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Slovenia clinch victory over Gibraltar in ICC T20 World Cup Sub Regionals with just three balls to spare

In a nail-biting encounter at the ICC T20 World Cup Sub Regional Europe Qualifier B, Slovenia edged out Gibraltar by one wicket, securing their victory with just three balls to spare. This dramatic win saw Slovenia chasing down Gibraltar’s total of 136/9, finishing at 137/9 in 19.3 overs.

Gibraltar, batting first, posted a total of 136 for the loss of nine wickets in their allotted 20 overs. The top order struggled, with Chris Pyle falling for just 1 run, run out by Izaz Ali in the very first over. Louis Bruce provided some resistance with a brisk 28 off 20 balls, featuring five boundaries, but wickets continued to tumble around him.
Iain Latin (30 off 22 balls) and Avinash Pai (31 off 30 balls) contributed crucial runs in the middle order, but Gibraltar never truly accelerated, held back by consistent Slovenian bowling and tight fielding. Michael Raikes added 25 off 21 balls, and despite a flurry of late-order runs, Gibraltar finished with a modest total.
Izaz Ali, who would later be named Player of the Match, was instrumental with the ball, claiming 2 wickets for 17 runs in his 3 overs. Merwais Shinwari also impressed, taking 2 for 17 in his 3 overs, while Sudhakar Koppolu picked up 2 wickets for 20 runs.

Louis Bruce: 28 (20), 5x4
Iain Latin: 30 (22), 3x4, 1x6
Avinash Pai (c): 31 (30), 3x4
Michael Raikes: 25 (21)
Slovenia Bowling:

Merwais Shinwari: 3-0-17-2
Izaz Ali (c): 3-0-17-2
Sudhakar Koppolu: 3-0-20-2
Chasing 137, Slovenia got off to a solid start despite losing Shoaib Siddiqui (27 off 25 balls) in the sixth over, caught by Chris Pyle off Kabir Mirpuri’s bowling. However, the wickets fell at regular intervals, putting pressure on the middle order. Key contributions from Shahid Arshad (23 off 23 balls) and captain Izaz Ali (18 off 13 balls) kept Slovenia in the hunt.
Louis Bruce’s brilliant spell of 3 for 24 in 3 overs almost turned the game in Gibraltar’s favor, as he dismissed the dangerous Ali and Waqar Khan (20 off 17 balls). With the game hanging in the balance, Slovenia’s tailenders held their nerve.

Sudhakar Koppolu’s quick 11 off 6 balls provided a late boost, but it was ultimately down to the last over. Needing just 1 run with a wicket in hand, Saeed Ali and Merwais Shinwari ensured there were no further hiccups, crossing the finish line with three balls remaining.

Shoaib Siddiqui: 27 (25), 4x4
Shahid Arshad: 23 (23), 2x4, 1x6
Izaz Ali (c): 18 (13), 1x4
Gibraltar Bowling:

Kabir Mirpuri: 4-0-32-3
Louis Bruce: 3-0-24-3
Jack Horrocks: 4-0-24-2

Player of the Match:
Izaz Ali for his all-round performance, scoring 18 off 13 balls and taking 2 wickets for 17 runs.

This victory propels Slovenia further in the qualifiers, while Gibraltar will needed to regroup and focus on their upcoming matches to keep their hopes alive in the tournament after their second defeat.

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