Cricket national team at European Championships

Monday, July 4, 2011, 10:28

The Maltese cricket national team participated in the ICC European Division 2 Championships being held in Belgium.

After Malta lost to Greece, things did not brighten up at the group stages. The following day Malta lost badly to Spain and the only highlights were Ronnie Sacco who took three wickets and Andy Lenard two wickets. On the Wednesday Malta had two games one against Austria and the other against Sweden. Again Malta faltered in the batting and lost both games. Andy Naudi took three wickets against Austria and Mike Caruana made twenty two runs. Against Sweden only highlights were Andy Naudi and Mike Caruana taking two wickets a piece. The fifth and final game of the group stage against Belgium was also a lose. Malta managed in this game started to bring respect into the batting with Mike Caruana making twenty nine runs and John Grima making twenty eight runs.

After the group stage Malta ended bottom and now had to play Cyprus and Sweden in the play offs for 9th. 10th. and 11th. Places.

Malta played Cyprus first and batted. The Malta batsmen finally made well deserved runs. Andy Naudi lead the charge with sixty runs from fifty one balls. Ronnie Sacco made twenty two runs from nine balls. Nowell Khosla chipped in with nineteen runs. The Malta team totalled a respectable score of 158 runs. The Cyprus team put up a great fight but were bowled out in the eighteenth over for 119 runs, giving Malta their first win of the tournament. Mike Caruana took four wickets, Andy Naudi three wickets, Ronnie Sacco two wickets and Andy Lenard one. Malta now need to beat Sweden to confirm 9th. Place.

Malta again bats first in a rain reduced game of twelve overs. Justin Brooke made thirty six runs from twenty eight runs and Andy Naudi seventeen runs from thirteen balls in a total of 95 runs, Malta took early wickets and looked in command for most of the overs. The penultimate over brought the Cyprus team to needing seven runs to win of the last over. Playing on a ground which had very short mid on boundary was going to be tough for any bowler to bowl. Andy Naudi took the challenge and bowled probably the best over in his international life. His first ball he bowled the batsmen, the next two balls, a single of each. His fourth ball was a great catch by Sam Aquilina. His fifth ball, no run. With one ball remaining Sweden were still in the game. Naudi bowls and they could only manage a leg bye and Malta wins by three runs.

Malta ended on a high note. Andy Naudi was top wicket taker of the tournament with fourteen; Mike Caruana was third with twelve and Ronnie Sacco fourth with eleven wickets. Mike Caruana was top of the catches by a fielder with seven. John Grima was fourth on the wicket keeping dismissals. Mike Caruana was also fourth on the most valuable player and Andy Naudi was eighth – there were 152 players in the tournament.

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