Hungarian National Cricket Team perform brilliantly in Bucharest Tri-Nations Tournament
by Andrew Leckonby
The Hungarian National Cricket Team has returned from Bucharest with the mixed emotions of having achieved impressive victories over the two opposition teams, but having suffered the pain of losing the spontaneous, weather-induced 'Super Over' that replaced a complete Final in order to decide the official winner of the 2-day tournament.
First and foremost, Hungary wish to extend congratulations to Bulgaria for their lifting of the Cup, and even larger congratulations and gratitude to Cricket Romania for not only providing a truly incredible turf-pitch cricketing facility, but adding to that a perfect example of how to host a tournament and to make all players, officials, and special guests feel very, very welcome. It was a weekend full of memories to treasure both on and off the field.
'Special Guest' was for sure appropriate this weekend, with the amazing attendance throughout the tournament of South African Test Player Fanie de Villiers. The words of advice and encouragement from (Mister) Fanie de Villiers were more than enough to make the lengthy and challenging train rides worthwhile. What an amazing experience it was for all cricketers to meet and chat with such an esteemed international cricketer in such a friendly and informal manner.
But, back to the cricket. Hungary performed close to perfectly as a team right from the first over of the tournament, which started with a wicket maiden against Bulgaria. A commanding win over Bulgaria in that first match was followed by a solid first-ever win over Romania in the second match, leaving Hungary as the only undefeated team in the tournament. Bulgaria's gritty win over Romania ultimately secured them the other spot in the final that was unavoidably doomed to misfortune, thanks to the large storms that came through just at the wrong time.
The final commenced normally enough, Hungary losing the toss and being sent in to bat with encroaching clouds already threatening what would come. A solid start by both opening bowlers and both opening batters left the game evenly poised at 0/21 from 5.1 overs, Hungary's comfort being that no wickets had fallen in the overs that had all been bowled by the tournament's two best bowlers. That would surely prove useful in the Duckworth-Lewis calculations that we had all been waiting for since the start of the match. But Duckworth and Lewis were effectively out injured by the storm that passed and the storm that was approaching: there would clearly be a maximum of 10-15 minutes play remaining in the day. A quick decision was made by tournament organisers and umpires to decide the Final with a super-over, on the artificial pitch, preferring this to a coin-toss or a sharing of the title.
The dramatic and sudden change of conditions both abovehead and underfoot, as well as 'in the mind', brought to life the only match scenario that Hungary proved not to be fully prepared for. Bulgaria dominated the unexpected shoot out to win 16 runs to zero.
The overall feeling in the Hungary camp was one of great satisfaction from two excellent full-match performances, mixed with great disappointment that, in terms of tournament standings, all that fantastic work over 80 overs was wiped out in just 2 overs. As de Villiers summed it up in his closing speech, 'Cricket is a Beast'. It sure was on this occasion, but the Hungarian cricket community and the National Team itself can be very proud of the massively improved standards that the team reached on this weekend. May the improvements long continue.