After four warm up matches on Saturday and Sunday morning, the International U13 T20 match between Austria and Slovenia took place on 22nd June at the Austria Cricket Stadium, Vienna. Played to official T20 rules, the match took place in fine weather in front of an enthusiastic crowd. The game was played in memory of Siva Nadarajah, who contributed so much to junior cricket in Austria and the region, and the perpetual trophy was named in his honour.
An extensive, schools based, cricketdevelopment program produced a Slovenian team playing together for the first time. The Austrian team was developed and selected through the SNASY Austrian Cricket ACADEMY, working in partnership with the Austrian Cricket Association and building on years of youth coaching at the Austria Cricket Club Wien. The four warm up matches gave the chance for Slovenia to fine tune their team and build their team working and for Austria to provide competitive cricket for all the ACADEMY players, aged 8 to 13.
In the Trophy match, Slovenia lost the toss and Austria chose to bat first. The effort of the Slovenians in the field was first class and they showed tremendous development over the two days, demonstrating the benefit of playing together. The Austrian openers, Amit and Farhaan, batted well together in a considered and steady partnership of 52 off 8 overs.
Austria lost a few wickets to some good bowling, but then the innings accelerated with Farhaan leading the charge and aided by a quick contribution from Savi, (22). Farhaan was run out on the penultimate ball, having scored a magnificent 90, including 15 boundaries and helping Austria to a healthy 169 for 8 off their 20 overs.
The Slovenian opening pair had to contend with an unfamiliar rising ball from the Austrian opening bowler, David, who bowled hostilely, finishing with figures of 2 for 25. Slovenia kept close to the required run rate for the first half of the innings, but steadily lost wickets, to accurate bowling by Rory (2 for 8), sharp leg spin from Farhaan (2 for 16) and some good catching. Only Slovenian captain, Max, was able to build an innings, which he did very effectively, eventually being bowled in the 15th over for 40, including 8 fours.
The Slovenian innings ended in the 17th over, all out for 107, with Austria winning by 62 runs.
Given that neither side had played this format before, all observers of the game were very impressed by the standard by their skill, concentration, will to win and particularly, the spirit in which the game was played. Both teams worked together well and supported each other and the development of every player was obvious across the weekend.
All look forward to the return fixture in Slovenia and to an increased level of quality international fixtures in the region.