The Iceland football team impressed everyone during FIFA World Cup 2018 by drawing a match against one of the tournament favourites, Argentina. After stunning strong teams in Euro Cup 2016, they made an impressive FIFA World Cup debut. Iceland played their first unofficial ODI against Switzerland Cricket. They aced it and won the match by a huge margin of 215 runs.
Like the football players, Iceland cricket players rely on their primary jobs to make ends meet. There are just 35 cricketers in Iceland. It is hard for them to play cricket in a country which doesn’t receive a lot of sunlight for the better part of the year. Mostly, the players play indoors.
Iceland do not have a cricket ground either. They play on football grounds which have AstroTurf where the ball bounces a lot more than on regular cricket grounds. They are not yet affiliated by the government. In order to receive financial aid from the International Cricket Council (ICC), they need to have at least two cricket grounds.
Usually, when Iceland play against Switzerland in a football game, the latter emerge victoriously. However, the Icelanders dominated the Swiss at St George’s College (Weybridge), Surrey, England.
They won the toss and elected to bat first. They got a decent start but the openers could not convert it into a big score. Middle-order batsman Dushan Bandara scored 134 runs off 105 balls whereas Derick Deonarain scored 61 runs off 88 deliveries. They posted a total of 330 on the scoreboard for the loss of 7 wickets.
In reply, Switzerland never seemed like chasing the total. Only three batsmen managed to score in double digits whereas others contributed to the batting collapse. As a result, they got bundled out for 115 in just 27 years. Sadun Lankathilaka took 4 wickets whereas David Cook picked up 3 wickets, followed by Nollon Williams with 2 wickets.
Most of the players in the team are refugees thanks to Iceland’s policy of allowing up to 500 refugees every year. They are reliving their dream of playing cricket professionally by taking time out of from their jobs and taking unpaid leaves for their current tour of England to play against MCC and Authors Cricket Club.
Soon enough, we might see Iceland competing with associate nations and locking horns with the best.