August 19, 2001

Portugal win ECC Trophy

Portugal are the 2001 ECC Trophy champions.

The European Cricket Council's tournament for ICC Affiliate Member nations from the continent was decided on Saturday at the Seebarn No.1 Ground, Vienna, when Portugal easily defeated the host nation Austria by nine wickets in the 35-overs-a-side final.

Austria, winning the toss after batting first, made 158 for 9 from their 35 overs. Austrian captain Andrew Simpson-Parker was top score with 43 while Intesab Mehdi (4/21) and Humayun Shahzad (3/36) were the best bowlers for Portugal.

A 126-run first-wicket stand between Portuguese captain Akbar Saiyad and his opening partner Nadeem Butt set the visitors on their way to an easy victory. Saiyad was dismissed for 44, Butt remaining unbeaten on 91 from 92 balls.

The ten-team tournament began on August 10 with teams playing in two groups, situated at Seebarn and the southern Austrian town of Velden. Belgium, Croatia, Finland, Greece, Malta, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland were the other participants.

Both Portugal and Austria, by reaching yesterday's final, qualify for the European Cricket Championships to be staged in Ireland in July 2002. They will compete alongside ICC Associate Member countries in Europe (Denmark, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Scotland) and an amateur XI from England.

Greece won the last ECC Trophy tournament staged in Corfu two years ago, defeating Portugal, the winners of the inaugural competition in 1997, by nine wickets.

Cricket in Portugal among expatriate Englishmen can be traced back as far as the days of the Duke of Wellington, but it was in 1994 that the Federacao Portuguesa de Cricket was formed, with Affiliate Membership of the ICC being granted in 1996.