Highlights of the first week
Iceland Cricket fields four full teams on the same day for the first time
Hafnarfjörður win their first game of the 2021 campaign
Dushan Bandara scores 69* and takes 3—18 on debut for Hafnarfjörður
Sadun Lankathilaka takes the figures for a Reykjavík seamer
Vesturbær team triumphs in its debut appearance
Kópavogur’s bowling record broken by Jegadeesh Subramaniyam
Jegadeesh Subramaniyam becomes only the second Icelander to bag five wickets
14 players make their debuts
Reykjavík v Hafnarfjörður
Hafnarfjörður 157 for 8 (20 overs) Dushan Bandara 69*, Chamley Fernando 37 Sadun Lankathilaka 4—16
Reykjavík 139 all out (18 overs) Lakshitha Bimsara 42, Sadun Lankathilaka 22 Dushan Bandara 3—18, Mohammad Younas 3—23, Mehmood Tariq 3—26
Hafnarfjördur won by 18 runs Full scorecard
Our first glance at the new-look Hammers was an admiring one as they defeated the Vikings after an impressive first-innings comeback. Younas and Tariq opened the batting, ostensibly to see the shine off the new ball, but it didn’t work as Khan Gul struck with his second ball to dismiss Younas. Fernando immediately set about the bowling, hitting seven boundaries in an enterprising knock, but progress fell away rapidly as Lankathilaka recorded the best bowling figures by a Reykjavík seamer and Hafnarfjörður looked cooked at 76 for 7. Bandara came to the rescue with a typically swashbuckling unbeaten half century, adding 67 for the eighth wicket with the debutant Shafiq Bahi.
Reykjavík began their chase with a surprise: Lankathilaka opening the batting. Although he lost Ravi Rawat almost immediately, he batted with intelligence and patience, putting on 42 with Deonarain. On the latter, all hopes hinged, but when he was caught at the wicket off the impressive Tariq, it all appeared over as the Vikings proceeded to lose three wickets for four runs, sliding to 85 for 6. Like the Hammers, though, they performed their own miracle recovery with Bimsara’s 25-ball innings bringing them back into contention. They couldn’t quite make it, in spite of his wonderful knock.
Kópavogur v Vesturbær
Vesturbær 130 for 7 (20 overs) Sampath Nagarajan 32*, Sebastiaan Dreyer 24, Avik Ghosh 22 Jegadeesh Subramaniyam 5—18
Kópavogur 120 for 8 (20 overs) Bala Kamallakharan 42, Nolan Williams 20 Gujapan Ramachandran 3—23, Kathir Narayanan 2—18, Sampath Nagarajan 2—24
Vesturbær won by 10 runs Full scorecard
Two big questions stood to be answered in this game. The first was: are Vesturbær going to be able to compete? Their rejoinder was emphatic. An opening stand of 63 between Nelson and Dreyer got them off to a superb start, though they then lost six wickets for just 12 runs as Subramaniyam posted Kópavogur’s best-ever bowling figures. It seemed unlikely that the Volcano could roar back into life, but they wisely saw off the main threat before Nagarajan exploded in a fiery 26-ball innings. Vesturbær will have been delighted with their competitive total on first showing.
The second question was: just how much worse are Kópavogur after their treble-winning season last year? Not as much as they feared, must surely be the answer. The team management was anxious about requiring any total much greater than a hundred, and they’ll have been heartened to find themselves 82 for 2 thanks to Kamallakharan’s fine timing and placement. Like the other teams, though, they collapsed, losing four wickets for 10 runs including Abhishek Chauhan for a golden duck. This was the ignominy they had feared. But now came Williams, gaily hitting runs at will to bring the Puffins within diving distance of the finish line. Nagarajan and Ramachandran bowled three tight overs at the death, and it wasn’t to be, but Kópavogur will feel buoyed by how close it was.