Finland money

Europe T20 regional qualification: Sub-regional final underway in Finland


The final will be played on July 19. ©Getty

The final tournament of Europe’s T20 World Cup extensive sub-regional qualifiers kicked off in Finland today (24 July), with ten teams vying to join first-two stage champions Denmark and Italy in the regional finals next year. Guernsey favorites beat Bulgaria to get off to a flying start in Group 1, joined at the top of the table by Austria, who beat Luxembourg in their opener against Slovenia who are set to join Group 1 tomorrow . Norway and France picked up victories over Estonia and the Czech Republic respectively to advance to the start of Group 2, while the Swiss are yet to play.

What’s at stake

The champions of each of the three tournaments will earn a place in the European regional finals next year alongside Jersey, Germany and all or part of the Netherlands, Ireland or Scotland if these teams fail to qualify for the 2022 World Cup directly or via the rankings. Denmark emerged victorious at the first tournament in Belgium last month, while Italy secured their place at the second, also held in Finland two weeks ago.

There will be two qualifying places for the T20 World Cup 2024 on offer than the European regional finals. With the Global T20 Qualifier ending after this cycle, regional finals in the five ICC-designated regions are just one step away from the World Cup itself. The sub-regionals also offer countries the opportunity to strengthen the T20 ranking, which is likely to be key to qualifying for the international 50+ scale for the upcoming cycle, details of which are expected to emerge from the ongoing ICC conference. in Birmingham.

The format

Each of the rapid-fire tournaments lasts just a week, with the first in Belgium featuring eight teams split into two groups and then playing cross-over semi-finals leading to the final, but the latter two each featuring ten teams split into two groups of five. . Each group will play a single round robin, with the winners of each group advancing directly to the final. Guernsey, Austria, Slovenia, Luxembourg and Bulgaria are drawn in Group 1, while Norway, France, Switzerland, Czechia and Estonia will play Group 2. As in the previous tournament , matches will be played on two pitches; the Tikkurila Cricket Ground in Helsinki and the Kerava National Ground located just northeast of the capital.

Group 1

Top-seeded Guernsey confirmed their status as favorites with a 52-point win over Bulgaria despite Asad Ali Rehmetullah taking 4-24 to hold them 130-8 in the 19 overs that rain allowed them, Adam Martel taking 3-17 in the Bulgarian response to close out a comfortable victory. Austria were expected to be Guernsey’s main rivals in the group stage, and a straight win over Luxembourg would seem to confirm that, with Sahel Zadran taking three wickets for just 7 runs as Austria defended 139 with ease, all 16 balls 34 of Iqbal Hossain in the lead. well ahead of the game on what continue to be low-scoring artificial bridges in Finland where runs outside the power play are hard to come by. Slovenia, who will make their tournament (and T20I) debut tomorrow against neighboring Austria, will start as underdogs in the group, although they will know their opponents well, having played regularly in the Austrian domestic league in recent years. .

Group 2

Norway’s modest ranking of 48th is enough to make them the theoretical favorites of the group, although given the lack of data the rankings are generally unreliable at the lower levels. Perhaps more telling are their recent victories over Guernsey and Germany over the past two years. A 10-wicket win over little-known Estonia in their first tournament would perhaps imply that their rankings underestimate them, although currently unranked France also opened their account with an emphatic victory over the Czechs and beat the Czechs. Norwegians during a bilateral meeting last year. The addition of teenage fly-half Gustav McKeon has strengthened the French since then, and they could still give Norway a hard time in Group 2. Fresh off an administrative suspension for joining the ICC, Switzerland are something of an unknown, although their record since their return suggests they could prove dark horses in the group, and their tournament debut against the French tomorrow will be watched with interest by their rivals. .

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