Europe T20 Qualifier In the current T20 World Cup European Qualifier Final, Scotland is destroying Austria by 166 runs, thanks in large part to George Munsey’s 132 not out off 61 balls. With only two games remaining, the hosts have regained control of their standings and are almost certain of making it to the 2024 T20 World Cup.
While victories by Italy and Jersey against Denmark and Jersey kept their faint qualifying chances alive, the distance between the two undefeated favourites, Ireland and Scotland, and the rest of the field is rapidly closing with just two days of play left Europe T20 Qualifier.
Europe T20 Qualifier Austria vs Scotland
In the morning match at Goldenacre, Munsey seemed determined to retake sole custody of the record after sharing it with opening partner Oli Hairs for less than 24 hours after Hairs had equalised it with a hit of 127* against Italy. First up, Munsey had a hopeful appeal for LBW after a timid poke at Amit Nathwani, but it was the last time he had to play defence for a while. After that, Munsey went on a hitting spree on the power play, executing five straight reverse sweeps, three of which went all the way to the rope.
He reached fifty off of 22 balls, the same speed as Hairs’s the day before against Italy. Munsey got the better of the hitting competition, reaching 69 runs off of 30 balls before Hairs holed out to deep midwicket off Abdullah Akbarjan for 23 runs off 12 balls. As a result of Akbarjan’s spell in the middle of the innings, neither Munsey nor Brandon McMullen hit a boundary for almost four overs. However, after scoring his second T20I century, Munsey started to loosen up again Europe T20 Qualifier.
After being on the receiving end of a Munsey onslaight, Umair Tariq scored 22 runs off the last four balls of the 14th over, including a big six into the nearby cemetery. However, soon after reclaiming his record, he was dismissed by Akbarjan for 132 after missing another reverse sweep and being struck in front. Akbarjan finished with eminently creditable figures of 2-22 in four overs, and no other bowler managed an economy rate below 10 or took a wicket before Richire Berrington came in to add runs in the final overs, scoring 40 off 19 balls to bring his team to 232-2.
Europe T20 Qualifier Although the Austrian chase was doomed from the outset, Iqbal Hossain got things off to a rousing start, hitting Sharif for a boundary over backward square in the first over before being caught by McMullen at deep square off the next ball. Only he seemed aggressive in the Austrian top order, and only Jaweed Sadran scored in double figures as the rest of Austria were bowled out for 66, with Michael Leask being the best of the Scottish bowlers.
Europe T20 Qualifier – Italy vs Denmark
At the Grange, Denmark’s match against Italy was a more even affair, with the Danes limiting the Azzuri to 150-8 on a more batting-friendly Grange wicket. However, the Danish batting again failed to deliver, collapsing from 104-3 to 124 all out, despite an 86-run partnership between captain Taranjit Singh and Shangeev Thanikaithasan.
With the dismissal of Ben Manenti and Wayne Madsen in the fifth over, Surya Anand put Italy on the back foot. Laegsgaard then struck in his first over again, taking a return catch off Marcus Campopiano’s leading edge in the eighth. The fact that he just bowled 2 overs and allowed 12 runs is puzzling.
Harry Manenti, aided by Anthony Mosca, scored 51 off 35 balls to bring Italy back up to a defendable score, but he was dismissed in bizarre fashion when he miscued a scoop into the ground and then paused to brush the ball away as it rolled towards the stumps. While Meade was running for the single and Munir was appealing for an obstruction, Hashmi behind the stumps saw a less contentious way to get a wicket and took it. Manenti made a late move towards the non-striker’s end, but was out for 51 on a throw from Hashmi Europe T20 Qualifier.
After batting well, Manenti continued his performance with the ball in hand, taking two wickets in the second over when Laegsgaard failed to hit over mid-off and Hashmi edged the second ball to slip. Saif Ahmad was out to Stefano di Bartolomeo’s opening ball, a leading edge held at square leg, and the Danes were looking very far down at 3-24. For the fourth wicket, Singh and Thanikaithasan batted tenaciously, with the Danish skipper driving Jaspreet Singh over midwicket for six and then squeaking a single off the bottom edge to reach fifty Europe T20 Qualifier.
But their resolve was shaken when Singh ran out Thanikaithasan trying to grab a second from a misfield when they seemed to have the pursuit well in hand. From then, the collapse was rapid: Lucky Ali was out caught at leg off Gareth Berg to start what would out to be a three-wicket over, Aslam was caught at long off, and Singh picked out long off two balls later, leaving his side with just 52 runs and little chance of victory Europe T20 Qualifier.
Italy won by 26 runs thanks to Harry Manenti’s 3-22 and the fact that he removed Karimi’s off stump in the last over.
Europe T20 Qualifier – Jersey vs. Germany
Jersey won the day’s last match, 2-0, against Germany, therefore ensuring the advancement of Scotland and Ireland. With Nick Greenwood’s undefeated 86 off 56, the islanders reached their highest T20I total ever of 190-5, and the German reply, led by Julius Sumerauer’s 4-22, never seemed like it would catch up.
Jersey reached 112-1 thanks to a partnership of 36 runs between Greenwood and Harrison Carlyon before Greenwood found a more fluid foil in Jonty Jenner, who smashed 46 runs off 25 balls by reverse-sweeping Josh van Heereden to point. Jersey fell short of the 200-mark and Greenwood of a first century, but the 191-run goal was all than enough with to cameos from Charlie Brennan and Sumerauer down the order Europe T20 Qualifier.
With the scoreboard pressure increasing as catches were taken and (mainly) held, Eliot Miles’ first over yielded just three runs, and the Germans never came near to matching the asking rate again. Faisal Mubashir, batting at number five, scored his first T20I half century, helping Germany to a respectable 139-8 before Jersey finished off a 51-run victory.
After this outcome, Jersey, Germany, and Italy are all tied for fourth place with four points each, two victories behind first-place Scotland and second-place Ireland, who have a large net run rate lead over the rest of the pack. Tomorrow, after a day off, Scotland will play Denmark, while Ireland will take on Germany. A victory for any of the favourites would set up a jubilant final encounter on Friday Europe T20 Qualifier.