Israel given scare by Belgium


The Israelis appeared down and out at 76 for eight in the 28th over after Shahid Mohammad had taken three wickets in nine balls. But Issac Talkar, first in a 25 runs partnership for the ninth wicket with Bangera, who faced 45 balls for his 12 and then No 11 Eliezar Samson, 29 balls for seven vital runs, took Israel to within two runs of victory at the start of the last over.

That over was given to 17 year old Arkshat Sanghvi, on the ICC's European Centre of Excellence Programme at Under-19 level. For three balls he did everything right, Talkar, unable to get the ball away for even a single. At this stage he had scored just 11 runs from 65 balls but, importantly, he was still there to face the next. A somewhat fortunate deflection flew off his bat, over the wicket-keeperís head to the boundary and Israel had won by one wicket with two balls to spare. The Belgians, many sprawled out on the ground, were devastated.

Defending only 116, they had done the hard work in those first 28 overs. Shar Khan started it by dismissing both Israel openers with just 11 runs on the board and young Sanghvi followed up by having Yaniv Razporker and Eliezar Solomon caught to reduce the Israelis to 49 for four.

A 22 runs stand for the fifth wicket seemed to put the favourites back on course but then four wickets fell for five runs, including Raymond Aston who, forced to bat with a runner for the second half of his innings after sustaining cramp, top scored with a vital 39 with three fours and a six, as many as the rest of his team-mates managed in total.

On a slow pitch and slower outfield Belgium had found it just as hard to score boundaries. They had only seven in their innings, with two of those coming near the end from Sanghvi. All the Belgium batsmen found it difficult to score, Richard Nash and Nadeem Khan the only batsmen to get into the 20s and even they were both out for 23, two of the four victims of Razporker, Israelís most successful bowler.

Belgium were grateful for another 23, the number of wides in the 27 extras conceded in the innings but in the end a total of 116 was indefensible- just.