Italian players celebrate during one of their matches this week at the European Cricket Championship. / ECN

Italy storm group D at the European Cricket Championship

Week four of the competition saw the Italians claim their place in Finals Friday early on Thursday while the rest battled it out

SHAY CONAGHAN MALAGA.

Italy finished top of group D at the European Cricket Championship, following four near-perfect days of cricket at the Cártama Oval.

The Italians got their week and their tournament off to a bad start, falling by eleven runs to Norway on Monday. However, they went on to win their next seven games and ended on 14 points, only two ahead of Norway but with a good enough run rate (+4,399) that would likely seen them hold onto the top stop in the chance they lost their final game against Switzerland.

Their overall performances have been very strong. Italy cruised past Romania by 55 runs, before handing Germany and Norway hefty defeats, winning by six and seven wickets, respectively.

The Italian side barely beat Germany a second time, edging past by just three runs. But they picked up the pace and went on to defeat Switzerland by 66 runs and 92 runs later on, as well as stunning Romania with a ten-wicket win.

Fight for Friday

As Italy had already taken the best possible position going into Friday, it was up to the other four teams to fight for the three places in today's games.

As the games from the first three days of this week were played, by Thursday it was only Norway and Switzerland who could challenge Italy. But the Swiss' dreams were crushed as they were swiftly beaten by the top two and could not pick up enough points.

That meant that the Norwegians were the only team who could realistically match Italy until the final wicket. They were trailing the group leaders by just four points and they relied on the Italians losing their last game to Switzerland, while also having to put on a mammoth performance to even match their run rate.