Luxembourg vs Switzerland – Tikkurila
31st July 2022 – 4pm
Having each placed third in their respective groups, Switzerland and Luxembourg faced each other to become fifth out of ten teams in the Sub-Regional Qualifiers Group B. Both teams were up for the challenge and eagerly awaited the start.
At 4pm, the teams took to the field, Luxembourg to bat first, having won the toss.Switzerland openers Ashwin Vinod and Kenardo Fletcher, once again bowled tight and allowed the batting side few chances, as well as getting quick wickets. The score of 0 for 2 wickets at the end of two overs was testament to this. Switzerland were strong in the field: calling; encouraging one another; and really playing positively. Wickets fell regularly. When between the 3rd and 7th overs, no wickets fell, Faheem Nazir, the Swiss captain, made a bowling change and brought himself on, immediately getting a breakthrough. And again, at the end of the 11th, when no wicket had fallen, Jai Sinh was brought in to the attack, having not bowled previously in the tournament. This proved an enlightened change, as Jai went on to take five wickets, finishing with figures of 23 for 5 off 4 overs. Luxembourg never looked settled, and although they ran hard, and there were some good shots, Switzerland looked like the side with the answers.
During the innings, there was a rain break for half an hour, but no overs were lost, as there was a time cushion for that scenario. The only issue faced, was that the Swiss captain, when coming back on to the field, slipped on the wet ground and twisted his ankle, so he was off the field of play for 26 minutes.
This meant that Faheem could not open the innings for the Swiss side. Osama Mahmmod and Noorkhan Ahmadi went out to open. The Swiss got off to the worst possible start, when, one ball later, Osama had to return, bowled for a golden duck.
Noorkhan batted positively, going for shots and Jai, the next batsman, rotated the strike. When Jai was bowled and the score was on 19-2 off 3.1 overs, Faheem came in to bat. As he was injured, quick singles were always going to be a challenge, and so he went for boundaries from the start. Unfortunately, after connecting with some, he got under a ball and was caught. Noorkhan and Arjun Vinod were both out shortly after that (36-5) bringing on Azeem Nazir and Ali Nayyer. They both played positively and sensibly, given the situation, steadying the ship, whilst also keeping the run rate to nearly the required 6 an over. Switzerland looked set and heading for a victory.
After Azeem’s wicket (36 off 40 balls), in came Sathya Narayanan, only to be run out shortly after going for a quick single to rotate the strike and get the in form Ali back on strike. Although Aneesh Kumar, the next batter, batted positively and rotated the strike with Ali, the required run rate kept increasing.
Despite the first ball of the 19th over going for a 6, Ali was unable to repeat the heroics of the game against France. With his wicket falling (28 off 33) in the 19th over, Switzerland were unable to grab the victory and had to settle for sixth in the tournament.
Disappointing on the day, but given they were the 10th ranked side in the tournament, positives can still be taken.