Emotional scenes as Malta win first match

THERE were tears of joy at Sporting Alfas on Wednesday when Malta claimed victory over Portugal. Man of the match John Callus attempted to speak after receiving his award but broke down after his sideís stunning seven wickets victory.

On the first two days, Maltaís batsmen were blown away, bowled out for 90 and 91 but in match three, despite chasing Portugalís 187, they reached their target with almost 10 overs to spare, Callus batting throughout the innings for 64.

It didnít help Malta that Callus injured his hamstring in the opening game against Spain and missed the match against Israel but the difference in the team performance yesterday was stark.

As for Portugal, they peaked on Tuesday for the game against their neighbours and were unable to follow up. Nadeem Butt, top scorer with 69 against Spain was dismissed by Ronnie Sacco for five and although the top four all got to 20, none reached 25. Intesab Medhi, from No 6, finished top scorer with 33 while Angelo Spiteri took four wickets for 55.

Malta made light of their reply. Siddaharth Hazare got the wickets of Frankie Spiteri and Andrew Naudi but by then the team without a win in the competition were just 75 from victory. Javeed Shah scored half of them and although he was bowled by Dinesh Maugi, Callus and captain Michael Caruana were, fittingly, in the middle when they completed their historic victory.