Malta relegated for first time
MALTA were relegated from Division Three for the first time when they lost to Belgium on the last day of the championships.
A total of 178 was 10 less than they chased down to beat Portugal for their only win on Friday but not enough to trouble the Belgians who, after losing their first three games, finished the tournament in style with two wins to lift them to fourth place.
A fourth wicket stand of 70 between Angelo Spiteri and Micahel Caruana was the backbone of the Malta innings, after they were asked to bat first, but using up 24 overs they never had the momentum to kick on and although they duly doubled the score in the last 20 overs it was just too slow at the start. Caruana faced 109 balls for his 28 and Angelo 72 for his 40 although he did hit five boundaries, including a six.
Six of the seven Belgium bowlers shared the wickets with fifth change Sohail Kalim returning the best figures, two for 18 from eight overs.
Only one other team has scored more than 187 on the bottom pitch at La Manga but Belgium were to be the second thanks to an undefeated 84 from opener Nadeem Shah and 53 by Javed Iqbal. Although they were parted 34 runs from victory, their second wicket stand of 127 in 31 overs was more than enough to confirm victory and end Malta’s ever-present stay in Division Three.