Tanzania's cricketers lose to Italy in 2024 ICC CWC Challenge League Play-Off

By Guardian Correspondent , The Guardian
Published at 04:37 PM Mar 02 2024

THE battle for success in the 2024 ICC Cricket World Cup Challenge League Play-Off has gained pace after Tanzania suffered a 162-run loss to Italy in the Super Six phase in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Italy won the toss and elected to bat, notching 325/8 in 50 overs, with a meaningful batting contribution coming from Wayne Madsen who posted 110 runs.

Promising cricketer Johnson Nyambo had the best bowling figures for Tanzania, ending his stint with 3-50 in seven overs.

Chasing 326 runs to secure victory turned out to be a daunting challenge for Tanzania, given the squad was skittled for 163 runs in 32.5 overs.

The experienced Kassim Nassoro was the notable performer in what turned out to be a fruitless chase for the batting side, having posted 50 runs. 

Italy's Nicholas Maiolo played a key role in frustrating Tanzania's chase- having ended with 3-26 in 10 overs for his squad.

Tanzania impressively secured qualification for the Super Six phase of the showdown, commanding a 20-run drubbing of Bahrain in Selangor on February 26.

The duel, which was played at Selangor Turf Club, had Tanzania racing to 173 runs in 38.3 overs once the squad had won the toss and chose to bat first. Opener Ivan Selemani led his squad's quest for a bigger score having blasted 82 runs.

In response, Bahrain faltered in the chase when it amassed 153 runs in 48.2 overs, with Haider Butt having ended as the cricketer with significant displays in the squad's innings with his 51 runs.

The 2024 ICC Cricket World Cup Challenge League Play-off is a cricket tournament taking place in Malaysia in February and March 2024.

The showpiece aims to decide the final four places in the Cricket World Cup Challenge League for the next World Cup cycle.

It features the bottom four teams from the 2019–2022 ICC Cricket World Cup Challenge League along with an additional four sides who did not participate in the 2019–2022 ICC Cricket World Cup Challenge League and met the requirements.

The best four sides emerging from the Challenge League Play-off competition qualify for the 12-team World Cup Challenge League field for the next cycle.

The eight teams were placed into two groups of four, with the top three teams from each group advancing to the Super Six stage.

In the Challenge League Play-off, the bottom two teams from each of the two groups in the 2019–2022 Challenge League joined four others from outside the 32-team qualification process.

These were the four nations with the highest Twenty20 International ranking meeting various entry requirements.

They must had a minimum of eight domestic teams playing regular cricket, including at least five 40+-over matches in each of the two previous years.

They had to be in the top 40 of the ICC T20I Championship rankings as of 30 September 2023.

Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Tanzania qualified for the tournament after meeting the requirements.

Cricketers forming Tanzania's senior national cricket team are skipper Abhik Patwa, Ramesh Alluri, Akhil Anil, Laksh Bakrania, Mohamed Issa, Zamoyoni Jabeneke, and Salum Jumbe. 

Ally Kimote, Kassim Nassoro, Yalinde Maurice Nkanya, Johnson Nyambo, Ivan Selemani, Sanjay Kumar Thakor, and wicketkeeper Mohamed Omary Kitunda, conclude the list.

Held across three venues from February 22 to March 5, this season's edition of the 50-over competition will complete the line-ups for Cricket World Cup Challenge League Groups A and B.

It means the pathway to the 2027 ICC Men's Cricket World Cup includes a total of 36 teams, with the field cut to 32 after the Play-off.

As part of the promotion and relegation system for men’s international 50-over pathways, four of the teams will fight to retain their Challenge League spots after they finished in the bottom four of the previous cycle.

Upcoming tournament hosts Malaysia and Vanuatu come to the tournament after they finished in the bottom two in Challenge League A, while Italy and Bermuda travel to Kuala Lumpur after finishing in the bottom two in Challenge League B.

Meeting them for the four spots in the next Challenge League cycle are the next best teams on the men’s T20I Ranking at the September 30 cut-off last year, who also meet requirements of domestic level 40+ over cricket.

Saudi Arabia entered the tournament in good form, albeit through T20I cricket, winning the Asian Cricket Council Men’s Challenger Cup, a tournament that feeds into the Council’s Premier Cup, the final step of the 2025 Asia Cup qualification.

Kuwait boasts a T20I ranking of 26th in the current ICC Men’s T20I, while Bahrain is one ranking step below.

Tanzania, meanwhile, had prepared for the tournament with a five-match series against local rivals Kenya, claiming wins in matches four and five in a 3-2 defeat.