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Ireland, the only ICC Full Member in the Europe region qualifier for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024, emerged victorious in their tournament opener against Italy, securing a narrow seven-run win.
The ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Europe Region Qualifier 2023, a prelude to the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024, kicked off with an intriguing match. In their tournament opener against Italy, Ireland, the sole ICC Full Member in the competition, clinched a thrilling seven-run victory.
In an exciting clash between Ireland and Italy at Edinburgh (Golden) on Thursday (20 July), Ireland emerged victorious by 7 runs, with Curtis Campher playing the hero’s role. Ireland faced early setbacks as they lost their first three batters with only 46 runs on the board, with only opener Andy Balbirnie reaching a double-digit score (26). Paul Stirling (2) and Lorcan Tucker (8) were dismissed cheaply. However, a crucial 76-run partnership between Harry Tector (41 off 31 balls) and Curtis Campher (61 off 39 balls) steadied the innings. Despite losing wickets thereafter, Ireland managed to post a total of 158/8 in 20 overs.
Italian bowlers Gareth Berg (3/24) and Harry Manenti (3/39) impressed with three wickets each.
In response, Italy struggled early on, losing four wickets with just 41 runs on the board. Gian-Piero Meade (26), Jaspreet Singh (21), and captain Gareth Berg (26) fought hard to keep their team in the game. With 20 runs needed in the final over, Italy made a valiant effort but fell short, finishing at 151/9 in 20 overs. Paul Stirling’s led Irish side celebrated a hard-fought victory, with Mark Adair (3/33), Josh Little (2/29), and Ben White (2/22) contributing with vital wickets.
Curtis Campher, the star of the match with his impressive 61 runs and bowling figures of 3-0-19-1, was deservedly awarded the Player of the Match for his exceptional all-round performance.
In the opening match of the tournament, Jersey delivered a dominating performance, thrashing Austria by eight wickets with 64 balls to spare. Opting to field first after winning the toss at Edinburgh, Jersey restricted Austria to a modest total of 104/9 in their allotted 20 overs, with captain Razmal Shigiwal top-scoring with 16 runs. Jersey’s bowling attack was on point, with Julius Sumerauer, captain Charles Perchard, and Nick Greenwood each grabbing two wickets.
In response, Jersey’s batting was exceptional, as they chased down the target in just 9.2 overs. Their swift chase marked the joint seventh-fastest successful chase in men’s T20I history. Nick Greenwood, who had earlier taken two wickets, showcased his all-round brilliance by scoring an unbeaten 50 off 27 balls, smashing eight fours and a solitary six. His outstanding performance earned him the well-deserved Player of the Match award.
In the same day’s match, Scotland dominated Germany with a 72-run victory (DLS method) in Edinburgh. Electing to field first, Germany faced a challenging total of 234/5 in 20 overs set by Scotland. Opening batsman Ollie Hairs displayed brilliance with 73 runs off 36 balls, accompanied by captain Richie Berrington’s impressive 60 runs off 31 balls. Michael Leask’s quick cameo of 38 not out in 14 balls bolstered the score at the end.
Sahir Naqash was the lone German bowler to secure more than one wicket in the game with figures of 2/44. When Germany reached 33/1 in 5.3 overs, the rain interrupted play, and later, they had to chase a revised DLS target of 138 runs in 11 overs. In the end, Germany could only muster 65/7 in 11 overs. Opener Joshua van Heerden top-scored with 17 runs in that innings.
Scotland’s bowlers, Mark Watt (2/12), Safyaan Sharif (2/9), and Gavin Main (2/8), each claimed two wickets, contributing to Germany’s struggle. For his outstanding batting, opener Ollie Hairs deservedly received the Player of the Match award.
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