Nordic Cup Review

Fighting Freyas Finish with Five

Sweden’s “Fighting Freyas” won five from five to win the 2022 edition of the Nordic Cup, a tri-series with Denmark and Norway. Add their solitary victory in their first T20 International against Norway in August of 2021 and the team have won their first six matches, surely a record.

  P W L NR Points
Sweden 5 5 0 0 10
Norway 4 1 3 0 2
Denmark 3 0 3 0 0
Final table

The three teams met over the weekend of May 27th to 29th and all games were played on Swedish home soil at the Guttsta Wicket Cricket Park in Kolsva.

The series was also the T20 International debut for Denmark, which caught quite a few cricket fans off guard, for the team had previously appeared in 33 ODIs, including the 1993 and 1997 World Cup. Here they are, 25 years later making their T20 International debut!

It was a lopsided series on two counts: the Swedes were far and away the best team and in all their run chases did so with handsome run rates; they also played five matches whereas Norway played four and Denmark just three.

Denmark

For the Danes, a learning experience as it always is at this level when making a start. While the team is young in terms of matches played, the players themselves are quite mature, with several in their forties and one in her fifties.

There does not appear to be much youth in the team and this is a concern moving forwards. Of course never let it be said that one is too old for cricket, but a team does need a good blend of youth and experience and it is the youth where Denmark are light on.

The team were well led by captain Tine Erichsen who was also the leading run scorer and wicket taker for the team. Other players were less dominant but will be much better for having gotten this series out of the way and their first three T20 Internationals under their belt. Winless in this tournament but surely as they play more cricket a win cannot be far away.

Norway

The Norwegians finished second on the table, courtesy of a win over Denmark, for they were no match for the Swedes. The victory over Denmark is only their second in eleven matches, their last being over Austria in 2019. The lack of international cricket has not helped this fledgling nation and certainly the covid pandemic has not aided their progression.

Ayesha Hasan was the most consistent run scorer for the team during the tournament and indeed her 66 runs put her third overall for runs scored. Her 33* against Denmark the high water mark for the team.

The bowlers did struggle to take wickets and this is a key area for the team to work on for futures tournaments. Hopefully with the worst of the pandemic behind us, Norway will see some more international cricket and this is surely the best way for the team to improve.

Sweden

Fighting Freyas indeed! It’s certainly a fitting team nickname for Sweden. In each of the games where they were chasing a total they did so with gusto. No mucking around! They seldom batted 10 overs.

Where the obvious difficulties facing teams playing international cricket over the last couple of years were mentioned above, seemingly none of that applies to Sweden. Their approach to each game and the various disciplines of batting, bowling and fielding were professional and well executed. Perhaps a slight downgrade in marking for fielding, but I am being picky.

The captain Gunjan Shukla was the tournament’s leading wicket taker (9) and would have taken more had she not taken a back seat and given others an opportunity. She led the team well, both on and off the field.

The two leading run scorers also came from this team. Kanchan Rana not only topped the scoring in the series, she is now Sweden’s highest scorer, with 110 runs at 55.00. In second spot, the left-hander Abhilasha Singh who scored 106 runs at 26.50. With these two opening the batting most games there was little opportunity for other players, although the batting line-up did allow for this on the last day.

What will help Sweden progress further now will be playing other European teams to test themselves against tougher opposition. For now, time to celebrate. A winning streak of six matches and victory in the Nordic Cup.

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