The 2022 Cricket season in Iceland started last weekend with the indoor T20 tournament- Volcanic Ashes and Kopavogur Puffins continued with their outstanding record in this tournament, bagging the fifth Volcanic Ashes trophy. In the first semi-final, Reykjavik Vikings beat Vesturbær Volacanos by 3 wickets in a closely fought contest, while Puffins easily walked past Hafnarfjordur Hammers by 9 wickets in the other semi-final and then won the tournament by defending 18 runs in the last over in the final against the Vikings.
Semi-final 1: Reykjavik Vikings (107/7 in 15.4 overs, R Rawat 40*, P Xavier 1-2) beat Vesturbær Volcanos (106 in 16.1 overs, L Nelson 28, H Jack 3-11) by 3 wickets
Scorecard SportZchain Man of the Match- R Rawat
Volcanos started well with the bat after winning the toss and scored 82 runs for the loss of 3 wickets in the first 10 overs. The openers, especially Lee Nelson (28 of 20), handled the tough bowling attack from the Vikings very efficiently and put Volcanos in a good position for posting 150+ score. However, it all went south for Volacons post drinks-break. Perfect line and length from the Vikings bowlers, led by H Jack (3-11 in 3.1 overs), dried the runs and claimed wickets at regular interval. Volcanos lost the remaining seven wickets in 6.1 overs after the drinks-break, adding only 24 runs. Vikings started their innings very strongly by scoring 30 runs in the first 4 overs. However, introduction of V Anandgaonkar (1-25 in 4 overs) put a break on the score, and he eventually broke the opening partnership. Then Volcanos made a strong comeback by claiming five more wickets in next 3 overs, including three run-outs, leaving the match evenly poised, with Vikings at 64-6 from 9.4 overs. Just like the first innings, the drinks break again brought into a change of fortune, in favour of Vikings. L Bandara (28 of 22) scored few quick runs in next three overs to make sure that the target is within the reach for the Vikings, while R Rawat (40* of 41) provided the support by rotating the strike regularly. Although Bandara got out with the scores levelled, Vikings reached the target with 23 balls to spare.
Semi-final 2: Kopavogur Puffins (77/1 in 10.2 overs, B Kamallakharan 42*) beat Hafnarfjordur Hammers (75 in 13.2 overs, C Fernando 19, D Cook 3-11) by 9 wickets
Scorecard SportZchain Man of the Match- S Padamata
Hammers looked good for the first 3 overs of the match with C Fernando seemed to be in fine nick. However, S Padamata (2-18 in 3 overs) turned the game in the 4th over by first pinning Fernando in front of the stumps for 19 (15 balls) and then by rattling the middle stump of Dushan Bandara in the next ball with a perfect incoming delivery. Hammers could not recover from this set back as J Robertson (2-10 in 2 overs) and D Cook (3-11 in 2.1 overs) choked the middle order, eventually getting Hammers all out for 75 in only 13.2 overs. Puffins were always in control of the chase. Although they lost Botha early in the innings, Kamallakharan (42* of 35) played some magnificent straight drives to take advantage of the short boundaries and Puffins reached the target in just over 10 overs.
Final: Kopavogur Puffins (151/5, K Botha 91*, W Mahagoda 3-20) beat Reykjavik Vikings (135 in 19.3 overs, D Deonarain 45, D Cook 4-24) by 16 runs
Scorecard SportZchain Man of the Match- K Botha
Puffins posted the first 150+ score of the tournament, batting first in the final. Highlight of their innings was the unbeaten 91 (72 balls, 1X4, 8X6) from K Botha, who batted through the innings. S Lankathilaka (1-5 from 4 overs) started with a maiden for Vikings, claiming the wicket of Kamallakharan as well. Botha and Robertson (18 of 30) then played very watchfully against the accurate bowling of Lankathilaka and L Bandara and dragged the score to 60 in the first 10 overs. Once Robertson got out to Bandara in the 11th over, Botha started to push the accelerator and paced his innings smartly to end up with a strike rate of over 125. He especially took a liking to the gentle pace of H Jack and took 23 runs from his last over (18th of the innings) and Jack ended up with a dismal figure of 0-54 from his 4 overs. No one apart from Botha and Robertson could reach the double figure for Puffins but they ended up with a healthy score of 151 with the help of 28 wides conceded by the Vikings bowlers and fielders. While chasing, Vikings got off to another excellent start and Rawat (21 of 19) and Deonarain (45 of 38) added 52 quick runs in the first wicket. Once Rawat got out, Deonarain continued to score rapidly, first with S Cheenawaththge and then with L Bimsara, and Vikings were cruising towards the target with 56 needed of 43 balls and 8 wickets in hand. However, Robertson got Deonarain out LBW on the last ball of the 13th over and the dynamics of the game changed completely. Cook (4-11 from 4 overs) again strangled the batters with his slow, loopy spinning deliveries and despite a valiant effort from Bimsara (42 of 28) the asking rate climbed up to 15 runs per over. And once A Chauhan got Bimasara stumped off Cook in the 19th over it was all over for Vikings. They lost the last two wickets in the first 3 balls of the 20th over, falling 16 runs short of the Puffin´s score.