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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Greek cricket back with with a winGreece claimed the inaugural European Division 5 championship in Corfu after two more impressive displays against Bulgaria and the Czech Republic ensured that they finished the competiton with a perfect record of five wins from five games.

Greece, back in competition after their run-in with the rule book in the Division 2 championships in Scotland in 2006, were easily the best team in the tournament in spite of some spirited opposition.

The building blocks are certainly there to take Greece back to the higher echelons of European competition and ultimately a crack at the World Cup itself. For the moment that remains a pipe dream, something to consider in another decade.

By then most of this side will have moved on but they will be remembered for getting Greece back on track in emphatic style.

Not least the captain Costas Vassilas for whom the seven wicket win over the Czech Republic at the Marine Ground was his last in Greek colours.

Greece set up the whitewash the previous day with a 92-run win over Bulgaria at Ropa Valley Number 2.
 
Bulgaria did well to restrict Hellas to a total of 184, bowling them out in the penultimate over.

The hosts contributed to their own difficulties early on with two run-outs, but then continued to lose wickets and were precariously placed at 97 for five despite a knock of 32 from Imran Haider.

They were rescued by a fighting innings from George Toulantas, who made 45 despite an injury which necessitated the services of a runner, and shared in a vital partnership of 64 with Vassilas.

Both were eventually dismissed, however, by Bulgarian captain Saif ur Rehman, who took three for 50, while Vikram Tewatia cleaned up the tail, taking three for 36.

But Greece's bowling has been too good for any of their opponents in the tournament. Spiros Goustis again made the breakthrough but it was his new ball partner Dimitris Triantafilidis who took theh honours with three more wickets at a cost of ten runs as Bulgaria slumped to 16 for four.

Adil Hanif tried to hit his way out of this crisis, making a 38-ball 33 with five boundaries, but once he was bowled by Stamatis Giourgas matters rapidly came to a close, Mehmood Ahmed taking three for 5 in ten deliveries as Bulgaria were all out for 92.

It was the bowlers who put Greece in charge against the Czechs as well in spite of an opening partnership of 48 which was only ended by the introduction of Mehmood Ahmed.
 
Scott Page batted well, taking Bulgaria to 107 before he was fifth out for a well made, 112-ball 40, the second of three wickets for Anastasios Manousis, at a cost of 21 runs.

Triantafillidis returned to attack to snap up another three wickets as the Czechs were bowled out for 133, almost ten overs short of their allotted 50.

Ahmed went for 10 but after that Greece went serenely about their business.

Chris Lagos and Imran Haider batted purposefully to put on 58 for the second wicket before Lagos nicked one to the keeper for 26.

Iordan Kontarinis now joined Haider who compiled a neat 37 from 50 balls - including seven fours - before falling to a fine running catch by Page at midwicket.

But only 25 were now needed with plenty of overs left and Kontarinis and Manousis reached their target comfortably enough, the winning runs coming rather anti-climactically in the form of wides.

Results
September 7: Sweden 137 (44.1 overs) Habibzai 31*, Goustis 3-20, Mehmood 3-23; Greece 141-7 (49.3 overs) Manousis 28. Greece won by three wickets. Full card

September 8: Greece 301-7 (50 overs) Mehmood 93, Kontarinis 58, Haider 48; Estonia 82 (24.1 overs) Obili 27, Goustis 5-26, Giourgas 3-9. Greece won by 219 runs. Full card

September 9: Greece 299-9 (50 overs) Mehmoud 69, Manousis 58, Clarkson 3-58; Turkey 90 (26.1 overs) Goustis 5-27, Manousis 3-11. Greece won by 209 runs. Full card

September 11: Greece 184 (48.2 overs) Toulantas 45, Haider 32, Saif 3-50, Tewatia 3-36; Bulgaria: 92 (29.4 overs) - Hanif 33, Triantafilidis 3-10, Mehmood 3-5. Greece won by 92 runs. Full card

September 12: Czech Republic 133 (40.2 overs) Page 40, Triantafilidis 3-21, Mehmood 3-21, Manousis 3-21; Greece 135-3 (23.4 overs) Haider 37 not out. Greece won by 7 wickets. Full card


 

Wednesday, September 09, 2009
Spiro Goutsis in flight against Turkey (ICC Europe/Cricket Europe)Spiro Goustis produced another whirlwind performance to wrap up Greece's third successive win in the ICC European Division 5 Championship in Corfu on Wednesday.

The fast bowler took five for 27 at the Marina Ground as the Turks were dismissed for just 90 in 26.2 overs, giving Greece a comfortable 209-run victory.

Goustis has now taken 13 wickets in the opening three games with some high quality quick bowling which has troubled the batsmen in all three games.

Greece came within one run of posting their second 300-plus total in two days but they fell just short at 299 for nine.

Mehmood Ahmed, who hit an excellent 93 against Estonia on Tuesday, again found his touch, hitting nine boundaries in his silky 69.

His dismissal, however, opened the gates to a barrage of destructive batting in the later stages of the innings.

Anastasios Manousis cracked a rapid 58 from 46 balls with 5 fours and a six but he was upstaged in turn by Stamatious Giourgas who crashed 43 from just 24 balls, an innings that included five boundaries and a six.

Turkish captain Jonathan Clarkson was the pick of his attack and returned figures of 3 for 55.

In reply, the Turks made a decent start reaching 29 without loss after the first five overs but then Goustis found his rhythm and mayhem of a different sort ensued.

Off-spinner Manousis picked up three for 11 near the end of the innings top earn the man-of-the-match award.

Results
September 7: Sweden 137 (44.1 overs) Habibzai 31*, Goustis 3-20, Mehmood 3-23; Greece 141-7 (49.3 overs) Manousis 28. Greece won by three wickets. Full card

September 8: Greece 301-7 (50 overs) Mehmood 93, Kontarinis 58, Haider 48; Estonia 82 (24.1 overs) Obili 27, Goustis 5-26, Giourgas 3-9. Greece won by 219 runs. Full card

September 9: Greece 299-9 (50 overs) Mehmoud 69, Manousis 58, Clarkson 3-58; Turkey 90 (26.1 overs) Goustis 5-27, Manousis 3-11. Greece won by 209 runs. Full card

Remaining fixtures:
September 11: Bulgaria v Greece (Ropa 1)
September 12: Czech Republic v Greece (Marina)

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