May 16, 2000

Finland: Surprise start to League

The Finnish League season began last weekend

The Finnish League season began last weekend. Official, Andrew Armitage, previews the rest of the League season ahead:

"The Finnish Cricket Association League competition began in surprise fashion last Sunday with an upset win over Vantaa CC over defending champion Helsinki CC.

At the small ground in Hakunila, Vantaa started innings with an opening stand of 225, and ended on 302-9 from its full 40 overs - Abbas scoring 125 and Zaheer 108. Despite a brave response from Helsinki, no batsman could reach 50 and Helsinki ended on 251 all out.

The other teams involved in this year's League will be City CC and Turku CC. The latest team, Tampere CC, has now been officially registered but as yet not joined the League. This will now happen in 2001.

Last season champions, Helsinki CC, will still be the team to beat this year. With largely the same squad of players as last year, their batting line-up including Sonny Sood, Rakesh, Abbas, John Cole and Richard Walker is likely to form a major test for the opposition's bowlers.

Turku will be relying on new captain Martin Brink, winner of the League averages last season, to make a major contribution again this summer and he is likely to be assisted by Nasim and Nayim.

Vantaa's runs will likely come from the trio Shabir-Zaheer-Christy, whilst City will be looking again for major contributions from Scott Thurling, Hugh Fitzpatrick and new arrival Matt Viihtonen (Finn/Australian!!). It will be interesting to see how the teams interpret the new rulings on "beneficial" treatment for inclusion of Finnish batsmen in the top six.....

On the bowling front, Rakesh, Gautam and the spin of Sanjeev will likely form the backbone of Helsinki. The other teams have a widespread list of bowlers, including some Finns who will also be encouraged to have four overs in the first 30 of the innings to gain their team some bonus runs - watch this space!!!!"