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Volcanic Ashes 2022: PREVIEW

The 2022 Icelandic Cricket Season will start with the indoor T20 tournament, Volcanic Ashes. This would be the first tournament organized by Iceland Cricket Association after their first major sponsorship deal with SportZchain, India's first blockchain based fan engagement platform. No auction this year means the teams remain unchanged, baring the few internal transfers and additions/replacements. It would be interesting to watch how the teams adjust with the short boundaries and not-so-high roof in the indoor ground and the additional playing conditions introduced.

Reykjavik Vikings remain the most balanced team in the Icelandic domestic cricket circuit. They have the strongest bowling attack, including Prabhat Weerasooriya, the best spinner in Iceland and ever so accurate Lakmal Bandara. Just like the last season, their batting efforts will revolve around Derick Deonarain, who is expected to score really big in this small ground. Vikings will try to make amends for the mistakes they made during the last match of the Iceland Premier League 2021 and start this season in a winning note. Vikings’ batting line-up looked vulnerable few times last season without Deonarain and opponents will try to get Deonarain early and capitalize on this weakness.

Hafnarfjordur Hammers are strong contenders for the Volcanic Ashes as well. They have Chamley Fernando to score the runs early in the innings and the hard-hitting Dushan Bandara to blow the opponents away during the later part. Hammers have a quite strong bowling attack as well, led by Dushan Bandara and ably supported by Tajdar Khan, Sulaman Nawaz, J. Miakhial and Younas. Lack of a quality spinner may impact the variation in their attack, but it may not matter in the small indoor ground. Last season they lost three games while chasing scores around 150; so, making Hammers chase a decent score would be the strategy for the other teams.

Kopavogur Puffins could not perform as expected last season and they would be keen to change it. They have the capabilities and trained regularly during the winter to elevate their performances. Puffins would expect their batters to capitalize on the starts and contribute effectively to make big team scores. Bala Kamallakharan and Jakob Robertson batted very well last season and expected to continue with their fine form while the likes of David Cook, Nolan Williams and Abhishek Chauhan are anticipated to come up with valuable performances, with bat and ball both.

Vesturbær Volcanos are struggling with the injuries. Their key bowlers, Ramachandran Gujjappan and Kathir Narayanan, are not available, while Avik Ghosh is struggling with a knee injury and Sampath Nagarajan is recovering from injury and covid. However, Volcanos always have a very good line-up of pace bowlers and would be hoping that the likes of Kuldip Jha, Francies Xavier and Mohit Kotian, along with the new-comers, would be able to pose threats to the opposition batters. Their batting will be primarily dependent on Sebastiaan Dreyer and Lee Nelson. Last year Volcanos failed to score enough runs during the death overs and this year they aim to change it.


Vikings and Hammers in the final and Vikings winning the Volcanic Ashes



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