The 2001 World Cup Qualifier in Canada, then known as the ICC Trophy, featured as many as 24 teams bifurcated into two divisions, with two groups in each division. Among the six teams in Group A of Division Two was Germany, who were participating in the ICC Trophy for the first time. This remains Germany’s only appearance at the World Cup Qualifier thus far.
Germany became an Affiliate Member of the International Cricket Council (ICC) in 1991, two years after West Germany played an international for the first time, against Denmark. Associate membership followed in 1999. In June 2001, prior to the start of the ICC Trophy, Germany played the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) in a 50-over game at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium.
The format of the 2001 ICC Trophy allowed the toppers of the two Division Two groups to enter into playoffs against the fourth-placed teams of the respective Division One groups, for a chance to join the top three teams from the two Division One groups in the eight-team Super League round. Thus, for Germany to make it to the Super League, they virtually had to win every group game of theirs.
Germany’s competitors in their group were Gibraltar, Italy, Namibia, Nepal, and West Africa. West Africa were a team representing the countries of Gambia, Ghana, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone, who had to withdraw from the tournament shortly before its start due to immigration issues. This meant that Germany already had a win from their scheduled opening game against West Africa, in the form of a walkover.
Two days later, on June 30, 2001, Germany were soundly beaten by a rampant Namibia at the Malton Cricket Club in Toronto. After captain Abdul Hamid Bhatti elected to bat, the German openers Tayyab Rathore and Shamas-ud-Din began well, putting on 24. However, Rathore fell to Bjorn Kotze to begin Germany’s slide, and soon, half the side were dismissed with only 63 on the board.
Mark Brodersen, who top-scored with 30, attempted a revival through a sixth-wicket stand worth 26 with Ayub Pasha, but that was to be the highest partnership of the innings. It was Kotze who provided the breakthrough again, after which ensued a lower-order collapse of five for 16, condemning Germany to a paltry 105 in 45.5 overs. Namibia waltzed to a nine-wicket win in the 22nd over.
Up next for Germany were fellow Europeans Gibraltar, at the Eglinton Flats West Ground in Toronto on July 2. Gibraltar posted a competitive 243/8 from their allotted 50 overs after winning the toss, and owed their recovery from 90/4 to captain Christian Rocca, who struck a composed 76 while opening the innings, and Timothy Buzaglo, who creamed 89 in 94 balls from number six.
In reply, Germany stumbled to 34/3 after 13 overs. But Gerrit Muller, batting at number four, went on to play a superb innings, undeterred by the fall of wickets at the other end. When the seventh wicket fell, Germany needed 55 from 59 balls. With Renald Buss for company, Muller steered his team home by three wickets with 19 balls to spare, remaining unbeaten on 110 from just 99 balls.
Italy, Germany’s opponents for the fourth round, were the second team to withdraw before the tournament, in protest after all-rounder Joe Scuderi was ruled ineligible despite being an Italian citizen, leading to walkovers from all their games as well. With three ‘wins’ out of four, Germany headed into their last game against Nepal, at the Maple Leaf North-West Ground in King City, on July 5.
Nepal slumped to a mediocre 60/4 by the halfway stage after electing to bat. The middle order duo of Jay Sarraf and Dipendra Chaudhary (52) repaired the innings with a fifth-wicket stand of 75, which helped Nepal reach 175/9 in their 50 overs. Bhatti led from the front, capturing 5/31 with his fast-medium pace, while off -spinner Hans Petersen returned a stingy 1/20 from ten overs.
Germany’s openers gave their side an ideal start, batting for more than 20 overs to add 61, before Rathore was bowled by Parash Luniya (4/23) for 35. Thereafter, the lack of a substantial partnership hurt the Germans, even as Shamas-ud-Din held fort with a gritty 68. From a seemingly comfortable 118/3 in the 32nd over, Germany slid to 173 all out in 47.3 overs to lose by just two runs.
Germany thus finished third in their group with six points in their only appearance at the ICC Trophy, behind Namibia and Nepal. Namibia not only made it to the Super League round, but also went on to finish second in the tournament, losing a thrilling final to the Netherlands. The Netherlands and Namibia both ensured qualification for the 2003 World Cup, along with third-placed Canada.
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