Norway's Bjørvika newbies at ECL
The European Cricket League is delighted to announce Bjørvika Cricket Club from Norway, adding neatly to a booming Nordic fraction with Denmark, Finland and Sweden at ECL20.
Founded in 2005, Bjørvika from the Oslo suburbs will be buoyed by the presence of Norwegian cricket legend Ali Sufyan Saleem in their ranks. Club captain and former national skipper, Sufyan Saleem is Bjørvika’s all-time run scorer and wicket taker with close to 6000 runs and 270 wickets. Usman Haider, top scorer last season with nearly 600 runs, will provide invaluable support along with fellow national team player Ayaz Bhatti.
After losing two previous T20 final attempts, Bjørvika sealed their spot at ECL20 by winning the 2019 Norwegian T20 Championship following a blistering performance in the final against fierce rivals Sinsen CC.
Batting first, Bjørvika racked up an imposing total of 225 after a savage late-innings partnership of 108 off 35 balls between Usman Arif and Khurram Shahzad. Arif deposited every third ball he faced for a maximum in a rapid 33-ball 91, setting up the impressive win. Arif also won the man-of-the-match award in Bjørvika’s semi-final success and averaged a whopping 239 (from 92 balls faced) in the competition during six innings at the crease.
“Cricket Norway are counting the days until the opening match of ECL20. We are excited to be part the ECL family and look forward to following Bjørvika’s fortunes in their debut appearance, said Gry Bruaas, General Secretary of the Norwegian Cricket Federation.
And with temperatures plummeting in Norway, Bjørvika have already begun their preparations for ECL20 in earnest.
“We have sub-zero temperatures in Norway so we have to work hard to prepare,” said Bjørvika manager Waqas Choudhry.
“Normally, we would start indoor training in January, but because of ECL20 we have started in November.”