2020 T20 Season Review

2020 saw the first cricket played on the new National Cricket and Rugby Field in Tiskre. 8 teams competed in the T20 competition this season with Tallinn Stallions and Tallinn United Falcons both new teams competing for the first time.

The first match played was between the Tallinn Hippos and the Tallinn United Falcons on May 23rd. The first weekend saw the Hippos on top of the table, winning both of their games. Tallinn Stallions also posted their first win in the T20 competition, beating Tallinn United. Top scorer for the weekend was United’s Vimal Dwivedi who scored 89 from 54 balls against the Stallions. Best bowling performance of the weekend went to Thomas Hale with 3/22.

The second weekend saw the Falcons defeat Tartu to record their first win as a team. Tallinn United beat Viking Stars, Stallions beat Tartu and Tallinn Rising Stars defeated Eesti Tigers. Tallinn United Falcons’ Aditya Panwar top scored for the weekend with 73 from 69 balls. Ali Masood picked up an unbelievable 4/1 for the Stallions against Tartu.

Moving into June with week 3, the Hippos defeated the Stallions, Rising Stars best Viking Stars, Stallions beat Falcons and United beat Eesti Tigers. Ali Masood hit the first hundred of the season with 120 not out from 69 balls against the Falcons. Omair Akram was the pick of the bowlers with 4/18 for the Hippos against the Stallions.

Week 4 saw Tartu record their first ever win since entering the T20 competition, beating the Viking Stars. The Hippos lost for the first time this season, defeated by Eesti Tigers. Tallinn United beat Tartu and Falcons beat Rising Stars. Arslan Amjad top scored for the weekend with 94 from 50 against Tartu. Kush Brahmbhatt finished with the best bowling for Tartu taking 3/7 in their win.

On the fifth weekend the Hippos defeated Viking Stars, Tallinn United beat Rising Stars and Falcons, and the Stallions became the first team to pass 200 this season while defeating the Rising Stars. Saif Malik top scored with 126 from 71 balls while Mayur Borgaonkar took 4/24 for United against the Falcons.

The final weekend in June unfortunately saw Tatu forfeit both of their games. In the 2 matches played Tallinn United beat the Falcons and Stallions defeated Viking Stars. Saif Malik scored the top score of the year and his 2nd hundred in a row, posting 153 from 73 balls. Sultan Mahmood recorded figures of 4/27, also for the Stallions.

July started poorly, with only one game completed in week 7 due to rain. United defeated the Hippos with Arslan Amjad and Ankur Patel both scoring 48. Arslan then followed up with the ball with figures of 2/11.

The weather cleared for week 8 with Viking Stars picking up their first win of the season against Falcons. Rising Stars beat Tartu, Stallions beat Hippos and Eesti Tigers beat Tartu. Saif Malik was remarkably denied his third hundred in 3 innings, being dismissed for 99 from 65 balls. Mohammad Hasan picked up 4/27 for Tartu against the Tigers.

Week 9 saw 8 games played over the weekend. On Saturday United beat Hippos, Stallions beat Viking Stars, Rising Stars beat United and Eesti Tigers beat the Falcons. On Sunday Hippos beats Tartu, Stallions defeated the Tigers, Falcons beat Tartu and Tigers beat Rising Stars. Habib Khan scored 118 from 58 balls for the Tigers while Partha Kar recorded 4/21 against United

The final month of the regular season began with week 10 seeing the Hippos defeat the Falcons, Stallions defeat United, Rising Stars defeat Falcons and Tigers defeat Viking Stars. Shebin Al Din scored his first century for Rising Stars with 107 from 56 balls including 8 sixes, but it was Dave Robson who recorded the highest score and best bowling of the weekend with 123 not out from 64 balls and then 3/23 against the Falcons.

Week 11 saw the Hippos beat the Tigers, Rising Stars beat Tartu, United beat Viking Stars and Stallions beat Tartu. Saif Malik top scored for the weekend with 81 not out from 54 balls against Tartu. Elias Hasan had the best bowling figures with 4/30 against the Hippos.

In week 12 Viking Stars beat the Hippos, Rising Stars beat the Stallions, Falcons beat Viking Stars and United beat the Tigers. In what was a low scoring weeked the top score was from Eesti Tiger’s Hafizul Tamal with 55 from 48 balls. The best bowling belonged to Anurag Poudel who picked up 3/13 for the Falcons.

The final weekend of the regular season saw the Rising Stars win their 4th game in a row, beating the Hippos and ensuring their spot in the finals. Tallinn United had the chance to go into top spot but lost to Tartu who picked up their second win of the season. Tallinn United Falcons defeated the Stallions before Tartu almost pulled off a second win of the weekend, going down narrowly with 9 balls left against the Viking Stars. Saif Malik again topped the scores for the weekend with 101 from 53 balls. MD Shoyaib picked up a hat trick against the Hippos finishing with 3/44.

The Semi Finals saw Tallinn Stallions take on Tallinn Hippos and Tallinn Rising Stars taking on Tallinn United.

In the first Semi Final the Stallions won the toss and batted. Saif Malik and Ali Masood took the game away from the Hippos with an outstanding display of hitting. Saif scored 107 from 40 balls before retiring. Ali followed shortly after retiring on 101 from 56 balls. Bilal Masood then made things worse with 45 from 14 balls to leave the Hippos chasing 270 for victory. The only wicket taker was Rana Rahman with 1/65. The Hippos top order did their best, with the top 3 of Mart Tammoja, Rana Rahman and Marko Vaik all passing 30 but with no other batsman reaching double figures they were never really in the chase. Muhammad Rizwan and Junaid Qazi both finished with 3/28 from their 4 overs.

The second Semi Final was a closer match, with Rising Stars restricting United to 167 from 20 overs. Arslan Amjad scored 53 from 28 balls to get United off to a flyer but from that point on consistent wickets fell with MD Shoyaib again the best bowler for Rising Stars with 3/24 from his 4 overs. The Rising Stars chase got off to a slow start with none of the top 4 scoring at faster than a run a ball. A late flurry from Shoyaib threatened to bring them back into the game but when he was dismissed for 28 from 20 balls the Rising Stars lower order had too much to do and eventually finished on 127, losing by 40 runs. Arun Prakash was the best of the bowlers for United with 2/16.  5 other United bowlers picked up a wicket in a real team performance.

An enticing Final between the top two teams for the whole year, Stallions again elected to bat first and United drew first blood, Saif Malik out for 2 in just the 2nd over. Ali Masood steadied the innings scoring 61 vital runs batting with the Stallions middle order. Late hitting from Bilal Masood (28 off 18) and the lower order saw the total pushed over the 150 mark, finishing on 155/6. Ashish Rana picked up 2/27 including the prized wicket of Saif Malik. United’s chase got off to the worst possible start, losing 5 wickets in the first 5 overs to leave them 17/5. Wahid Nazir picked up 3 wickets and Bilal Masood 2 in a brilliant opening bowling display. Captain Murali Obili combined masterfully with Vinod Kumar to bring somehow bring United back into the game and within striking distance with 5 overs to go. Murali’s wicket, out for 49 from 38 balls was probably the end for United, who fell 20 runs short to hand the Stallions the trophy in their first season as a club.