By Richard Boxall
Five matches were played in the 2023 CyCF BAO Financial Autumn T20 League on Sunday, with wins for Napa Royal Kings, Black Caps, Sri Lanka Lions, Lankan SC and Akrotiri.
Twenty teams have entered the competition, including three new additions, two of whom got started with victories.
Akrotiri announced themselves with a 53-run win over fellow new boys Kipro Tigers of Limassol. Adam Sutcliffe led the way with 35, but after slipping to 94-7 the team was rescued by an unbroken partnership of 66 between Luke French amd Gaz Richardson to reach 160-7. Tigers’ Nazrul Islam took 3-20 from his 4 overs.
Tigers slumped to 107 all out in reply, with Md Kamrujjaman top-scoring with 30 not out batting at number 9. Akrotiri bowlers Matty Hone (4-22), Steve Thornton (3-20) and Adam Sutcliffe (3-23) ensured a comfortable opening win for the RAF team.
The other new team, Lankan Sports Club, pulled off a 12-run win against their compatriots, Sri Lankan CC from Nicosia. Captain Tharanga Pathirana led the way with 60, with support from Sujith Tennekoon (35) as they set a target of 191-9, despite Demintha Wickramasingha’s 5-35.
In the Sri Lankans’ reply BLCS Kumara hit 70 and Nalin Gamage 33 in a century partnership, but Roshan Siriwardana took 3-37 to help restrict them to 179-8.
Napa Royal Kings made a major statement in beating MSN Punjab Lions by 44 runs. Ali Khan (39) and Ihsan Raza (43) laid the foundations, for skipper Hardeep Singh to add 45 in 18 balls to take the Kings to 171 all out, with Taranjit Singh taking 3-23 for the Lions.
The Kings then dismissed the strong Lions batting line-up for 127, thanks to 3-18 by Manzoor Ali and 3-19 by Ali Khan.
In a high-scoring game at Happy Valley Black Caps beat Limassol Moufflons by 36 runs. An unbroken century partnership between Sukhwinder Singh (65 with 7 sixes) and Lovedeep Singh (45) rescued the Caps from 128-7 and enabled them to reach a healthy score of 228-7.
The Moufflons team made a good attempt to chase down the target, with Ghulam Murtaza making 64 and Hamza Ali 62, but they fell short with Resham Singh picking up 4-27 and skipper Rajwinder Singh Brar 3-47.
In a very different game Amdocs lost by 32 runs to Sri Lanka Lions despite bowling them out for just 112. Dhavalkumar (3-22) was the most successful Amdocs bowler, while the Lions’ top scorer was Akila De Silva with 29.
Amdocs in turn slumped to 80 all out, never recovering from the loss of their two main batsmen to Kamal Raiz in his opening 3-over spell of 2-10, with Ravindu Asanka later taking 3-19.
After this eventful day of action, there are no league games over the coming weekend as the Cyprus national team sets off to compete in the European Cricket Cup in Spain, while a touring team from the UK enjoys some social cricket in Cyprus.