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National Counties XI won the Dream 11 European Championship for the second time in three years with an emphatic eight wickets win over defending champions Netherlands XI in the final at the Cartama Oval near Malaga.
A superb unbeaten 71 from 24 balls from Oxfordshire’s former Sussex left-hander Tom Hinley swept National Counties to a target of 146 with 11 balls to spare.
Hinley thumped eight sixes in a thrilling display of clean hitting that helped National Counties, representing England in the 31-nation competition, to avenge their defeat by the Dutch in the final 12 months ago.
It was the second win for National Counties over Netherlands in the day as it followed a 15 runs victory in a qualifier earlier on Finals Day.
That win secured National Counties passage to the final and gave them four hours to recover from their exertions before the showpiece match.
Netherlands faced another qualifier against Spain – who had beaten Ireland XI in the day’s opening eliminator – and they set a competition record run chase, reaching 185 for four to clinch a re-match with National Counties.
The Dutch batsmen took that form into the final with 16-year-old opener Teun Kloppenburg clobbering 76 not out from 30 balls.
When Netherlands reached 100 in the sixth over it looked like they might top 180 again but seamers Toby Greatwood, Andy Rishton and Tommy Sturgess all bowled excellent second overs and just 14 runs were scored from overs seven eight and nine.
Netherlands accelerated again in the final over bowled by Dorset off-spinner David Scott but National Counties were positive and aggressive in response.
Captain Dan Lincoln struck 23 from nine balls before he was caught behind attempting a ramp shot off experienced pace bowler Vivian Kingma but that only cleared the stage for Hinley who struck nine sixes and two fours in a stunning innings.
Sam Young added 66 in three overs for the second wicket with Hinley before he picked out long off but Hinley and David Scott knocked off the last 40 runs with ease.
National Counties’ success was achieved in adversity with a gastric bug affecting a number of players during Champions Week. Cumbria slow left-armer Matt Siddall missed the whole of the week and Greatwood, the former Middlesex seamer, only returned to action in first qualifier against Netherlands on Champions Day.
Young, the Dorset and former Somerset opener, was the hero of that match as he plundered 84 from 27 balls with 12 sixes and one four.
National Counties were 19 for three at the end of the first three power play overs and Young faced nine balls for his first eight runs.
But he launched a furious assault on slow left-armer Clayton Lloyd by taking five sixes – one of which was also a no-ball – from one over and five more sixes in an over from off-spinner Arnav Zain.
From their unpromising start, National Counties raced to 158 for six then took two wickets in the first over of Netherlands’ innings with Kloppenburg and Shirase Rasool both falling to sharp catches by Rishton in the deep off Wales NC’s Richard Edwards.
Edwards held a diving return catch off Michael Levitt but left-handers Musa Ahmed and Roel Verhagen revived Netherlands with a rapid fourth wicket partnership of 65.
Hinley snared Verhagen – caught by Scott at point – with his left-arm wrist spin and Scott then struck a decisive blow when Ahmed picked out Rishton at deep midwicket after he had completed an 18-ball half century.
Rishton, National Counties’ go-to death bowler, produced another nerveless over to leave Netherlands needing 26 from Sturgess’s final over of the innings.
Sikander Zulfiqar cut the first ball for six but Young produced a brilliant one-handed stop at long-on to deny him a boundary that sealed Netherlands’ fate.
Dream 11 European T10 Championship
Cartama Oval, Malaga
Qualifier: National Counties XI 158-6 (Sam Young 84, Olivier Elenbaas 3-23), Netherlands XI 143-6 (Musa Ahmed 53, Richard Edwards 3-22). National Counties XI won by 15 runs.
Final: Netherlands XI 145-3 (Teun Kloppenburg 76 not out, Tommy Sturgess 2-24), National Counties XI 146-2 (Tom Hinley 71 not out, Dan Lincoln 23, Sam Young 22). National Counties XI won by eight wickets.