Belgium promoted despite defeat
Europe Division 3 has finished with Belgium out in front, but only just after defeat to Spain today in La Manga.
Belgium were batting first after losing the toss, and it was a partnership of 44 between Brighton Watambwa and Sahid Muhammad for the second wicket that give them their early impetus.
But Waqas Shafiq was the only other batsmen to make any sort of significant contribution, scoring an unbeaten 30 from 21 balls. He shared in an unbroken eighth wicket partnership of 29 in 4 overs that helped ensure Belgium recorded a defendable total of 131-7.
Knowing they needed to score their runs quickly to gain promotion to Division 2, Spain scored 20 from the first two overs of their reply. But a brief flurry of wickets saw them reduced to 27-3, and they had only scored 34 when the fourth wicket eventually fell in the sixth over.
Nisar Ahmed and Tanveer Iqbal got them back into the game with a partnership of 89 for the fifth wicket. Ahmed was the main run scorer, reaching 65 before he became the third and final wicket for Brighton Watambwa in today's match.
The next batsman was dismissed a few balls later, but captain Iqbal held on to guide his team to victory, winning by four wickets. The net run rate calculations showed that they hadn't scored their runs quickly enough though, and Belgium were celebrating promotion to Division 2. Had Spain chased their target in just three balls fewer, they'd be the ones booking their ticket to Essex.
The other game of the day saw Greece take on Finland, the latter without a win in the tournament.
Put into bat, Greece lost their first two wickets cheaply with just eight runs on the board. But they soon turned the game their way, thanks to a dominant performance from Anastasios Manousis.
Sharing in a 86 run third wicket partnership and a 91 run fourth wicket partnership, he scored the tournament's only century, making 102 from 61 balls. He helped the Greeks post 185-3 from their 20 overs.
Finland had little chance at chasing that big target, especially as they collapsed to 66-8, Andreas Koutsoufis and Dimitrios Triantafillidis both taking three wickets. A ninth wicket partnership of 66 between Ekhpelwak Kuchey and Zakiullah Kamal helped ensure that Finland didn't disgrace themselves too much as they reached 132-8 from their 20 overs.
The century from Manousis helped ensure that he finished as the leading run scorer in the tournament. Three players shared the leading wicket-taker position, with Belgium's Brighton Watambwa and Greek bowlers Andreas Koutsoufis and Spyridon Goustis all taking nine wickets. Belgium's Abdul Rehman finished as the tournament MVP thanks to 107 runs and seven wickets.
Tournament winners Belgium will now move on to Division 2 in Essex towards the end of June, where they will join Austria, Germany, Gibraltar, Isle of Man and Norway.