Tournament favourites VOC Rotterdam have stormed home to claim the inaugural European Cricket League trophy, defeating SG Findorff by 101 runs.
In a dominant exhibition, VOC remained none down at the end of the ten overs, posting 222, easily the highest score of the competition. Scott Edwards finished with a record breaking 137, with Max O’Dowd somehow playing second fiddle with an innings of 74 off 25 balls. In reply, Findorff fell to finish 121/9.
VOC had to overcome Catalunya in the semi-final earlier in the day, and looked a little under pressure after they were set 130 to win. Catalunya’s Yasir Ali saved his best innings for last, blasting 45 runs off 15 balls of which, hitting boundaries off over half of his deliveries. He was helped by Rauf Zaman who picked up the task with an unbeaten 15-ball 26. In the latter stages of the innings, Saqib Latif and Nisar Ahmed swung away with aplomb, forcing the Dutchmen to score at 13 an over for a final spot.
Scott Edwards returned the favour for VOC, taking just 13 balls to reach his fifty, targeting backward square leg with variations of the sweep shot. While watching his teammate, Max O’Dowd then got in on the run-fest with three maximums of his own. In the middle of a career purple patch, O’Dowd finished with 54 not out, with his captain Pieter Seelaar joining him in reaching the target.
VOC watched on as SG Findorff and Svanholm CC battled for the second final spot, with the Germans holding Svanholm to 88/4. Israr Khan came through for the bowlers’ union, stealing the attention with an effort of 2/12 with the ball. Israr claimed both openers, and the Danish side struggled to regroup. Ammar Khalid and Farooq Amirie gave little away, giving their batsmen a golden opportunity to seal a spot in the finale.
Every member of Findorff’s top five chipped in to claim the upset win, passing the target inside nine overs. Amirie finished the job off in style, putting James Fenwick over the fence to hand his team a chance of tournament glory.
SG Findorff won the toss and stuck to their plan of bowling first in the final, though failed to make early inroads. Scott Edwards took Israr Khan for four consecutive sixes in the third over, and set the platform for a record total.
VOC flirted with a score of 200+, with the eighth over going for 34 and both Edwards and O’Dowd with centuries in reach. Edwards brought up his ton with seven balls remaining in the innings, though a single off the last ball of the ninth over put three figures out of the reach of his partner. VOC reached 203 with four balls left, though amazingly, the best was yet to come. Edwards had the chance to hit six sixes in the last over, though a yorker from Hamad Wardak meant he avoided the unwanted record to his name. Needing over 20-an-over, no Findorff bowler ended with an economy under 17 in the hitting exhibition.
The colossal target was always going to be impossible to topple, though SG Findorff showed resistance. Despite losing a pair of wickets in the first over to Pierce Fletcher, Amirie and Shafqat Ashraf kept the match alive, combining for seven sixes. Though as the required run rate passed 25 an over, Dutch celebrations begun. Findorff fell 101 runs short, and VOC held the new ECL trophy aloft.
In the minor place matches, Cluj fell to Brescia in the 7th place playoff, with Dreux defending 82 to take 5th place.
Max O’Dowd was crowned player of the series, taking four wickets and scoring 219 @ 73 with a strike rate of 263.86.