Svanholm take T20 title
As part of the preparations for the upcoming ICC European Division 1 Championship in Jersey the Danish T20 Championship was held over two weekends in June for the top 8 teams. As the Championship is voluntary, Husum dropped out and was replaced by the 1. division leaders Esbjerg. The first weekend was divided into a west group playing in Herning and an east group playing at Svanholm Park. The best two teams from each group would play the finals at Svanholm Park the weekend after.
In the east group Svanholm pitch no. 2 is just the thing for hard-hitting Ishoj batsman Pawan Kumar, who with 64 in 28 balls (5 fours, 5 sixes) gave Ishøj a super start. Siddique Raja's 51 in 23 balls wasn't far behind and Ishoj did well to score 224 losing all wickets. KB `s reply of 161 for 9 was almost slow in this context, but not bad in 20 overs. Mohammed Farooq's 69 were scored in 37 balls.
Svanholm Zishan Kahn is a powerful player in this form of cricket and began with 61 in 39 balls to give the home team a good start against Norrebro. It was effectively closed by James Moniz with 47 in 22 balls, so Svanholm ended with 176 for 4, which Norrebro realistically could only achieve if Aftab Ahmed was in full vigor. Svanholm did for him what they could by dropping him 5 times by 3 missed catches and 2 failed stumpings, but at some point it was going to go wrong - and so it did. Nørrebro ended with 129 for 8.
Svanholm walked over the two matches Sunday and won thereby the east group after Saturday's opening victory over Copenhagen. With the score at 167 for 5 against Ishoj and 201 for 7 against the KB, the team showed that it has batsmen who have mastered this variety of cricket. Second place was decided by the match between Ishoj and Norrebro where Ishoj's competitive 155 for 7 turned out to be not enough against the Norrebro's batting power of Aftab Ahmed (51*) and Jahangir Ashraf (84*).
Glostrup took part in the west group and although consigned to play their matches on the inferior pitch no. 2 they still won all their group matches outright by beating AB, Herning and Esbjerg. But who was to come in at second place was a different matter. Herning beat Esbjerg easily but ran into trouble against AB and as Esbjerg in the last match pulled themselves together and beat AB in a close match, all three teams ended with a victory each. So the place in finals was decided by the NRR, where Herning were best.
The finals at Svanholm Park was a contest between Svanholm, Norrebro, Glostrup and Herning. On the Saturday Svanholm opened by playing Herning and batted first. It turned into a batting display with Hamid Shah celebrating his return to the national side by scoring a century and hitting the necessary 6 runs off the last ball. Brother Zishan hit a useful 61 as Svanholm ended on 191 for 3. Only Michael Pedersen offered any resistance in the Herning reply scoring 46 out of 122. On the adjacent pitch Glostrup's run of form came to an end with a surprising defeat to Norrebro. Glostrup opened up with a miserly 128 which should have been more after opener Scott O'Brien finally managed to score more than two scoring shots before getting out. He ended up with 61 but too many of his team mates hit the ball straight to a fielder and three were out first ball! Glostrup's score was no match for Norrebro with Aftab hitting a quick 41 and Saad Hafeez making sure with 28*.
In the afternoon Glostrup was vindicated in the match against Herning where the team ended with 162 after 20 overs. Scott was again in form with 40 while S Ahmed 45, Aftab Ahmed 35* took care of the rest. Since none of Herning wicket players managed to hang around and dominate the team could only make 122 for 7 in reply. After the morning's big score Svanholm came back down to earth against Norrebro. Hamid Shah lit up with a few nice strokes but then he sent the ball high into the sky and Norrebro caught everything. It was Hassan Rashid and Bobby Malik who kept the innings together while several team-mates hit the ball into the air. Only 128 was on the board after 20 overs and one got the feeling that it was not enough. Norrebro did however get the worst possible start by losing 2 wickets in the first over, of which one was Aftab Ahmed. Siar Anjum could swing the ball with control and when Zishan Shah was equally difficult from the other end came Norrebro into problems with 4 wickets down for 9 runs. Saad Hafeez was the rescuer with a dominant half of 57 but he got too little support from the rest of the team and Norrebro had to give up after Saad was caught out on the boundary lacking 18 runs.
Sunday morning saw Glostrup face favourites Svanholm. If Glostrup were to make it to the final it was necessary to win and win big enough to get past Norrebro's net run rate as they were better off. Glostrup got off to a good start betting first with Scott O'Brien again hitting more than two scoring strokes but with Peter Poulsen (54) in charge. However when the first wicket fell at 72 after 10 overs Glostrup's batting came off the rails as Svanholm's bowling and aggressive fielding kept them in a tight grip and Glostrup managed only 123 for 5. This was no challenge for Svanholm with Zishan Shah's quick fire innings and quick running between the wickets.
At the other morning match Herning and Norrebro met. Herning were anxious to go home with a victory and chose to bat first. Despite the loss of Troels Thogersen Martin Christensen (38) and Michael Pedersen (48) succeeded to get the scoring going. After 20 overs Herning had 169 on the board. That was a challenge for Norrebro. They were in trouble with 3 down for 33 but Saad Hafeez (67) and Rashid Ali (17) got the team back on track until Rashid was bowled by Herning's new weapon Glen Hedevang. But as long Saad was at the crease Norrebro were on a victory course, but then Glen struck with a precise throw on a quick single and Saad was gone. It was the turning point of the match as Norrebro ran out of steam and ended on 148 for 8.
Herning's victory meant that the second finalist had to be found by net run rate and here Norrebro were best. So the final was between Svanholm and Norrebro. The final itself turned out to be more of a one sided affair. I was obvious Norrebro had played three matches before while Svanholm's young side were in good form. WHile Norrebro ran one run, Svanholm would run two and Norrebro's body language in the field was easy to read. Norrebro batted first and despite 26 from Faisal Siddiq and 33* for Saad Hafeez they could only manage 116 for 7 in the 20 overs. This was no problem for Svanholm with Zameer Kahn hitting 55 not out as the home side romped home by seven wickets.
The next preparation for the Danes is the Nordic T20 Cup 9/10 July with Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland fighting it out. Last year Norway just won by a whisker but this year? One hopes the weather will hold as Copenhagen has just received 2 months rain in 1½ hours!!!!!