Wednesday, 11 October 2023, 20:04
Ireland is the latest team to advance through to the semi-finals of the European Cricket Championship (ECC) at Cártama Oval in Malaga province as the tournament pads up for the last week of competition.
Ireland XI last week joined home favourites Spain, Italy and Jersey in the finals after defeating Hungary by eight wickets in the Group D qualifying match on Saturday 7 October. The team went through the group stage undefeated, winning all of their four games. In the final match against the Hungarians, Tim Tector top scored for Ireland with 48 runs off 21 balls, but the best batsman of the match was among the losing side where Ximus du Plooy impressed with 52 runs off 30 balls. Du Plooy also didn't disappoint on the bowling front, picking up two wickets for Hungary, more than any other bowler in the match.
England look poised to make the finals after dominating Group E with four wins out from four matches. The final games of the group, including the qualifying match, were yet to be played at the time SUR in English went to press. The championships will continue today (Friday 13 October) with Group F, contested by Germany, Norway, Portugal, Luxembourg and Scotland XI.
A total of 31 teams will have faced-off at Cártama Oval in six groups during the first three weeks of the competition, before the top-placed countries compete in championship week starting from Monday 16 October. The tournament started on 25 September and the final will be played on 20 October.
This is the third year Cártama Oval in Malaga has hosted the championship. Not only is the tournament helping bring even more exposure to the city and province, but is also inspiring more children to pick up a bat and a ball.
Jay Wild, Malaga-based liaison officer for international cricket events such as the ECC, said the championships will play a big role in helping the sport grow in Spain. "We have local schools coming along to watch and when you combine live cricket, with the outdoors and the cameras rolling it's a potent combination," he said. "The sport becomes infectious for them and then they want to meet the players, commentators, be on television and want to whack, bowl or catch a ball - they get a hunger for the sport by watching it."
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