Mixed bag for Israel
Israel experienced mixed fortunes at the Pepsi ICC Europe Division Three T20 Championships in La Manga.
Captained by Eshkol Solomon, Israel comfortably beat Finland in their opening match. Kamal (24) managed the only real contribution to Finland's innings before Islam (35 not out) and Bhatia (13) put on a partnership to get Finland up to 115-9. Josh Evans was the star bolwer for Israel, finishing with figures of 4-23.
Israel's reply was dominated by Rajith Manikka Arachichige (46 not out) and all-rounder Evans (33) who steered Israel to a five-wicket victory.
Match two against Belgium was tougher as Israel went down by 57 runs. Jamie Farmiloe (39) and Abdul Rehman (32) were the key batsman for Belgium, complemented by 21 from Latif down the order, put them in a good position on 168-8 after 20 overs. Israel’s Issac Massil claimed 2-16.
Several Israeli batsmen made starts in their reply, but no-one other than Evans, who smashed 36 from 32 balls - including three sixes and one boundary - were able to press on. Once Evans departed - caught by Khaliq off the bowling of Watambwa, Israel's hopes slumbered despite a plucky 22 from captain Solomon and they finished on 129-9.
Israel's third match, against Hellas, went to the wire. Batting first, the Israel innings centred around three contributions from opener Hoffman (25), Evans (34) and Isaac Massil (24). Hellas bowler Souvlakis did the most damage picking up 3-28 runs as Israel finished on 147-9.
Hellas’ reply was all about two partnerships, with opening pair Goustis (22) and Souvlakis (17) putting on 43 for the first wicket.
Israel fought back with two wickets, before Manousis (21) and Koutsoufis (60 not out) took Hellas to the brink of victory. It came down to the final over with Hellas scoring the winning runs with two balls spare and winning by five wickets.
Scores in brief:
Game One (April 30)
Belgium 168-8 (Farmiloe 39, Rehman 32, Massil 2-16)
Israel 129-9 (Evans 36)
Belgium won by 57 runs
Game 2 (April 30)
Israel 147-9 (Evans 34, Hoffman 25; Souvlakis 3-28)
Hellas 148-5, 19.4 overs (Koutsoufis 60 not out, Goustis 22; Rajith Manikka Arachichige 2-14)
Hellas won by 5 wickets
Game 3 (May 1)
Israel 116-5, 18.1 overs (Islam 35, Kamal 24; Evans 4-23)
Finland 115-9, 20 overs (Islam 35 not out, Kamal 24; Evans 4-23)
Israel won by 5 wickets
Friday: Spain vs Israel - scheduled to start at 15.00 CET