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NCCA Women went to the top of the table in the European T10 Championship group with emphatic victories over Italy and Netherlands on the second day of the tournament at the Cartama Oval near Malaga.
Having routed Italy for 26 to secure a 67 runs win in chilly early morning conditions at the start of the day, the NCCA side – who are playing as England XI – then ended Netherlands’ unbeaten record with a clinical 44 runs victory in the finale.
With three bonus points wins to start the tournament England XI now face bottom-of-the-table Spain in their only match on Tuesday (12.45pm) which will mark the halfway stage of their group campaign.
The side that tops the qualifying group of five teams will progress straight to Friday’s final.
Against Italy Megan Sturge (Kent and Southern Vipers) and Beth Gammon (Wales) were joint top scorers in a total of 93 for three which proved far too many for Italy.
Dilaisha Nanayakkara was run out without facing from the first ball of Italy’s reply with Shaci Pai’s direct hit setting the tone for another outstanding display in the field from England.
Left-hander Emilia Bartram, who plays her club cricket for Oxford, was the only batter to reach double figures while the rest struggled against the spin of Chiara Green (Sussex) and Millie Taylor (Southern Vipers Academy) who returned combined figures of 4-0-6-6.
The temperature had risen considerably by the time England took on Netherlands for a match between the two unbeaten sides.
Bethan Ellis (Warwickshire and Central Sparks) got England off to a brisk start with 21 from 11 balls before she went LBW to Robine Rijke in the third over before Pai (Lancashire Thunder) and Gammon added 72 in the next seven overs for the second wicket.
England were 40 for one at the halfway stage of the innings but an over from Netherlands captain Iris Zwilling that went for 24 swung that match decisively in their favour.
Pai reached her half-century from 33 balls with her eight four but then drove the next to mid-off. Taylor thumped two of the three balls she faced to the boundary to take England into three figures.
Netherlands had made 159 for one – the highest score to date in the competition – in their previous match against Austria but excellent bowling and ground fielding from England throttled their chase.
Zwilling was missed at deep midwicket from the first ball of the innings but went in the next over caught behind by Maddie Ward (Nottinghamshire) off Sussex and Southern Vipers Academy seamer Daisy Gibb.
Staffordshire seamer Amy Wheeler had Rijke taken at short fine leg by Gammon and Merel Dekeling struck a couple of boundaries before she was bowled by Ria Fackrell (Warwickshire and Central Sparks).
Annemijn Thomas carried her bat for 16 not out but faced 22 balls in doing so and despite Sanya Khurana’s late aggression Netherlands could not reach 73, the target they needed to deny England the bonus point to go with the win.
The extra point allowed England to go a point clear at the top of the qualifying table with a game in hand on Netherlands and a superior net run rate.
European Women’s T10 Championship – Day Two
Cartama Oval, Malaga
Game One: England XI 93-3 (Beth Gammon 26 not out, Megan Sturge 26), Italy 26 (Chiara Green 3-2, Millie Taylor 3-4). England XI won by 67 runs.
Game Two: England XI 103-2 (Shachi Pai 50, Bethan Gammon 22 not out, Robine Rijke 2-22), Netherlands 59-4. England XI won by 44 runs.
Image Credit: Diana Oros