Iceland witnessed its first ever 40 overs a side cricket tournament this year, the Valhalla Cup. The tournament was played in a knock-out format, Hafnarfjordur Hammers and Vesturbær Volcano faced off in the 1st Semi-final, Puffins and Vikings played off the second semi-final and the winners tussled in the final.
Vesturbær Volcano (230, V Anandgaonkar 60 (46), M Kotian 40 (56), J Miakhial 4-40, A Sarwari 2-20) defeated Hafnarfjordur Hammers (224, M Younas 70 (81), D Bandara 26 (35), V Anandgaonkar 4-40, S Kumar 2-36) by 6 runs
SportZchain Man of the Match: V Anandgaonkar
Volcanoes had a bad start with the bat against the Hammers. They scored very slowly during the powerplay overs and ended up with 36 for 4 after 10 overs. Then, Mohith Kotian and captain Sampath Kumar rebuilt the innings first and Vaibhab Anandgaonkar provided the late flourish, with support from Ram Gujappan, to take the score to 230 in 40 overs, including more than 100 runs from the last 10 overs. Javed Miakhial took 4 wickets for Hammers, while A Sarwari bowled beautifully in his first match in Iceland, claiming 2 wickets and conceded only 20 runs in 5 overs. Hammers started steadily and although they lost wickets at regular intervals, runs were coming at a good pace. M Younas batted long and had good partnerships with Miakhial and Dushan Bandara, making sure Hammers are always up to the required run-rate and some quick boundaries from Samuel Gill got Hammers very close to the target. However, the complexion of the game changed drastically in last few overs as Younas, Gill and Dushan got out at quick succession and Anandgaonkar claimed the last two wickets in the 38th over to halt Hammers only 7 runs away from the target.
Kopavogur Puffins (227; K Botha 52(55), B Kamallakharan 50 (71); P Weerasooryia 6-42, N Akakhil 2-20) defeated Reykjavik Vikings (127; L Bandara 41 (35), M Sandaru 32 (73); S Padamata 3-27, K Botha 2-12) by 100 runs
SportZchain Man of the Match: K Botha
Puffins had a very good start in the 2nd semi-final against the Vikings and scored pretty quickly in the first 10 overs. Most of their top order batters got the start and Botha and Bala converted the starts to half-centuries. At one point of time Puffins were well on course for more than 250 in 40 overs but Weerasooryia intervened with a five fer. Puffins lost their last 5 wickets at quick succession and ended the innings for a formidable 227. Vikings´ faith was mostly dependent on Derick Deonarain and once a hostile inswinger from Jakob Robertson uprooted the middle stump of Deonarain in the third over, the match was all but over. While Lakmal Bandara tried to keep the scoreboard going in the middle overs and Sandaru tried to hold one end, they got almost no support from the other batters. Padamata, Botha, Maduri and Robertson bowled beautifully with accuracy and variations and Vikings were all out for mere 127 in 25 overs.
Kopavogur Puffins (233/6; D Cook 68 (105), J Subramaniyam 52 (33); R Gujappan 2-36, S Kumar 2-45) defeated Vesturbær Volcano (145; S Kumar 38 (49), N Nekram 27 (28); J Robertson 3-17, M Kareem 2-7) by 92 runs
SportZchain Man of the Match: David Cook
Puffins won the toss in the final match and opted for batting. Although they were playing back-to-back matches on Saturday and Sunday, there were no fatigue or half-measures in the way the played the final. First, they showed great composure to start slowly with the bat, thanks to a batting masterclass from David Cook and scored at a rapid pace towards the later part of the innings, thanks to a hitting spree from J Subramaniyam. Other batters, especially Botha and Rayner, also pitched in during the middle overs and Puffins posted 233/6 in 40 overs, the highest score of the tournament. Volcanoes attack looked quite flat throughout the innings as they failed to perturb Cook and Co. and few crucial missed chances did not help them either. And it went even worse for Volcanoes as they lost S Dreyer and A Ghosh within the first few overs in the chase. Once again, Robertson and Padamata bowled hostile opening overs and Botha and Kareem tighten the grip during the middle overs. Nikhil Nekram and Sampath Kumar tried to reconcile the innings at different stages, but, with very little support from others, failed to bring the chase on track. As a result, Puffins achieved another big victory in the 40 overs tournament and was the winner of the first Valhalla Cup.
The recorded telecast of all the matches are available on the ICA YouTube channel.