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Lions suffer defeat in Austria

The Czech Lions team went down by 58 runs in a 20-over friendly against the Austria Under-25 team, on a scorching day in Vienna.

The Lions team pre-match in Vienna (photo: Dan Casey)The Lions lost the toss and had to field first, with Austrian opener Imran Asif, who represented the full national team in their recent impressive campaign in Europe Division 2, notching 92 off 68 balls.

Armaan joined Imran in striking some lusty blows, notching 39 himself as the Austrian U25 team reached 170-3 off their 20 overs.

The Lions toiled in the field with some tough chances going down, but Brigham, Roy and Rahul picked up wickets.

The Lions then lost both openers inside three overs, and despite Mik Starý's solid knock at No. 3, which included a massive six, wickets fell regularly as the Lions were bowled out for 112 inside 18 overs.

Mik led the way with 24, with only Vojta, Hilal and Roy otherwise reaching double figures.

The Lions will be hoping for better when they take on Dresden in August, before a September multi-team tournament in Prague.

Full scorecard here, and photos from the day are available at our Facebook page.

Prior to the match, the following announcement was made regarding the squad details:

The ČMKS are pleased to announce the following Lions (national team) squad for the upcoming 20-over match against Austria, to take place at Seebarn Cricket Ground (near Vienna) on Sunday 6th July.

Vojta Haša (Vinohrady, captain)
Mik Starý (Vinohrady, wicket-keeper and vice-captain)
Hilal Ahmad (PCC)
Lukáš Fencl (Vinohrady)
Manjeet Malik (Bohemians)
Scott Page (Bohemians)
Brigham Smith (Vinohrady)
Rahul Subash (Vinohrady)
Suditha Udugalage (PCC)
Sudesh Wickremasinghe (PCC) - note: Sudesh was a late injury withdrawl, with Chris Pearce of Vinohrady CC replacing him. Thanks Chris!
Arshad Yousafzai (Vinohrady)

Batting reserves: Prakash Sadasivan (PCC), Chris Pearce (Vinohrady) 
Bowling reserves: Ben Souček (Vinohrady), Saša Cook (Bohemians)

Sudhir Gladson, Sivagnanam Gnanatheeswaran (aka "Rajh") and Rohit Deshmoyni are unavailable for this match. Hilal Ahmad and Arshad Yousafzai have been selected for the first time, and they are the two four-year players permitted. By agreement with Austria, Sudesh Wickremasinghe has been selected before he has officially qualified as eligible for selection.

The squad was chosen by a four-man selection committee approved by the ČMKS Executive Committee. The selectors were High Performance Director Craig Hampson, national team manager Dan Casey, national team captain Vojta Haša and Barbarians team captain Navoneil Bhattacharyya.

Lions manager Dan Casey said: "I'm excited to see what this team can produce. It's the strongest national team we've ever had. Our pool of players expands year on year, giving us more and more options and flexibility with the team.

"This year, Sudhir, Rajh, Brigham and Rahul have all passed seven years of residency in the Czech Republic, which greatly increases our options. Hilal has batted superbly in the 40-over league, and Sudesh has been fantastic. Given Austria's comparative strength and Sudesh's long-term commitment to living in the Czech Republic, it was an easy decision to find a place for him.

"We will miss Rajh and Rohit this time, but we look forward to having both involved in squads later this year. They are both useful bowlers, and the squad does have an impressive amount of batting while possibly needing a bit more bowling firepower. There's a great chance for our Czech youngsters and everyone else locally to stake a claim if they perform strongly in the league."

The Czech national team will go on to play against the developmental Eagles squad in Prague on Saturday 26th July, before travelling to Dresden to take on our old friends and their strongest possible team on Saturday 23rd August. The season then closes with an international tournament in Prague, with Luxembourg and Switzerland planning to come from Friday 5th to Sunday 7th September. Selection of the Lions and Eagles squads will take place in the next few weeks and be announced in due course.

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