Cricket España will host two international events in November, with the men’s and women’s national teams in action. The double-header at the Desert Springs resort, Almería, will see a welcome return of Twenty20 International cricket to Europe at a time of year where the sport is not possible across much of the continent.
Desert Springs men’s tri-series
First up is a men’s tri-series. The hosts will contest a double round-robin from 4–6 November versus the visiting sides from Germany and Italy. If ICC rankings are anything to go by, the series should be a fascinating one. The Italians hold the highest position at 29, but with Germany and Spain at 35 and 36, respectively, there is no telling who will come out on top.
The Germans and Italians have met at the last two T20 World Cup Europe regional finals (2019 and 2021). Germany were most recently in action at the global qualifier having progressed from the regional event at the expense of Italy. The sides had exchanged wins and were only separated by net run rate at the end of the round-robin, which was also played at Desert Springs.
Earlier this year, Italy made it through the sub-regionals to join Germany in next year’s regional final for the 2024 World Cup. Spain missed out in their sub-regional, losing a semi-final to Denmark, but have been closing the gap against the leading Associates in the region. The Spanish have played five official T20Is versus Germany and hold a 3–2 head-to-head record. Italy are 4–1 up on Germany, while Spain and Italy have not met since the ICC granted T20I status to all of its members from January 2019.
Italy head coach Gareth Berg told Emerging Cricket, “It’s going to be an exciting tri-series. I’m using this opportunity to have a look at some new younger players coming through the system and also some current squad players who need more game time on grass against good opponents.” Berg added that regardless of the series outcome, “It will no doubt in my mind be a productive one for myself and Italy, as we start the planning process for next year’s globals”.
Germany have named their squad for the series, with Venkatraman Ganesan again set to lead the team after captaining at the global qualifier early in the year.
Women’s pentangular series: Isle of Man to play first T20Is
Next will be the women’s turn to show their talents with bat and ball. Italy, Norway, Sweden and Isle of Man will be in town to challenge the hosts in a pentangular event. A round-round followed by a final and third-place play-off is planned from 11 to 14 November.
Spain played their first T20I event earlier this year, a quadrangular series in France. Italy have played 10 T20Is, all against Austria. They lost 3–2 in Rome last year, but won the return series 5–0 in August. Sweden and Norway are the only sides here to have met before in T20Is. The Swedes won the Nordic Cup in May, beating the Norwegians three times in Kolsva. Isle of Man will play their first women’s T20I status matches during this event. The Manx team were previously scheduled to play August’s Continental Cup in Romania.
Speaking about the women’s series, Berg said, “To see the women’s team evolving and getting more game time and exposure is great for all of us involved in Italian cricket. We all want the game to grow”.
Desert Springs is an excellent year-round venue for cricket. It will be interesting to see how these teams match up and who will take the bragging rights. As always though, cricket will be the winner.
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