The international season 2011 for the Swedish national team was, in general, a big success. The season had its ups and downs, but there is no denying that Swedish cricket showed great promise during the season. Sweden managed to win the Division 3 tournament in Slovenia in May. Later during the season the Swedish team did not stand a chance in the Division 2 tournament in Belgium.
Victory in Division 3
Slovenia was the host country for the season’s Division 3 tournament. Sweden managed to put together a team of a high quality and was able to complete the tournament as winners. The other nations competing in the tournament were Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Turkey and the host nation Slovenia. The win was in fact Sweden’s first international title. Through the win, Sweden qualified for the Division 2 tournament later that summer.
The first match was played against Estonia on May 11. The Swedish team took a comfortable victory. The winning margin was 136 runs. The following match, against Turkey, was another easy win for Sweden, with the captain Piyal Rahman leading the way from the very first play of the match. Sweden won by eight wickets. Against Czech Republic, the winning margin was again eight wickets. In the final game of the tournament, against Bulgaria, the Swedes had no difficulty overcoming the opposition. Sweden won by ten wickets.
The win in Slovenia was something of an upset. The big favourite was the host nation Slovenia, a team that had amassed several great performances in international tournaments during the first decade of the 21 century. At the same time, there were some pundits that were of the impression that Sweden had great chances to perform well, especially since the best cricket player in Sweden at this time, Azam Khalil, was part of the team. Khalil had made a name for himself during the Division 5 tournament in Greece two years earlier.
Last place in the Division 2 tournament
Through the victory in the Division 3 tournament in Slovenia, Sweden came to the Division 2 tournament in Belgium with high aspirations. The tournament was held at the end of June 2011. It soon showed, however, that the other nations, all of them having a higher ranking than Sweden, were to skillful for the Swedish team. The host nation Belgium won the tournament after defeating Austria in the final.
The Swedish team was placed in Group B, together with Austria, Belgium, Greece, Malta and Spain. The first match in the tournament was against Spain on June 20 in Brussels. Spain won the game fairly comfortable with a winning margin of five wickets. The second match, against Greece, was abandoned after just a couple of plays. On June 21 Sweden faced the host nation Belgium. The Swedish team lost by 22 runs, but the match reports state that Sweden played very well.
The only win in the Division 2 tournament in Belgium came against Malta, on June 22 in Gent. Malta couldn’t really keep the Swedish team at bay and the Swedes won comfortably by 112 runs. After this win, Sweden suffered two pretty unnecessary losses. You can’t say that the Swedish players outdid themselves, but there was also some bad luck behind the losses. Against Austria, Sweden lost by one wicket. In the second match against Malta, Sweden lost by a measly three runs. In the final game of the tournament, Sweden lost to Cyprus by 78 runs. Sweden ended up in 11th place.