields, while Ireland A bounced back from their defeat by Jersey on Wednesday by cruising to a comfortable victory over Denmark at Grainville.
Italy reached 249 for 7 at the end of their 50 overs after choosing to bat against Scotland A at Farmer’s Field. Top scorers were Andrew Northcote and Dilan Fernando, with 72 and 62, respectively, while Hemantha Jayasena was unbeaten on 47. Sean Weeraratna, was the pick of the Scottish bowlers with figures of three for 44.
Rain delayed the start of Scotland’s reply, and with the match reduced to 47 overs their target was adjusted to 244. They were well placed at 124 for 2 in the 27th over, Ewan Chalmers (57) and Qasim Sheikh (38) having given them a solid platform, but as the Scots attempted to accelerate wickets began to fall. Jan Stander and Willie Rowan kept their hopes alive, and at 217 for 5 they were again well placed. But then Gayashan Munasinghe returned to the attack to remove both of them, and in the end the target proved just too great.
Jersey made 236 for 8 in their 50 overs against Netherlands A after choosing to bat. Top scorers were Peter Gough and Chris Jones, with 57 and 36, respectively. The best bowlers for Netherlands A were Tom Heggelman, Matthis Luten, Mohsin Ghaznavi and Bernard Loots, who all captured two wickets.
Netherlands A reached 13 without loss before a break for rain, but immediately after the interval both openers fell without addition to the score. They were partially rescued by a stand of 63 between Adeel Raja (35) and Tim Gruijters (36), but Hague and Ben Stevens bowled steadily to restrict the scoring rate in the middle overs. The innings closed on 159, with Driver taking four for 26 and two wickets each for Jones, Stevens and Tom Minty.
Ireland A made 334 for 6 in their 50 overs after being asked to bat by Denmark. Top scorers at Grainville were James Shannon and Niall McDonnell, with an unbeaten 84 and 66, respectively, while Stuart Thompson, Andrew Balbirnie and James Hall all made scores in the thirties. The most successful bowlers for Denmark were Henrik Hansen and Michael Pedersen, who recorded figures of 2 for 74 and 2 for 78, respectively.
Denmark were set 323 to make from 47 overs due to rain delaying the start of their innings. Although Freddie Klokker made 36 and Michael Pedersen 62 they were never really in the hunt, and the Irish spin trio of Albert van der Merwe, Andrew Balbirnie and Gary Kidd took eight wickets between them as Denmark were dismissed for 184. Van der Merwe had the best figures with 4 for 44, while Balbirnie took 3 for 31.
Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo