Valletta Cup - iT20 series in Malta

Marsa Sports Club, Malta - 21st - 24th October 2021

Having finishing top of the points table, disappointed but not dejected, Switzerland lost to Malta in the final of the Valletta Cup 2021 on Sunday 24th October by 6 runs.

 

After winning the toss Malta set a total of 176 for the loss of seven wickets in their allotted 20 overs. But despite a gallant effort, Switzerland ended six runs short of the Maltese total.

 

On Saturday 23rd October, Switzerland faced their Valletta Cup 2021 hosts in their third match of the tournament. narrowly beating Malta by just 8 runs. The tourists managed to defend 150 as Malta ended the match 8 runs short of the target despite a quick fire 35 from 17 balls from the Maltese batsman Muhammad Bilal.

 

On Friday 22nd October, in their second game of the tournament, Switzerland dismissed Bulgaria all out for 81 in 19.3 overs and surpassed that score in just 6 overs, thanks to a blistering display by Arjun Vinod with two fours and three consecutive sixes.

And earlier in the day Switzerland eased passed Gibraltar with a nine wicket victory in their first iT20 at the Valletta Cup. Gibraltar scored 133 runs in their 20 overs, Louis Bruce top scoring  with 31, while Aidan Andrews was the pick of the Swiss bowlers with 3 wickets for 21 runs. In reply Switzerland lost just one wicket and Osama Mahmood scored a half century to win easily in Marsa, Malta.

 

The Valletta Cup iT20 series at which Switzerland is competing against Malta, Gibraltar & Bulgaria, began on Thursday 21st October with a 61 run win for Malta over Gibraltar. Matches on Saturday 23rd began with a win for Gibraltar over Bulgaria, but in the 3rd/4th place match Bulgaria managed to reverse that with a 6 wicket victory over Gibraltar off the last ball of the match.

Switzerland Men's National Squad - Valletta Cup 2021
Top (l-r): C.Lodge (Coach), A.Vinod, A.Nayyer, O.Mahmood, A.Mehmood, S.Franklin, A.Vinod, M.Lodge (scorer)
Front (l-r): A.Mahmood, I.Haqque, N. Ahmedi, N.Henderson, A.Andrews, M.Martin, A.Kumar

Match report: Final versus Malta

The match was scored live on cricHQ.

Malta v Switzerland (Valletta Cup T20i, Match 7, 21-24.10.2021)

Marsa International Cricket Ground, 24.10.2021, 2pm

Malta won the toss and elected to bat

Malta 176-7 in 20.0 overs (Ashwin Vinod 4.0-0-29-2, Ali Nayyer 4.0-0-43-1, Osama Mahmood 4.0-0-33-1, Aidan Andrews 3.0-0-28-0, Aneesh Kumar 4.0-0-26-2,Arjun Vinod 1.0-0-12-1) beat Switzerland 170-8 in 20.0 overs (Osama Mahmood 22, Idrees Haque 42, Noorkhan Ahmedi 10, Anser Mehmood 29, Arjun Vinod 29, Asad Mahmood 1, Ali Nayyer 7, Ashwin Vinod 15no, Aneesh Kumar 1, Aidan Andrews 0no)

MoM: Varun Prasath (Malta)

Malta won by 6 runs

cricHQ full match scorecard

Switzerland faced the host nation Malta in the final of the Valletta Cup 2021 on Sunday 24th October 2021.

 

Despite losing the toss, Switzerland would have been feeling confident after winning all three preliminary matches, including a slim 8 run victory against today's opposition earlier in the tournament.

After a shaky first over, Swiss opener Ashvin Vinod took two wickets in two consecutive overs to set up a good start for the tourists. However the Maltese no. 2, Bikram Arora (42), along with Deon Vosloo (15) set about steadying the innings and take Malta to 68-2 at the half way stage.

Switzerland changed their bowling attack and brought on Aneesh  Kumar & Osama Mahmood, both of whom made an immediate impact. First Osama Mahmood claimed the wicket of Deon Vosloo (15) to break the partnership, Aidan Andrews taking a good catch at third man, and then Aneesh Kumar catching Bikram Arora (42) lbw. And when Aiden Andrews took another long catch at cow-corner when Varun Prasath (14) tried to smack Aneesh Kumar out of the park again, suddenly Malta were in the tail!

This was a great opportunity to limit the Maltese batters from establishing a good total, but Aaftab Khan (8) and Samuel Sanish (21no) had other ideas taking the Maltese innings to 114-6 when Osama Mahmood caught Aaftab Khan off Arjun Vinod.

That brought Malta's Muhammad Bilal (16) to the crease. Remember him from yesterday's game? Muhammed hit six off of Ali Nayyer down to deep backward square leg off the first ball he faced and again a few balls later. But Ali kept his cool and clean bowled Muhammad Bilal. What a relief!! Malta were now 135-7 with a little over three overs to come!

Aneesh Kumar, back into the attack for Switzerland, might have been excused for thinking he might have an easy time with the tail-end. Niraj Khanna (37no) had other ideas scoring consecutive boundaries, Malta now looked they might amass a good 1st total. And there was more of the same for Ali Nayyer, along with some good running between the sticks, all very useful runs.

In the last over of the innings, with the score on 165-7, Aidan Andrews wasn't able to make any in-roads and Malta completed their innings (176-7) with their innings intact and and having set a target for Switzerland of 177.

Switzerland bowlers
Ashwin Vinod 4.0-0-29-2
Ali Nayyer 4.0-0-43-1
Osama Mahmood 4.0-0-33-1
Aidan Andrews 3.0-0-28-0
Aneesh Kumar 4.0-0-26-2
Arjun Vinod 1.0-0-12-1

Big hitting Swiss stars Osama Mahmood & Idrees Haque were charged with the task of opening proceedings for Switzerland in this crucial match against Malta.

With a required run rate of nearly nine an over, Osama set to work quickly scoring two boundary fours in the first two overs. A good start for the tourists 19-0 off 2 overs, Ahead of the required rate. Can Idrees Haque, facing Muhammad Bilal, get going? Yes he can, Two boundary 4s off that over too, Switzerland right on the money with 28-0 off 3 overs.

Osama Mahmood (22) was caught brilliant by Waseem Abbas off of Varun Prasath's bowling, but the openers had done their bit with Switzerland on 63-1.

Noorkhan Ahmedi, who had failed with bat in his previous two innings of this tournament came to the crease in the 6th over. With the loss of Osama and with the introduction of Bikram Arora to the Maltese attack, the Swiss innings stumbled slightly.
And there was a let-off on the second ball of the eight over for Idrees Haque when he was dropped by Deon Vosloo. However, no regrets as Idrees was caught behind on the last ball of the same over. Switzerland 74-2 off 8.0 overs.

Switzerland, now dropping off the required run rate, were hoping skipper Anser Mehmood  Noorkhan Ahmedi would get their eye in quickly. But that wasn0t to be as Noorkhan Ahmedi (10) was caught by Amar Sharma at long on off Varun Prasath, this time though having made double-figures.

The halfway point passed with Switzerland on 83-3 and behind the required run rate for the first time.

Arjun Vinod (11) & Swiss skipper Anser Mehmood (25) played patiently and maturely, Anser eventually run out on 29. Ali Nayyer (7) scored 7 off six balls, while Ashwin Vinod (15) scored a quick 15 off nine, and some desperate running from Aneesh Kumar (1) was not enough, Switzerland ending the match one boundary six away from tying the game.

So it wasn't a fairytale return to internation cricket, but it was It was a gallant effort from the Swiss squad and there will be many positives to take away to build for the ICC WCT20 preliminary group qualifiers in 2022!

Switzerland batters
Osama Mahmood 22 (17)
Idrees Haque 42 (23)

Noorkhan Ahmedi 10 (14)

Anser Mehmood 29 (24)

Arjun Vinod 29 (22)

Asad Mahmood 1 (3)

Ali Nayyer 7 (6)

Ashwin Vinod 15no (9)

Aneesh Kumar 1 (2)

Aidan Andrews 0no (0)

Did not bat: Nicolas Henderson

Malta won by 6 runs.

 

Switzerland Men's National Squad 2021

Switzerland Men's National Squad - Valletta Cup 2021
Top row (l-r): Chris Lodeg (Coach), Osama Mahmood, Ali Nayyer, Anser Mehmood*, Ashwin Vonid, Arjun Vinod, Stefan Franklin, Asad Mahmood
Front row (l-r): Nic Henderson, Aidan Andrews, Noorkhan Ahmadi, Idrees Haque, Matthew Martin, Aneesh Kumar

Match report versus Malta

Malta v Switzerland (Valletta Cup T20i, Match 5, 21-24.10.2021)

Marsa International Cricket Ground, 23.10.2021, 11.30am

Switzerland won the toss  elected to bat

Switzerland 150-9 in 20.0 overs (Osama 22, Idrees 2, Anser 21, Arjun 12, Asad 33, Matthew 2, Noorkhan 1, Ali 27, Stefan 5, Ashwin 8no, Aneesh 0no) beat Malta 142-9 in 20.0 overs (Ali Nayyer 4.0-0-23-2, Ashwin Vinod 4.0-0-30-3, Osama Mahmood 4.0-0-39-3, Stefan Franklin 1.0-0-10-0, Aneesh Kumar 4.0-0-10-0, Arjun Vinod 3.0-0-22-1)

MoM: Osama Mahmood

Switzerland win by 8 runs

cricHQ match scorecard

Skipper *Anser Mehmood won the toss for the first time this tournament and elected to bat first, in what was to prove, as expected, a much tougher assignment than the previous two games against Gibraltar & Bulgaria.

 

Things didn't begin well for Switzerland. They lost their big hitting batter from the Romandie, †Idrees Haque (2), on the first ball of the second over. Switzerland recovered quickly and when they lost the second wicket, Osama Mahmood (22), the score had moved on to 40-2 in the fifth over.

Switzerland needed a batter to steady things up and stay there. Asad Mahmood (33) and Ali Nayyer (27) managed that to a certain degree but at the other end wickets continued to fall at regular intervals, no-one else managing double figures with the bat.

Switzerland managed to bat out all 20 overs, managing a total of 150. Question is, would a net run rate of just under 8 an over be enough?

Switzerland batters

Osama Mahmood 22 (16)

†Idress Haque 2 (4)

*Anser Mehmood 21 (16)

Arjun Vinod 12 (13)

Asad Mahmood 33 (25)

Matthew Martin 2 (6)

Noorkhan Ahmadi 1 (3)

Ali Nayyer 27 (23)

Stefan Franklin 5 (6)

Ashwin Vinod 8no (7)

Aneesh Kumar 0no (1)

Did not bat: Aswin Lakkaraju

Malta began their innings with a target of 151 to win and a NRR of 7.55.

 

Ashwin Vinod made the breakthrough when the Maltese opener Basil George (1) was caught behind by †Idress Haque. Malta were 8-1 and most importantly, behind the required run rate.

More of the same was required, and it was, only this time it was the other opener, Bikram Arora (5) that was caught behind by VIdrees Haque off of Ali Nayyer.

It was all going so well! Ashwin Vinod struck again in the fourth, complements of a caught by his brother Arjun Vinod.

Heinrick Gericke (23) & Varun Prasath started to build a useful partnership until Heinrick was caught by Stefan Franklin off of Osama Mahmood for his first wicket of this tournament. Malta were were now languishing at 42-4 off 5.4 overs.

With the top order gone, it was  now up to the Maltese middle-order to stage a recovery against the tourists.

Varun Prasath and his new partner at the crease Aaftab Khan (3) pushed the score on and started to match the required run rate. Switzerland needed to break this partnership which they did in the 8th over, †Idrees Haque with another catch with the gloves handing Osama Mahmood his second wicket of the match.

 

At the halfway stage, Malta were 64-5. How far down to Malta bat? We were about to find out!

 

All the time Varun Prasath (30) was there, Malta had a chance. They were still in this. Especially when  another useful partnership started to build, this time with Amar Sharma (17).

What were the right tactics at this stage? Contain the runs or get the wickets? With the required run rate increasing to 12.5 with just 4 overs to go, the pressure was all on the Maltese tail-enders!

Some might be forgiven thinking it was all over, but Muhammad Bilal (30no) scored an unbeaten 30 off just 17 balls, hitting sixes all around the park. But fortunately Switzerland kept their cool, even when Osama Mahmood bowled a wide in the last over to make the impossible look possible, and Malta finished their innings just 8 runs short of the target to hand the tourists their third win in three matches at the Valletta Cup 2021.

Switzerland bowlers

Ali Nayyer 4.0-0-23-2

Ashwin Vinod 4.0-0-30-3

Osama Mahmood 4.0-0-39-3

Stefan Franklin 1.0-0-10-0

Aneesh Kumar 4.0-0-10-0

Arjun Vinod 3.0-0-22-1

Switzerland win by 8 runs.

Match report versus Bulgaria

Bulgaria v Switzerland (Valletta Cup T20i, Match 3, 21-24.10.2021)

Marsa International Cricket Ground, 22.10.2021, 2pm

Bulgaria won the toss and elected to bat

Bulgaria 81ao in 19.3 overs (Ashwin Vinod 4.0-0-18-2; Ali Nayyer 4.0-0-17-1; Aidan Andrews; 3.0-0-12-1; Osama Mahmood 2.0-0-9-0; Aneesh Kumar 2.3-0-3-3; Noorkhan Ahmedi 2.0-2-0-1; Arjun Vinod 2.0-1-7-0 ) lost to Switzerland 82-2 in 6.0 overs (Arjun Vinod 43no, Asad Mahmood 18; Noorkhan Ahmadi 0, Ali Nayyar 9no)

MoM: Osama Mahmood

Switzerland win by 8 wickets

cricHQ match scorecard

Swiss captain Anser Mehmood lost his second toss of the day and Bulgaria elected to bat first.

 

The Swiss opening bowler Ashwin Vinod struck in the second over to dismiss Bulgarian opener, Suliaiman (6), and again at the end of the fourth, to dismiss Hristo (5) to make a perfect start for him & the Swiss national men's team. Bulgaria were already struggling at 19-2. Next over Bulgaria lost their third wicket, Omar caught behind by Nicolas off Aidan. And before Ishan (13) could get going Aneesh clean bowled the batter. Bulgaria were now 38-4 off at the halfway mark.

The innings continued in this fashion when Noorkhan took his debut wicket, Kevin Dsouza (0), caught by ZCCC team-mate Nicolas Henderson for a duck and then Aneesh Kumar clean bowled his second of the day, Prakash (13). Anyone might think 13 was an unlucky number!

Ali Nayyar was rewarded in the 15th over with his first wicket of the tournament and when Arjun Vinod was handed the ball by captain Anser Mehmood he promptly started to join the dots with a superb maiden over. Aidan was charged with the task to clean-up the tail enders, but in Bulgaria's desperation to put some runs on the board, it was the Swiss keeper Nic that ran out Bulgaria Delrick (4) with the assist coming from Asad, and then Ahsan (1), with the assist coming from Asad's brother, Osama. Aneesh Kumar ended the Bulgarian innings three balls prematurely with his third clean bowled of the day (that earned him the MoM), Bulgaria's number 11 Andrey dismissed for a duck.

Bulgaria ended their innings on 81 all out after 19.3 overs.

Switzerland bowlers

Ashwin Vinod 4.0-0-18-2    
Ali Nayyer 4.0-0-17-1    
Aidan Andrews 3.0-0-12-1    
Osama Mahmood 2.0-0-9-0    
Aneesh Kumar 2.3-0-3-3
Noorkhan Ahmedi 2.0-2-0-1    
Arjun Vinod 2.0-1-7-0

Switzerland went about the task of winning their second game of the day and the prospect of an early evening finish. And that they did in superb fashion. A quick fire 18 from 8 balls from Asad Mahmood and a wonderful forty-three in just 20 balls from Arjun Vinod (43), scoring twenty-six off the last over (three sixes & two fours), meant Switzerland finished the match in just 6.0 overs.

Switzerland batters

Arjun Vinod 43no (20)

Asad Mahmood 18 (8)

Noorkhan Ahmadi 0 (2)

Ali Nayyer 9 (8)

Did not bat: *Anser Mehmood, Ashwin Vinod, Aidan Andrews, Osama Mahmood, Idrees Haque, †Nicolas Henderson

Switzerland won by 8 wickets.

 

Match report versus Gibraltar

Gibraltar v Switzerland (Valletta Cup T20i, Match 2, 21-24.10.2021)

Marsa International Cricket Ground, 22.10.2021, 10am

Gibraltar won the toss  elected to bat

Gibraltar 133-9 in 20.0 overs (Ashwin Vinod 4.0-0-27-2; Ali Nayyer 3.4-0-24-2; Osama Mahmood 3.0-1-10-0 ; Stefan Franklin 3.0-0-27-0; Aidan Andrews 4.0-0-21-3; Arjun Vinod 1.0-0-11-0) lost to Switzerland 134-1 in 14.4 overs (Idrees Haque 35, Osama Mahmood 57no, Anser Mehmood* 20no) Switzerland win by 9 wickets

MoM: Osama Mahmood

cricHQ match scorecard

Switzerland began their series against Gibraltar on Friday 22nd October.

 

Gibraltar won the toss and elected to bat, scoring 133-9 off their allotted 20.0 overs.

The pick of the Swiss bowlers was Aidan Andrews with 3 wickets for 21 runs. Ali Nayyar wasn't far behind him, also 3 wickets for 25 runs. Osama Mahmood, although he didn't take any wickets, was the most economical going for just 16 off his four overs.

Gibraltar's Louis Bruce top scored with 31 with the bat.

Switzerland bowlers

Ashwin Vinod 4.0-0-27-2    
Ali Nayyer 4.0-0-25-3
Osama Mahmood 4.0-1-16-0
Stefan Franklin 3.0-0-27-0
Aidan Andrews 4.0-0-21-3    
Arjun Vinod 1.0-0-11-0

Switzerland begun their innings requiring 6.7 runs an over. Openers Osama Mahmood (58no) & Idrees Ul Haque (35) quickly went to task to set up the basis for a victory for Switzerland by scoring at over 10 runs an overs. Idrees was dismissed in the 7th over with the score at 75-1. Swiss captain Anser Mehmood (20no) came to the crease and continued where Idrees left off, and along with Osama (MoM) eased Switzerland to victory by a convincing 9 wicket margin.

Switzerland batters

Idrees Ul Haque 35 (21)

Osama Mahmood 58no (46)

*Anser Mehmood 20no (23)

Did not bat: Aneesh Kumar, Arjun Vinod, Ashwin Vinod, Aidan Andrews, Asad Mahmood, Ali Nayyer, Noorkhan Ahmedi, †Nicolas Henderson

Switzerland won by 9 wickets.

 

Overview of Swiss results

Summary of all tournament fixtures & results

Match 1 Malta v Gibraltar

Marsa International Cricket Ground, 21.10.2021, 2pm

Malta 213-5 in 20.0 overs beat Gibraltar 152-2 in 20.0 overs by 61 runs

Match 2 Gibraltar v Switzerland

Marsa International Cricket Ground, 22.10.2021, 10am

Gibraltar 133-9 in 20.0 overs lost to Switzerland 134-1 in 14.4 overs by 9 wickets

Match 3 Switzerland v Bulgaria

Marsa International Cricket Ground, 22.10.2021, 2pm

Bulgaria 81ao in 19.3 overs lost to Switzerland 82-2 in 6.0 overs by 8 wickets

Match 4 Gibraltar v Bulgaria

Marsa International Cricket Ground, 23.10.2021, 8am

Gibraltar 217-4 in 20.0 overs beat Bulgaria 180-5 in 20.0 overs by 37 runs

Match 5 Malta v Switzerland

Marsa International Cricket Ground, 23.10.2021, 11.30am

Switzerland 150-9 in 20.0 overs beat Malta 142-9 in 20.0 overs by 8 runs

Match 5 Malta v Bulgaria

Marsa International Cricket Ground, 23.10.2021, 3pm

Bulgaria 150-6 in 20.0 overs lost to Malta 153-4 in 17.0 overs by 6 wickets

Match 6 (¾ place) Gibraltar v Bulgaria

Marsa International Cricket Ground, 24.10.2021, 10am

Gibraltar 177-9 in 20.0 overs lost to Bulgaria 178-4 in 20.0 overs by 6 wickets

Match 7 (Final) Malta versus Switzerland

Marsa International Cricket Ground, 24.10.2021, 2pm

Malta 176-7 in 20.0 overs beat Switzerland 170-8 in 20.0 overs by 6 runs

Points table (round robin)

Pos. Team                               Played Won Lost Tied N/R NRR For Against Pts Form
1 Switzerland 3 3 0 0 0 +3.07 366/40.4 356/60.0 6 WWW
2 Malta 3 2 1 0 0 +1.38 508/57.0 452/60.0 4 WLW
3 Gibraltar 3 1 2 0 0 - 1.27 502/60.0 527/54.4 2 LLW
4 Bulgaria 3 0 3 0 0 - 3.96 411/60.0 452/43.0 0 LLL

Tournament rankings

Pos.  
Team                                                                                         
1  Malta
2  Switzerland
3  Bulgaria
4  Gibraltar

Swiss touring squad

Switzerland named a 13 man touring squad for the international T20 men's senior series against Malta, Gibraltar and Bulgaria at Marsa International Cricket Ground in Malta, taking place from Thursday 21st to Sunday 24th October 2021, as follows:

Individual player profiles available in cricHQ.

 

About the tour

Valletta Cup (21.-24.10.2021)

This was Switzerland's first international tournament since being re-admitted to the ICC in July 2021 and, due to the Covid-19 corona virus pandemic, the first competitive international match since 2019.

 

Chris Lodge, Cricket Switzerland's international match manager, told the Cricket Switzerland website, "This is exciting times for Swiss cricket and it will be will be a fantastic experience for all".

 

All matches will take place at the Marsa Sports Club Cricket Ground.

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More information

For further information regarding this tour to Malta, please contact Cricket Switzerland's International Match Manager, Chris Lodge.