Action at the ECC. / ecn

Final four battle it out at the ECC to win the coveted trophy

The European Cricket Championship 2021 at Cártama Oval has brought exhilarating matches so far

NEVE MATTHEWS

The highly anticipated European Cricket Championship began on Monday 13 September with 15 representative European teams competing against each other.

The format was a double round robin for Weeks 1-3, with two teams from each of the three groups qualifying for Finals Week, which commenced on 4 October.

Italy and England XI from Group C joined Belgium and the hosts Spain from Group A and the Netherlands XI and Austria from Group B.

Despite finishing top of the points table for Group A, with five wins from from the eight matches they played, Spain had languished at the bottom of the points table up until Thursday.

However, they clinched three surprising wins on Thursday, against Belgium, who until Wednesday had a 100 per cent win rate, and Austria and Italy in the eliminator matches.

In beating Italy and Austria, who previously stood at fourth and fifth respectively in the points table, the hosts have managed to cling on to their place in the tournament.

Despite their defeat at the hands of the hosts, Belgium are still thought to be the favourites to win the tournament, having beaten their opponents comfortably.

The England XI side have won all matches played so far this week, bar one match against Belgium.

Having come into the Championship Week riding off the high from captain Dan Lincoln's spectacular 31 ball century against Italy in the Group C finals, they have clearly carried this confidence through to this week.

The Netherlands XI stormed their matches in the group stages, finishing top of the points table.

This week, they have maintained their third-place position in the points table with 7 points.

Italy started dismally in the Group C stages, however began an impressive resurgence which carried them through to the group finals and earned them the title of runners-up to the England XI side.

Currently occupying fourth place on the points table, Italy boasts the highest run-scorer of the tournament, Amir Sharif.

He has smashed 433 runs in 16 matches, with an unbeaten 80 being his best effort.

With Austria and Italy having been eliminated, England XI, Netherlands XI, Spain and Belgium will battle it out to be crowned the European Cricket Championship winner on Friday 8 October (today) at Cártama Oval.

With Spain's three wins in a row keeping them alive in this home competition on Thursday, they will play in the opening match on Friday against Netherlands at 9am, before England XI take on Belgium at 11am.

The Dream11 European Cricket Championship final is at 5pm.