25.07.22 – 4pm
France won the toss and elected to bat.
On a sunny day in bright and windy conditions, France set about posting a challenging target for Switzerland. G. McKeon, fresh from his 76 against the Czech Republic, opened the batting with H. Jackson. After a considered start, Jackson lost his wicket to the bowling of Ali Nayyer, caught deep in the outfield by #14 Ashwin Vinod, putting France at 31 for 1 off 4.5 overs. The in form McKeon kept batting strongly, reaching his 50 in the 12th over, in just 38 deliveries. He seemed to be able to hit a range of shots, 4s and 6s, at will. He was ably supported by Z. Ahmad, but after 12.2 overs, he was bowled by an excellent ball from Arjun Vinod for 18 off 24 balls.
McKeon carried on batting strongly, swapping partners regularly (Amjad (c) 9 off 17 balls bowled Nayyer, Rahmatullah Mangal 4 off 6 balls caught Sathya Narayanan off the bowling of Faheem Nazir). The 18 year old scored 109 off 61 balls, becoming the youngest player to score 100 runs in a T20I. He was out in the last over, trying to get another run, run out by Jai Sinh and Sathya Narayanan. France posted a score of 157 for 5 off their 20 overs. The standout bowlers were Ashwin Vinod, conceding only 25 runs in his 4 overs and Ali Nayyer, who took two wickets for 26 runs in his three overs.
Despite the brilliant 100 for McKeon, the score looked a little light, but anything over 150 is a defendable target on this ground, so the Switzerland innings would need to be good.
Switzerland opened with Faheem Nazir and Aidan Andrews, a righthand lefthand combination. Aidan, after a great cover drive, got out trying for another, for 4 off 6 balls, with the score on 6 off 1.3 overs. Things settled for Switzerland after that, with Arjun Vinod coming in and the two playing a range of shots to keep the score ticking over slowly. Although Switzerland were not that far behind the run rate, they were also never ahead of it.
The loss of Arjun’s wicket for 14 off 22 balls brought a flurry of wickets, with Jai Sinh, Osama Mahmood, Sathya Narayanan and Aneesh Kumar falling cheaply, as well as the wicket of Faheem falling for 67 off 46 balls, run out.
With the score on 101 for 7 off 15.5 overs, France’s total seemed unattainable, but in came Ali Nayyer, who had other ideas.
From the first ball, Ali Nayyer set off at a rate of knots, playing very aggressive shots and giving himself chances for 4s and 6s. Asad hit a full toss back at the bowler and it was caught, so he had to go for 7 off 12 balls. Ali continued playing strong shots, hitting boundaries regularly. First Fletcher was in the supporting role, hitting singles off each ball, until he was out for 3 off 4 balls, and then Ashwin Vinod supported, giving Ali the strike.
What looked like an unachievable target of 46 in 3.4 overs, quickly receded with each Ali boundary, until only 16 were needed off the last over.
After much discussion, McKeon was given the ball. It was nailbiting.
After the first three balls went for 4 runs, 12 were needed off the last 3 balls. The first went for 6, the second for 2, and with everyone’s hearts in their mouths, Ali hit a 4 off the last ball, closing the innings out with a win for Switzerland by one wicket.
Game one: Switzerland vs France, Tikkurila, Finland
25.07.22 – 4pm