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Germany top the table, Belgium and Austria get first wins – WCL Europe Division 1

Usman Arif pulls for a boundary for Sweden during their match v Austria
Germany beat Norway by 113 runs, while Belgium and Austria recorded their first wins of the tournament.

Norway v Germany

Germany proved too strong for the Norwegians in an all-round effort at VOC in Rotterdam. After winning the toss and deciding to bat, the Germans were put under some pressure by a disciplined Norwegian bowling attack. Mudassar Muhammad (61) played his most patient innings of the tournament, following up his pair of centuries with another half century.

German Vice-captain Amith Sarma (82) showed his class with a steady knock to get the German total to 262 with support from the lower order. Norwegian youngster Junaid Sheikh (3-61/10) put a good effort in with the ball, taking three wickets on debut.

Norway looked strong in the chase, despite the early loss of wickets. German bowler Sajid Liaqat (5-39/10) created big problems for the Norwegians, getting some movement on the ball. His five wickets were instrumental in putting the Germans on top. S. Iftikhar showed some Norwegian grit, and batted positively for his 53 runs, he could not prevent the loss however as the Norwegians were bowled out on 149.

Austria v Sweden

It came down to the last ball in Amstelveen, where Austria successfully defended their score of 252, holding off the Swedes by two runs. Momentum shifted back and forth several times in this thrilling encounter. Shadnan Khan (119) was instrumental for the Austrians, batting for most of the innings and only losing his wicket with three balls left in the last over.

The score of 252 looked imposing for the chasing Swedes as they lost their first wicket on 0. Sadat Sidiqi (36) and A Venkatesh (51) were undeterred, however, and went on to add 97 runs for the second wicket. Sabir Zahoor (50) also contributed with a half century as the Swedish looked to be cruising to victory despite the regular loss of wickets.

Tension was at a maximum with the Swedish number 11 facing the Austrian opening bowler with four runs required. The ball produced a single, leaving the Swedes two runs short of the target.

Belgium v France

Belgium won the toss and elected to bat, hoping to start positively and put up a good score. They were in trouble early, losing their first four wickets for 60 runs. The middle order were up to the challenge with the partnership between F. Khaliq (72) and S Jamil (46) lifting the score to 139. Shaheryar Butt contributed with a blistering cameo as he went on to hit 42 runs of 24 balls, lifting the Belgian score to a respectable 225.

The French were in early trouble with the first wicket going down in the first over. U Shahid(73) who was crucial in the victory over Sweden looked strong, playing shots over the top and into the gaps. His partnership with Usman Khan (45) looked like it would win the game for the French.

The Belgians stuck to their plans with discipline and created some wicket opportunities as the required run rate went up. Some good fielding helped and the French lost their final wicket in the 45th over, 50 runs short of the target. F Khaliq cemented his player of the match award with bowling figures of 4-35/10

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