SPAIN 218 FOR 9 BEAT GIBRALTAR 194 ALL OUT BY 24 RUNS.
This weekend La Manga witnessed the resurrection of the Iberia Cup after a nine year hiatus. Unfortunately, Portugal were unavailable for this years competition so the format for the trophy took the shape of a two match series between Spain and Gibraltar.
Spain won the toss on the opening day and elected to bat on what looked a good pitch for batting, despite the remains of overnight dew that would slow the outfield down in the early stages of the game.
(SPANISH OPENERS SPENCER AND ALI)
Debutant Spencer opened with the experienced wicket-keeper batsman Shafique Ali. Spencer looked assured and composed from ball one but Ali never really got going and it was no suprise when he was caught by Phillips off the bowling of Gonzalez for 14 with the score on 23. Then Madrid born Pedro Venus quickly found himself back in the pavillion with only five added to the total when his leg stump was removed by Harkins for one.
At that point Gibraltar were in the driving seat but skipper Howe came to the crease and played with his usual tenacious spirit to drag Spain back into the game. Spain had moved onto 60 and were closing in on the first drinks break when Spencer holed out on the boundary to Mirpuri, who clung onto the catch at the fourth time of asking.
Drinks were taken early and with the resumption of play Sporting Alfas clubmate Wasim joined Howe at the crease and they comfortably moved the score onto 110 when disaster struck for Spain as Howe pulled up after a quIck run holding his hamstring. Unable to continue Howe retired and in came the in form Faran Afzal who a few weeks earlier had hit six sixes in one over for his club side.A quick fire 35 that included two sixes and three fours gave fresh imputus to the Spanish batting and with good support from Wasim (33), and Sherry (7) Spain composed a healthy total of 177 for 6 after 46 overs. It was to get even better for Spain as Khan continued were Faran had left off and smashed 40 off 21 balls in an innings that included four sixes and one four.
Khan was eventually out with only three balls left in the innings and with one run added after that Spain and new coach Denning would have been pleased with the total of 218 for 9 off their full allocation of overs.
Lunch was taken at the Q-Bar, the sponsors of the Iberian Cup, and the Gibraltar team came out to bat to try and chase down the formidable total La Seleccion had set.The experienced Rocca and captain Farrell opened for the visitors but an early strike by the lively Lupson got the Spanish supporters cheering when he clean bowled Farrell for two with the score on six. Bacarase was the next to go, this time to a smart stumping chance by Ali, again off the bowling of Lupson.
Gibraltar were now stuttering at 25 for 2 but the new batsman Ferrary was perceived as the visitors dangerman after his recent 132 for the ICC European Academy against Mumbai State in India. His class was soon in evidence and he was ably supported by Rocca (17) and the game was in the balance until the youngster mistimed a shot that went skyward and was gleefully taken by the still injured Howe at mid-wicket.
Despite most of the other batsman getting starts for the visitors none of them could establish a long innings for themselves and when Latin became the eighth wicket down with the score on 162 things looked grim for the Gibraltarians. A brief flurry by Harkness (29) stopped any early celebrations for the Spanish supporters but when he was bowled by the impressive Lupson the locals could relax once more. Tailender Shadwani was stumped by Ali off Beal with the last ball off the Gibraltar innings leaving them on 194 and 24 runs short of victory.
The Spanish players and supporters alike celebrated as one in the knowledge they had beat an affiliated side 21 places higher than them in the unofficial Cricket Europe rankings. New coach Denning had got the perfect start to his new tenure in what must rank as one of Spains best victories since joining the ECC in the early nineties.
GIBRALTAR TAKE THE FIELD
SPAIN 218 FOR 9 IN 50 OVERS
M Spencer Caught Mirpuri Bowled C Phillips 31
S Ali Caught Phillips Bowled Gonzalez 14
P Venus Bowled Harkins 1
G Howe Not Out 32
Wasim Caught Latin Bowled Phillips 33
F Afzal Caught Rocca Bowled Latin 35
M Sherry Bowled Harkins 7
M Khan Bowled Harkins 40
P Beal Run Out 6
S Lupson Not Out 0
M Fernandez Bowled Harkins 0
Extras 19 Total 218 For 9
FOW 1-23 2-28 3-60 4-110/139 5-166 6-172 7-217 8-217 9-217
(Howe retired hurt at 110 and came back into bat for the last ball of the innings)
S Gonzalez 6-0-35-1
R Harkins 10-2-36-4
C Phillips 10-3-41-2
K Sharwani 6-1-13-0
K Mirpuri 10-2-30-0
I Latin 8-0-58-1
GIBRALTAR 194 ALL OUT
C Rocca Caught Fernandez Bowled Sherry 17
I Farrell Bowled Lupson 2
M Bacarese Stumped Ali Bowled Lupson 2
K Ferrary Caught Howe Bowled Wasim 34
S Gonzalez Bowled Sherry 4
K Mirpuri Bowled Venus 16
R Buzaglo Bowled Venus 15
I Latin Caught S Ali Bowled Lupson 22
R Harkins Bowled Lupson 29
C Phillips Not Out 16
K Shadwani Stumped Ali Bowled Beal 4
Extras 33 Total 194 All Out 50 Overs
FOW 1-6 2-25 3-37 4-56 5-104 6-107 7-131 8-162 9-177 10-194
S Lupson 9-2-23-4
M Sherry 10-1-24-2
M Khan 10-1-36-0
P Venus 4-0-32-1
P Beal 1-0-7-1
SPAIN WIN BY 24 RUNS
Umpires Ron Graham-Spain Sunil Chandiramana-Gibraltar
Scorers Claire Sunderland-Spain Eddie Wilson-Gibraltar
SPANISH SQUAD-IBERIA CUP JULY 2008