Guernsey were on the receiving end of an absolute barrage from the Danes, particularly their talented keeper-batsman who added to the three fifties he procured in the group stage with a sublime 65-ball 126 not out. Despite two of the top four making ducks, he received enough support from Aftab Ahmed (52) and Rizwan Mahmood (36*) to post an unreachable score of 226. They kept their opponents to exactly half that to join Italy in the finals and the Qualifier. Italy had fought through a much tougher semi, as Jersey's Bodenstein and Stevens kept the runs right down to only 120 for nine. The plucky Channel Islanders almost made it home as well, but Dindu Marage added an economical one for 14 to his first innings 42 as the Italians kept just six runs in the bag.
In the final, Damian Crowley belted an unbeaten 66 from only 27 deliveries to demoralise the Danes. The tempo of his innings proved crucial as Denmark, fuelled by yet more Klokker brilliance, fell only 18 runs short of their huge 216 run target. The Italians won the title in the Sussex night, but that will mean little as the teams head into the UAE.
Italy celebrate their tournament triumph.
The premier European Associate, Ireland are almost an inked in certainty to qualify for the World Twenty20, which is currently still to be held in Bangladesh, and are almost as certain to win the Qualifier. However, the departure of Boyd Rankin for England means that their bowling attack now lacks a little bit of pace, which can hopefully be rectified by Max Sorensen bending his back. The Irish batting definitely has the firepower to dispense with Associate bowling.
Worth a read: First stop, Ireland [08 May]
The Netherlands are a strong Twenty20 unit, with victories over Bangladesh and more famously England among the Full Members. Their team is going through a rather transitional phase, as younger, local-born players are eased into the set-up. Whether or not they turn back to some of the more exotic talents like Michael Swart for the important games, like they did with the recent WCL Championship games against Ireland, will remain to be seen. Another near-certainty to visit Bangladesh. (Or Sri Lanka, or South Africa, etc.)
Worth a read: An Oranje flavour [05 Jun]
The all-rounder heavy Scottish side will also be hoping for some success when they visit the UAE. Although their recent form has been slightly patchy as some of the newer recruits settle into the side, their recent display against Kenya is a sure sign that there is still much talent in this Scottish side, which will be under the stewardship of the unflappable and talented Kyle Coetzer. Calum MacLeod, now back bowling, is one of the more dangerous short form cricketers at Associate level, and his runs were a deciding factor in the strong run in the last edition of the tournament. With six places available for the World Twenty20, they can look forward, hopefully, to their second appearance at the tournament.
Worth a read: The other Celtic team [19 Jun]
Italy are an interesting case. They are undoubtedly capable of causing upsets, as was proved by their unexpectedly strong performance in the last tournament, but probably lack the quality to make it to Bangladesh. Still, with the likes of Gareth Berg in the side, although Michael Di Venuto does not look like he will feature this time around, the odd surprise could still be sprung. In addition, they will be fresh of the back of victory in their regional tournament, always a morale booster. This mostly Sri Lankan born team should finish in the bottom half of the ladder, but could well sneak into the top 10.
Last time they were in the UAE, Denmark finished 16th and stone last, and that was after winning the European tournament. This time, they have lost the final, so they will go to the Middle East with even less momentum than last time. However, Freddie Klokker has been brutal this past week, and some of the middle order batsmen (Rizwan and Kamran Mahmood as well as Aftab Ahmed) have stood up to be counted. The spin of Bobby Chawla and Bashir Shah could also lead them to believe that maybe they can do a bit better than last place this time.