Gutman gets Israel running
CRICKET ISRAEL regained European Division Two status with a convincing six-wicket win over Croatia in a playoff match in Zagreb.
Electing to bowl first in damp conditions, the match was reduced to 36 overs per side. Opening bowlers Eliezer Samson and David Massil performed with their usual discipline as the Croatians crawled their way through to the 18-over drinks interval with just 20 on the board, and Samson having claimed the only wicket.
The hosts came out with more intent after the break, but with the score on 55, spinner Steven Shein picked up the second wicket, sparking a dramatic collapse which saw the Croatians slump to 61-7.
The lower order helped them close the innings on 96-9. Shein finished with 5-27 from eight overs, while Yaniv Razpurker was also impressive with the ball.
Israel began their run chase positively with Shmuel Moses cracking a drive through the off side in the first over, but he was bowled with the total on 13.
Shaliesh Bangerra and Eshkol Solomon soon followed, but skipper Herschel Gutman led Israel home with an aggressive 47 not out. He took the game away from the Croats, smashing a series of boundaries through mid-wicket.
Gutman said: “This victory is the culmination of a long summer for the team, which started with good results at the Maccabiah, winning the tournament in Spain and now doing what was required here. The boys have gelled into a tight unit, and hopefully we can continue producing positive results next year against stronger opposition.” The win caps a successful summer for the national team following their bronze medal in the Maccabiah Games and triumph in the European Division Three tournament in Spain last month. It takes Israel back into the top 12 European nations, with the team set to compete next year alongside Jersey, Guernsey, Gibraltar, France and Germany in Division Two.
Fast scorer: Herschel Gutman