Denmark, Italy set up final clash
Denmark emerged triumphant against Guernsey in the battle of the group-toppers in the semi-final in St Clement. In a combined batting effort, that included a knock of 40 from opener Shehzad Ahmed and useful contributions from the rest, Denmark posted 136. Rizwan Mahmood made an unbeaten 22 and Shehzad was involved in an opening stand of 55 with Freddie Klokker. Guernsey were spineless in their reply, bowled out for 78 after capitulating to offspinner Bashir Shah, who took 4 for 23. Opener Tim Ravenscroft made 24, but the others simply didn't step up.
Italy sealed their place in the tournament final, overcoming Jersey by 14 runs in St Martin. The backbone of their innings was a half-century from Damian Crowly, who made 55 in 44 balls with two fours and three sixes. Wicketkeeper Hayden Patrizi assisted him with an innings of 28, and Italy managed a competitive 133. In their response, Jersey were on track at 97 for 3 in the 16th over, with captain Peter Gough and Tony Carlyon adding 41 for the fourth wicket. But Crowley removed both batsmen in the same over and the rest of the batting failed to measure up, reaching only 119 in the end.
France beat Austria by five runs in St Saviour to qualify for the fifth-place final in the European Championship Division One Twenty20. Arun Ayyavooraju made a run-a-ball 48 and was supported by Usman Khan's 25 in France's score of 113. It was a gettable target but none of the Austria batsmen got going. Opener Aman Deep fell for 25, Syed Qamar made 18 and only two others got to double-figures. Legspinner Zika Ali took 4 for 12 and his spell proved decisive in keeping Austria to 108.
In the other fifth-place play-off semi-final, Norway beat Belgium in a last-over thriller in St Brelade. For Belgium, wicketkeeper Ali Raza top-scored with 31 and was supported by contributions of 24 from captain Simon Newport and 15 from Shaival Mehta. Though Norway lost wickets at regular intervals in the chase, their batsmen managed enough to seal victory with four balls to spare. Zaheer Ashiq and captain Zeeshan Ali made 26 and 21 respectively, pacing their innings well, and Iftikhar Hussain scored at better than a run-a-ball for his unbeaten 31, which made the difference in the end.
Germany thrashed Croatia in the ninth-place play-off semi-final in St Helier. Captain Asif Khan smashed 56 in 25 balls and was aided by quickfire cameos from Kashif Mahmood (39 in 20) and an unbeaten 37 in 16 balls from Kashif Haider. Germany notched up an imposing 222 and Croatia, not helped by the fact that there was only one batsman who captialised on starts - Nikola Davidovic made 47 in 30 balls - only mustered up 132.
Gibraltar defeated Israel in the other nine-place play-off semi-final in St Brelade. Josh Evans and Herschel Gutman picked up three wickets each to restrict Gibraltar to 110. In an innings that lacked big contributions, opener David Coram top-scored with 32. However, the score proved more than enough. Only one Israeli batsman - Itamar Kehimkar - reached double-figures, as Gibraltar, led by Ross Harkins' 3 for 6, eased home by 43 runs.