Day three of Spain´s tour of Finland proved to be one of mixed emotions for both sets of supporters.
Match One of the three match series proved to be hugely disappointing to Spanish supporters.The Bulls capitulated in both the bowling and batting departments, and tamely surrended first blood to the Bears.
Winning the toss, the Finns elected to bat and despite an early breakthrough from Ravi Panchal, the hosts took a liking to the Spanish bowling and posted an ultra-competitive 185 for 8 from their twenty overs. Wicket keeper Mohan top scored with 45 from just 27 balls, but there were notable contributions from Pusthay (37) and Peter Gallagher towards the end of the innings, who hit three mammoth sixes and accumulated 34 runs from just twenty one balls. For the Bulls, Paul Hennessy with two wickets for twenty was the pick of the bowlers.
In reply, the visitors got off to the worst possible start when Hennessy was run out without facing a ball. Faran Afzal, Yasir Ali and Christian Munoz-Mills soon followed, as the Spain innings rocked at 24 for 4. Ahmed was dismissed 13 runs later and the game was already Finland´s at the half way stage of the Spanish innings. The Bulls lasted out until the 15th over, finishing just above three figures on 103 all out.
A despondent Bulls team went to lunch deflated and needing some positives to pick themselves up. To their credit they eeked out a battling performance in the second game to win the match with just one over to spare.
Once again Finland won the toss and elected to bat. Spain made two changes from the morning session by electing to draft in Tom Vine and Muhammad Asjad for Hamza Dar and Zulqarnan Haider.
Panchal once again gave Spain a solid start by bowling unchanged his four overs for three wickets at the cost of just 19 runs. This was the cornestone for a much improved bowling performance from Spain who restricted the hosts to 135 for 8 from their twenty overs.
In reply, Spain battled to win a game that could easily have been lost. Behind the run rate for long periods of the innings they were indebted to some belligerent batting from Yasir Ali (37 not out) and Christian Munoz Mills (29 not out).Their unbeaten fifth wicket partnership of 61 helped to see the Bulls safely home with six balls to spare.
On Sunday the deciding contest takes place at 11 am local time. At one point today Cricket Finland had over 3,500 viewers on their You Tube channel watching livestream. A similiar number tommorrow would be a wonderful reflection on what as been a tight series that as been superbly hosted by Cricket Finland.
GAME ONE … GAME TWO …