Nightingale on song as Greens win opener
GUERNSEY are up and running in their quest for promotion.
Neither Bulgaria nor the weather could prevent the Greens from opening their ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Sub Regional Europe Qualifier with a 52-run win yesterday at the Tikkurila Cricket Ground in Helsinki.
After Bulgaria had won the toss and opted to bowl, Guernsey’s innings was interrupted by rain in the seventh over, by which time they had already lost two wickets with Luke Le Tissier having departed for a duck while captain Josh Butler was caught attempting to hit his third six in his 11-ball cameo in the powerplay.
The delay caused the match to be reduced by one over per side and Guernsey initially struggled to build momentum after the resumption as Zak Damarell was bowled attempting a big shot before Matt Stokes was yorked to leave the Greens 54 for 4 and the Bulgarians sensing an upset.
However, Tom Nightingale and Ben Ferbrache put together the substantial partnership their side required by adding 68 for the fifth wicket, which swung the match firmly in Guernsey’s favour.
Nightingale was the main aggressor of the pair, hitting four fours and a couple of sixes in his 40 off just 24 balls while Ferbrache made an important 28 from 27 including a four and a six.
‘I’m really familiar with batting with Ben and he is really good at that role, anchoring it for me, and today it came off, but Ben played a massive part,’ said man-of-the-match Nightingale.
A couple of late wickets tumbled towards the death with right-arm seamer Asad Ali Rehemtulla finishing with four wickets, but 130 always looked a competitive total.
Bulgaria managed to hit boundaries in the first two overs of their reply, but soon the required rate was climbing rapidly as Guernsey turned the screw in the field.
Ferbrache took a fine catch at mid-off to make the initial breakthrough off the bowling of Ant Stokes and although Hristo Lakov and Saim Hussain added 41 for the second wicket, once they were separated, wickets fell like dominoes.
The younger Stokes brother ended with three, as did his fellow left-arm spinner Adam Martel and David Hooper while Matt Stokes picked up the other.
There were also three stumpings in a fine display from wicketkeeper Jason Martin as Bulgaria subsided to 78 all out with an over to spare.
‘We are a very strong fielding and bowling team and if we bat first we know we can defend whatever we get,’ Nightingale said.
Guernsey play Luxembourg today at 2pm BST.