Austria beat Germany in tense finish
Austria edged a tense game with local rivals Germany, the first between the two sides since 2002, thanks to a frugal spell from off-spinner Munir Ahmed and the cool head of number ten batsman Tiran Perera.
After winning the toss and batting Germany struggled from the off, ending the six over powerplay on 26-2, wicket-keeper Amar Naeem having taking a superb diving catch to remove Khalid Butt.
Only Khaled Khan and Andre Leslie showed any prolonged resistance, putting on 36 for the fifth wicket, albeit at a pedestrian rate. Thereafter the wickets began to tumble once more as the Germans attempted to up the rate, resulting in some dismissals that the batsmen may not wish to re-visit in the highlights package.
The 17th over of the innings, bowled by the frugal Ahmed, was a double wicket-maiden as Germany. In the end it took Shakeel Hassan hitting the final two deliveries of the innings for boundaries to take his side to 109. Ahmed, with 3-7 from his three overs, was the outstanding Austrian bowler.
At half-way Austria might have thought an easy win to be on the cards but it was not to be as they were themselves reduced to 37-4.
With the top-order back in the hutch the responsibility fell on the shoulders of Babar Nadeem. He played an understated but ultimately crucial knock whilst wickets fell around him.
Nadeem did offer a guilt-edged chance at the end of the 17th over, skying one to wicket-keeper Satyanrayana Srinivas which he somehow contrived to shell.
As Austria scampered for the last few runs there were some more farcical moments. A slip in mid-pitch looked likely to force a run out but the chance went amiss as the fielder slipped himself. Nadeem was eventually run out, leaving the last pair needing six to win from eight balls.
Five were still needed off the last, bowled by Khan, but he failed to get his variations in and Austrian number ten Perera capitalised. After leg-byes were taken off the first two deliveries Perera pushed two off the third and then scampered one off the fourth to get over the winning line with two runs to spare.