Day two of Spain´s tour of Finland, started with a relaxed morning, with several of the players, and the team manager and coach doing some social media work for Cricket España with video interviews from their hotel in Tuusula just outside Helsinki.
A bus pick up mid morning took them the short trek to the ground for a light training practice and net session before the development game between the two countries started at 5 pm local time.
Both teams agreed to relaxed terms for the match and Finland, in particular, put out a very experimental team for the game, including several Bears who were receiving their caps for the first time.
The Bulls won the toss and elected to field. It seemed the right decision as Ravi Panchal and Hamza Dar took a wicket each, in the first and second over of the Finland innings, to have the hosts rocking at 1 for 2.
Chaudry and Scamans set about stabilizing the innings and played cautiously to get some runs on the board for the hosts. With the introduction of Haider into the bowling attack the runs dried up once again. The Barcelona based all rounder, who is top of the batting and bowling figures in the Cataluyna League, continued his rich vein of form with the National side and got both the danger batsmen out in consecutive overs.
Paul Hennessy also chipped in with two wickets in the sixteenth over to leave the hosts struggling at 88 for 6. The last 24 balls yielded 29 runs as the Bears ended up with a total of 117 for 8 from their overs allocation.
Spain opened with Faran Afzal and Paul Hennessy and the pair put on 48 together in the first seven overs, before Afzal retired for tactical reasons. Hennessy and Christian Munoz Mills also spent time at the crease before retiring “out” to give other players an opportunity to bat. The Bulls eventually surpassed the required total, after 15.2 balls, courtesy of a wide by the Finnish bowler.
The official scorecard showed Spain at 118 for 6 beating Finland 117 for 8 by four wickets. The three T20I games are due to be played on Saturday and Sunday, and the Bulls will be well aware that the Bears will be a different proposition over the next two days.
First blood to Spain but the main event start tomorrow. The team enjoyed a meal at the ground before boarding the bus and heading back to the hotel for a quiet night.
Spain 118 for 7 (C Munoz-Mills 33, F Afzal 31, P Hennessy 29) beat Finland 117 for 8 (P Hennessy 2-7, Z Haider 2-9) by 4 wickets.