ICC Europe Media Release
Denmark won the 2008 ICC European Indoor Championship in Finland this weekend, defeating old foes Portugal in a thrilling encounter. The Danes scrambled a two wicket win off the penultimate delivery, overhauling the Portugal total of 132.
Hamid Shah was their hero in the decider, making an unbeaten 28 as he shared in a match winning partnership with Taha Ahmed (25*), after they were precariously placed at 65 for 3.
For Paulo Buccimazza, the captain of Portugal, there was the consolation of being awarded the Player of the Tournament accolade. He finished the leading run scorer in the competition, and once again in the final showed his quality making an unbeaten 38.
The strength of the Danish squad meant that they went through the whole competition unbeaten – 8 games in total. Skipper Finn Kleissl marshalled his squad superbly, and their disciplined bowling, backed up by athletic fielding, was a powerful combination which ensured their deserved success.
The host nation Finland finished a very encouraging third, and was just reward for the hard work the side put in to prepare for their debut as a host nation. They can be very proud of their efforts, and in wicket-keeper Jonathan Scamans they had one of the star performers in the event.
Belgium will be pleased by their 4th place finish, and in Jamie Farmiloe and Simon Newport had two players who shone. The improvement in their cricket is testament to the hard work being carried out by their coaches. They had the biggest margin of victory in the games – 117 runs over Hellas (Greece).
France improved considerably as the competition progressed and thanks to wins over Hellas and Luxembourg, clinched the 5th position. They came dramatically close to recording the highest ever European Indoor score when they totalled 158 for 1 – just 1 short of the 159 made by Hellas in 2002.
Their main performer was the talented Arun Ayyavooraju, who performed consistently throughout.
Luxembourg steadily improved as the competition went on, and they will have been delighted at the recognition for their sporting behaviour by the winning of the ‘Spirit of Cricket Award'.
Skipper William Heath was just pipped for the Player of the Tournament, but he did record the highest individual score over the 3 days, with an undefeated 41.
Hellas finished 7th, but there were moments of encouragement for their very young and inexperienced team. Their main contributor was Spyridon-Marios Kavvadias, who turned in some determined all-round performances.
ICC Europe Regional Development Manager Richard Holdsworth was delighted at the success of the Championships saying, 'It's been an amazing few days of cricket, finished off with a nail-biting final. The facilities here have been exemplary, with two pitches playing superbly. The players have all learnt a lot and improved as a result. This is what it's all about – it's primarily a development tournament.
'This is by far the youngest group of players we've had in the ten years, and that's encouraging, as it means that there are better, younger players being put forward by their Associations. I am also thrilled by the fantastic web coverage which has resulted in over 50,000 hits to our website over the weekend - a great promotion for the game in Europe.'
European Chairman Roger Knight OBE, spoke glowingly about the event: 'I think indoor cricket is a marvellous way of promoting the game, particularly in some countries where they struggle with pitches and they haven't got a cricketing culture.
'It helps with the basics of cricket – bowling straight, finding the gaps when batting, and running quickly between the wickets. All the teams have played good cricket, and it's been a pleasure to watch so many young teams in action. This is what European cricket is all about, and it's a great experience for them to meet people from other countries and learn from them.'
Special praise went to the superb hosting of the event by the Finnish Cricket Association, where the facilities in the wonderful setting of Kuortane were nothing short of magnificent.
The final tribute went to organiser Andrew Armitage who in conjunction with his staff ensured that the event ran smoothly, and his meticulous planning was praised by all gathered.