Austria stun Guernsey and Norway to keep their 2024 T20 World Cup hopes alive

Kerava (Finland), Aug 1 : Austria have stunned the field at the T20 World Cup Europe Sub-Regional Qualifier here, defeating Guernsey and Norway on way to claiming a spot at next year's Continental Qualifier. Austria are now in the running for two spots from the European region for the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2024, to be held in the US and the West Indies. Austria stormed the group stage, beating Guernsey in a crucial match in Vantaa to help move to the tournament final, according to ICC. Holding Guernsey to 139, the Austrians chased down the target with just two wickets and two balls to spare. Iqbal Hossain (38 from 18 balls) and Razmal Shigiwal (42 from 29 balls) accelerated at the top of the order, though a collapse in the middle order saw the Austrians needing 15 from the final two overs with No.8 Abdullah Akbarjan and No.10 Umair Tariq at the crease. Tariq (12 not out from six balls) showed calm in the final, guiding a David Hooper delivery behind point for the upset win. The final between Austria and Norway was shortened to 14-overs-a-side, and it was the off-spin of Austria's Amit Nathwani that set the tone. Nathwani claimed 3/14 from his three overs, with Sahel Zadran (3/10) cleaning up the tail and bowling Norway out for 77. With an adjusted target of 77 set as per DLS calculations, Iqbal Hossain (66 off 36 balls) almost led a solo charge in the chase, only to be dismissed one run short of the target. In similar fashion, a Vinay Ravi wide was Austria's run to win the tournament. As Austria were handed the Sub-Regional trophy, French youngster Gustav McKeon was adjudged 'Player of the Tournament', finishing with 377 runs from five knocks at a strike rate of 164.62. The winners of the three Sub-Regional tournaments (Austria, Denmark and Italy) move to the European Finals next year, with two allocated spots for the 2024 tournament in the USA and West Indies. The three join Jersey, Germany, as well as the European sides who fail to secure 2024 qualification through the 2022 tournament: Ireland, the Netherlands and Scotland. The ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2024 has been expanded to 20 teams, with qualification moving from global qualifiers to qualifiers through the five regions. The top-two teams at the European Regional Final series alongside qualifiers from the East-Asia Pacific, Africa, Asia and Americas regions will earn a place at the 2024 tournament alongside 12 automatically-qualifying teams made up of, the US and West Indies as the hosts in 2024, the top-eight teams at the T20 World Cup in Australia later this year, and the next highest-ranked teams in the ICC Men's T20I Team Rankings as of November 14, 2022. Attention for ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2024 turns to Vanuatu, with the East Asia-Pacific Sub-Regional A Qualifier, pitting the hosts with Cook Islands, Fiji and Samoa. /IANS


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