Cricket: Israel U17s finishes fourth in Euros

An action-packed week began with a remarkable victory over the hosts.

cricket 88 (photo credit: )
cricket 88
(photo credit: )
The Israel U17 team finished a respectable fourth place in the 10-nation European 2nd Division Championships which were held in Germany last week. An action-packed week began with a remarkable victory over the hosts after both teams finished on the same score but Israel had lost two less wickets. The week ended with a narrow five-run defeat to Spain, and inbetween saw tight victories over the Isle of Man and France, and a defeat to Italy. Israel skipper Gabi Schachat capped a fine week by being named Player of the Tournament. Playing with 10-men with three of the squad fasting on Tisha Be'Av, Israel began the tournament by snatching victory from the jaws of defeat against Germany, thanks to a remarkable 52* from diminutive Itamar Kehimkar. Chasing 131 for victory after Gil Nojman had taken three for five in a game reduced to 30 overs due to wet weather, Israel slumped to 50 for seven before Kehimkar began a counter attack, hitting the bowlers to all parts of the Bochum ground, as bad light and rain closed in. At 83 for 8 all looked lost, but together with Jordan Talkar (12*), Kehimkar refused to throw in the towel, starting the final over with just six required. With two needed off the final ball, Kehimkar lofted a drive over cover, the batsman completed an easy two, and the Israel players sprinted onto the field to celebrate with their hero. However the game was to have a further twist, with the umpire having signaled a short run, and the teams therefore level on points. Both teams left the ground thinking they had tied the match, as this was the result the umpires had confirmed. Only the following morning did the news reach the Israeli team that according to the regulations they had actually won the game as Germany had been all out, and Israel had lost eight wickets. Finishing second in its group, Israel faced Spain with third place in the tournament at stake. Once again Israel fielded first and good bowling by Kristi (4 for 39) and two wickets each for Schachat and Divekar left Israel needing 156 to win. It hardly came as a surprise to find Schachat the only batsman capable of occupying the crease for any length of time, with Kehimkar again playing freely in scoring 14. With 18 required, Schachat was adjudged leg before to a ball which hit him almost on the waist for another excellent knock of 56, and although Razpurker and Divekar each managed to find the boundary, Israel were all out for 150. Schachat was rewarded for his efforts (182 runs at 45.50 and 7 wickets) with the prestigious Player of the Tournament award, whilst Nojman, Kristi and Divekar were amongst the top ten wicket takers.