Italy defeated Denmark by 18 runs and were crowned ICC European Division 1 Champions under lights on Finals Day in Hove.
Italy who won the toss and chose to bat under the lights got off to a great start, with an opening partnership of 82 by Andy Northcote and Dinidu Marage who scored 41 runs including 5 fours before being dismissed off the bowling of Syed Bashir. Andy Northcote who batted fantastically throughout brought his 50 up in 31 balls, shortly after Peter Petricola was dismissed by a brilliant catch on the boundary by Aftab Ahmed for 31 runs. Carl Sandri came and went in his opening ball being stumped by Freddie Klokker.
Northcote whose excellent batting performance showcased many sublime shots, scored an unbeaten 68 runs from 41 balls including 10 fours. Captain Damian Crowley let loose in the final few overs scoring a quick fire 66 runs including 3 sixes. Syed Bashir, Hamid Shah and Bobby Chawla all took a wicket a piece and Italy ended on 215- 3.
The Denmark run chase took an early setback with Carsten Pedersen falling for just 2 runs in 1.5 overs. Denmark star man and leading run scorer for the tournament with 464 runs Freddie Klokker batted alongside Aftab Ahmed steadily putting on the runs. Italian captain Damian Crowley's breakthrough came in a timely fashion trapping Ahmed lbw for 29. After some superb batting Klokker was dismissed for 58 in 36 balls, including 7 fours and 1 six leaving Denmark at 138-3 in 12.3 overs; leaving him with an average of 77.33 runs per match.
Kamran Mahmood brought his fifty up with a boundary 52 runs in 27 balls, but was shortly dismissed for 58 after being caught and bowled by Crowley whose delight was evident. Denmark's hopes began to slip away as Hamid Shah was out for 8 and Taha Ahmed bowled by Marage for 6. Chawla was run out for 12 as wickets began to fall. In the final over needing 26 runs Denmark's Syed Bashir was out for 6 and fell short of the total by 18 runs.
Italy's captain Damian Crowley was delighted with the victory, " I am pretty much lost for words, winning the tournament has been great effort and shows the character in our squad," said Crowley.
Most Valuable Player was announced as Denmark's Freddie Klokker who said, " It is always nice to win prizes, but we are very disappointed with the loss. My 129 not out in the semi finals was the best I have ever batted. It was an amazing wicket here at Hove and it has been a great tournament," said Klokker.
In the other matches of the day at Blackstone, France overwhelmed Austria to clinch fifth place in the tournament, with skipper Arun Ayyavooraju leading from the front with a 54-ball 59.
He and Waseem Bhatti (32) added 65 for the second wicket, creating a platform from which the side was able to reach a total of 151 for six, with Ayyavooraju only departing in the final over. Lakmal Kasthuriarachchige (two for 23) and Satyam Subhash (two for 29) were the most successful of the Austrian bowlers.
Rory Gribbell picked up two quick wickets when Austria replied, but the real destroyer was Williamdeep Singh, whose four overs brought as many wickets at the cost of just 16 runs. Only Kasthuriarachchige (19), Armaan Randhawa (13) and captain Amar Naeem (13) were able to reach double figures as their side were dismissed for 67 in 15.2 overs. A measure of the total dominance of the French attack were the figures of Shahid Malik, who bowled 3.2 overs with one maiden and claimed two for 3.
At the other end of the rankings, Sweden successfully chased a Belgian total of 153 for seven to win by five wickets and avoid the wooden spoon. Nirvam Shah also played a valuable captain's innings, making 48 from 43 deliveries and sharing useful partnerships with Sheras Sheikh (20) and Waqas Shafiq (45 from 31), while Mahesh Krishnamoorthy's nine-ball 15 not out helped his side to a decent total.
But Sweden took command with a fine second-wicket stand of 99 between Sadat Sidiqi, whose 59 came from 41 deliveries and included nine fours and two sixes, and Sarmad Imitiaz, who compiled a comparatively sedate 50-ball 43. Although Sheraz Sheikh eventually removed both Sidiqi and Yasir Ikram, but Sunny Sharma and Naveed Anjum guided their side home, completing the victory off the first ball of the final over.
Germany and Norway, played for seventh place overall, produced the most exciting finish of the competition, with Germany winning by a single run. Damon Crawford struck twice when Germany, having elected to bat, began their innings, but Khalid Butt and Asif Khan led the fightback with a third-wicket stand of 64 before the former was run out by Abidul Haq for a 37-ball 47. Khan went on to make 55 from just 35 deliveries, hitting one four and five sixes, and with Nafees Ahmad and Demuni de Silva chipping in with 15 and 19 not out respectively the Germans reached 162 for six.
Needing more than eight an over, Norway built their innings carefully, Suhail Iftikhar making a run-a-ball 26, but Iftikhar Hussain then created greater momentum with a rapid 54, made from 33 deliveries with four fours and three sixes. Safir Hayat contributed 26 off just 11 balls, but a flurry of wickets in the closing stages held up the Norwegians' progress, and in the end they finished just one run short with eight wickets down.
Victory came a good deal easier for the Isle of Man, who completed a seven-wicket victory over Gibraltar in their ninth-place play-off.
Their heroes were Arne van den Berg, who claimed three for 9 in an impressive four-over spell which was instrumental in containing Gibraltar to 110 for seven, and Jaco Jansen, who batted through their reply and made a 40-ball 46, sharing a second-wicket stand of 56 with Phillip Littlejohns (38).
Kieron Ferrary top-scored for Gibraltar with an undefeated 28, but their total never seemed likely to be enough and the Manx batsmen cruised to victory with 19 balls to spare.
Italy beat Denmark by 18 runs at Hove
Italy 215-3 (20.0 overs) A Northcote 68 not out, D Crowley 66 not out, D Marage 41
Denmark (20.0 overs) F Klokker 58, K Mahmood 58; D Arsakulasuriya 2-34