Norway outplay Isle of Man
Norway dominated their first ever encounter with the Isle of Man in the last of today's three matches at Chelmsford on the opening day of ICC Europe Division Two.
Chasing a sub-par 117 under lights on a damp and humid evening, they won by six wickets, reaching the target with four balls to spare.
40 year-old opener Zaheer Ashiq led the way, striking two clean sixes in an innings of 33. He was the second man to fall when he was caught and bowled by Alex Stokoe with the total on 55 but his departure did not stall his team.
There were some nervy moments, particularly after Ansar Iqbal became the third man to go with more than 30 still needed, but whilst Muhammad Shahbaz Butt remained at the crease the result was never really in doubt.
Going into the last over Norway still needed five but they made short work of it with an edged single off the first ball from number six Safir Hayat bringing Butt back on strike to drive Oliver Webster through the covers for four to complete the win. Butt finished 36 not out.
Norway were in inspired form in the field, effecting two run outs and taking several good catches.
Isle of Man got off to a decent start, the openers putting on 24 before Sufyan Saleem set the tone for Norway with a superb catch to remove Adam Mcauley for 11. His partner Luke Lacey also fell before the end of the powerplay having top scored with 23, both openers being dismissed off the bowling of Safir Hayat.
That second wicket brought Isle of Man captain Philip Littlejohns to the crease but he did not last long before being caught behind off Damon Crawford for 1. Though the run rate remained decent his team were in trouble at 74-4 by the half-way point.
The pressure was kept up by a stunning direct hit from Saleem that resulted in the run out of Daniel Kniveton, quickly followed by the dismissals of Oliver Webster and Alex Stokoe. The wicket of Stokoe broke a brief partnership with his brother Max, who survived to be the last man out for 16 as Isle of Man were bowled out with seven balls to spare.
Hayat and Crawford took three wickets each but it was an all-round team effort from Norway, who outplayed their opponents in all departments.
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