Hosts stay in touch with top of table

SPAIN got the win they desperately needed on the third day of the Championships, but Belgium made them fight all the way.

Indeed Belgium, after winning the toss and batting first, were wonderfully positioned at 172 for three in the 38th over after a stand of 90 between Shaheryar Butt and Nadeem Khan but first Phil Reid had Khan caught behind and in the next over Butt was stumped for 77. The last seven wickets fell for 34 and they failed to bat out the overs, dismissed in 47 for 206.

At this stage Butt had the highest score of the tournament, passing his namesake on the Portugal team, on the same pitch the previous day but three hours later the Belgian was overtaken by Jimmy Morgan on his way to the man of match award for Spain.

Morgan came to the middle at 45 for three in the 17th over and was still there, 82 not out, when Wasim Ur Rehman hit the winning boundary with 11 balls to spare. Morgan dominated a fourth wicket stand of 67 with Graham Howe and 43 with Armaghan Khan for the fourth and fifth wickets but Rehman with 27 from 22 balls hurried Spain to their victory with the perfect acceleration.

Morgan, though earned the biggest plaudits at the end with 82 from 126 balls. He hit only five boundaries on the slow outfield, eight came at the other end, but with the scoreboard ticking over, while he was there Spain were in control and they can now look forward to Friday’s showdown against top of the table Israel.