By Richard Boxall
As Cyprus cricket’s contribution to the European Week of Sport, a six-a-side tournament was held at Ypsonas cricket ground on Sunday, prior to the Autumn T20 League getting into full swing next week.
Twelve teams took part in the event, which was contested on a knockout basis during the course of a single day. The matches were played over 5 overs per side, with all players except the wicketkeeper bowling one over.
The matches produced some prodigious scoring, with six different teams totalling over 100 in a 5-over innings, and Sri Lanka Lions achieving the feat twice, in the quarter final and semi final, both times without losing a wicket.
Both Markhor and Black Caps were unlucky enough to score over a hundred and still lose the match. Other first round losers were Moufflons, Sri Lankan CC (Nicosia), Royal and Akrotiri.
In the quarter finals Sri Lanka Lions pulled off a superb win against the powerful MSN Punjab Lions by a margin of 23 runs, while Nicosia Tigers and Napa Royal Kings also had relatively comfortable wins over Limassol Qalandars and Amdocs respectively.
While Napa had a bye into the final, Sri Lanka Lions walloped Nicosia Tigers by 60 runs to earn their place in the showpiece match, which was unfortunately affected by the fading light at the end of a long day.
All through the tournament the Lions benefitted from the aggressive batting of Chamal Sadun and Akila De Silva, and once again they led the way in the final with an opening partnership of 58 as the team set a target of 78-3, which proved to be 20 more than the Kings could muster.
In an event dominated by batsmen, two bowling performances caught the eye in the final. Kings’ captain Hardeep Singh took two wickets for just 7 runs in his over, and for the Lions Lahiru Udayanga somehow managed to bowl a maiden over, a crucial contribution to his team’s win.
The top two batsmen in the competition were the Lions’ Sadun (178 runs) and Akila (127), both at a strike rate above 300, while among the hard-pressed bowlers the most successful, with 3 wickets each, were Napa’s Hardeep, Kamal Raiz from the winning team, and Rasedul Hasan of Nicosia Tigers.
Next week there will be five matches in the autumn T20 league, which has an entry of 20 teams, including new entries from Akrotiri, 1 Rifles (Dhekelia) and Kipro Tigers of Limassol.
One match has already been played, resulting in a 59-run win for Limassol Qalandars over Telugu 11 (formerly Cyprus Super Kings). The main contributors towards the win were Muhammad Qasim (78) and Sohail Ahmed (51) with the bat, and Mughees Fiaz (4-27) and Prashant Patel (3-17) with the ball.
After another 39 league matches, the top two in each of the four groups will qualify for the knockout stage later in the y