Cricket restarts in Malta with T20 leagues and international tours on horizon

The T20 Sumer League Starts in Malta, but this is not the only exciting news coming out of the country, Isaac Lockett reports

(Photo courtesy of Malta Cricket)

Despite the island of Malta being brought to a standstill like the majority of the world due to the ongoing pandemic, cricketing action has restarted. 

Cricket resumed on the 18th July 2020 with the Malta Cricket Association’s (MCA) annual domestic competition, the T20 Summer League, having its opening fixtures. The T20 Sumer league is a competition that continues to grow and flourish in the country with this season’s edition seeing an increase from nine teams to 12. Lee Tuck, the MCA Tournament Director and National Team selector, believes that one of the reasons that the tournament continues to go from strength to strength is the commitment of the MCA to ensure that cricket remains affordable and accessible. 

(Photo: Malta Cricket)

The tournament has seen the 12 teams split into two groups of six. Group A consists of Super Kings CC, Knight Kings CC, Power Hitters XI CC, Southern Crusaders CC Bugibba Blasters CC and Swieqi United CC. Super Kings CC, led by Malta National Team captain Bikram Arora, will be looking to retain their champions status after winning the event last year. However, the Knight Kings CC will also be expected to compete in the latter stages of the competition as the team finished third previously. Group B will see last years runners up Marsa CC compete against Overseas CC, Mater Dei CC, Msida Warriors, Paola Boys CC and the American University of Malta CC. Overseas CC will be a team to watch out for in the competition, the club is a newly formed team after St Johns CC merged with the Marauders who are Maltese rugby and cricket veterans. Overseas CC has an impressive roster of players and will be looking to build upon last years impressive campaign by St John CC prior to the merger.

Each team will play five group stage games, in a double round-robin style group stage, with the top two teams from each group moving on to the next stage of the competition. The winner of Group A will play the runner up of Group B and visa versa. The competition then culminates in a finals day on 6th September 2020, which will see the third-place play-off take place first, with the final of the competition taking place on the same afternoon.    

Credit should be given to the MCA for the way in which the Association followed their mandate and has now put cricket in a position where the sport continues to grow across the country, and fans of Maltese cricket are in line for further excitement during 2021. Tuck has explained that due to the support that cricket is being given by governmental bodies, the sport is in a position where it can springboard. Firstly, he expects there to be more clubs being formed, which hopefully will ensure that there are more opportunities for players to participate and increased competition. Tuck also expects that women’s cricket should begin to develop and prosper on the island. However, according to Tuck, the most important investment is one being made to improve youth cricket in the country. There is a clear drive within the MCA to increase youth awareness and participation in cricket. This ambition is set to become a reality due to the ‘massive’ investment being made allowing for campaigns to be organised and ran. 

There is also an upcoming opportunity for the Maltese national team to improve their world ranking. Currently, the island team sit 84th in the men’s ICC T20I world rankings but with two of three upcoming tours involving official T20 Internationals the team has a chance to climb up the rankings.

Men’s tours:
12/13 September – Ukraine
24/27 September – Czech Republic (T20Is)
1/4 October – Romania (T20Is)

The team will also take part in the European Qualifiers for a spot in the now-rescheduled 2022 T20 World Cup; but due to the on-going pandemic, it is unclear about when (or if) these qualifiers will take place. 

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