Debutants Bangladesh take Commonwealth Cricket Cup title
ROME – This year’s Commonwealth Cricket Cup, organised by the Commonwealth Club of Rome and the Italian Cricket Federation, was won by newcomers Bangladesh.
In a tense final, they edged out defending champions Pakistan by just four runs. Their route to the final was slightly contentious, as their match against India was annulled, due to a shortage of embassy players on the Bangladesh side. The ICF later confirmed that they would be tightening up the rules on “ringers” – non-embassy players – playing next year.
This meant whichever team beat Great Britain by a greater margin would progress to the final. Bangladesh secured a 28-run win over the British Embassy team thanks to 30 runs from the tournament's top batsman Bappy. Therefore, despite amassing 80 runs, thanks to some fine stroke-play, the Indians bowed out as Britain responded with 64.
Reigning champions Pakistan had fewer troubles advancing out of Group B with comfortable wins over Australia and the Commonwealth Club. Pakistan required just ten balls to chase down Australia's total of 34 before the Commonwealth Club, featuring New Zealand ambassador Patrick Rata, set up a winner-takes-all group qualifier by seeing off the Aussies for the loss of two wickets.
Special mention in this group must go to Australian captain and ambassador Greg French, who literally shed blood in pursuit of victory, twice diving to gain an extra run, the second occasion unfortunately leading to his dismissal. Such commitment embodies everything cricket stands for. "It’s not about the result, it’s about how you play the game,” he commented. Despite losing both of their group games, Mr French was very happy to be a part of the event, seeing it as “a great opportunity to gather people from various embassies in a social context.” The camaraderie was clear to see, as he and his counterpart from Pakistan, Nadeem Riyaz, shared a hug on the pitch after Mr French’s dismissal.
Reaching the final with a win against the Commonwealth Club, Pakistan started brightly against Bangladesh and took a few quick wickets. Samir’s power-hitting then took over, scoring 50 of his side’s 65 runs – a competitive total. The holders, featuring Mr Riyaz, responded well, as opener Naqeeb scored a lovely 31, but they began to run out of steam and were bowled out for 61 runs, just five short of their target.
The cricket was accompanied by a wonderful lunch of various foods from all over the Commonwealth, provided by each of the teams, and was extremely well received by players and supporters alike.
Huge thanks must go to Ed Mura from the Commonwealth Club of Rome for all his effort in organising the event, as well as Roma Capannelle Cricket Club for hosting what was a brilliant day for cricket in Rome.