Germany made cricket history in Almería on Thursday when, despite losing to Italy by one run in their final game, they reached a global qualifier for a major ICC tournament for the first time.
They join European qualifier champions Jersey, who had ensured their own progress to one of next year’s two global tournaments with a four-wicket victory over the Germans on Tuesday.
Leading Italy by one win going into the final round of matches, Germany knew that they had a double chance of finishing second in the tournament: either they had to beat Italy, or lose by a sufficiently small margin to stay ahead of them on net run rate.
Put in to bat, the Italians were dismissed for 117 in exactly 20 overs, the last three wickets coming in the form of a Dylan Blignaut hat-trick; he finished with four for 18 in two overs, while slow left-armer Elam Bharathi kept things tight with three for 14 from four.
Grant Stewart hit a 22-ball 35 at the start of the Italian innings and Joy Perera anchored the rest with a steady 45 before becoming the middle victim of Blignaut’s hat-trick.
Germany now knew that they needed to make 92 to stay ahead of the Italians and seemed to be in serious danger of missing out on NRR for their third time in their recent history when they collapsed to 57 for six with only 31 deliveries remaining.
They were rescued by Dieter Klein and Sahir Naqash, Klein reaching the magic figure with a six off Jade Dernbach with 14 balls to spare.
The pair added 59 runs from those 31 deliveries, Klein hitting a four and three sixes in his 18-ball 28 not out and Naqash making 21 not out from 15, but Klein’s third six off Dernbach’s final ball left them just two runs short of victory.
Never, one suspects, has a one-run margin mattered less to the losing team.
In the day’s other fixture Jersey recovered from 5 for three and 54 for five to chase down Denmark’s 130 for six, thanks to a remarkable unbeaten 96 from Jonty Jenner, made from 66 deliveries and including 11 fours and two sixes.
Jenner completely dominated the innings, Jake Dunford with 18 not out being the only other Jersey batter to reach double figures, but his effort – only the fourth half-century of the week – was more than enough to ensure that Jersey went through the tournament unbeaten and that the Danes, who had battled gamely through all their matches, ended the week without a win.
It also made him the leading run-scorer of the tournament with 175 runs at an average of 43.75, while his team-mates Charlie Perchard and Ben Ward took the most wickets, 10 apiece at an average of 10.50 and 10.90 respectively.
Italy’s opener Grant Stewart had the best strike rate among the leading batters with 139.50, while Saif Ahmad of Denmark was the most economical bowler at 4.08 per over, including three for 12 from his four overs against Germany.
You’re reading Emerging Cricket — brought to you by a passionate group of volunteers with a vision for cricket to be a truly global sport, and a mission to inspire passion to grow the game.
Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, please subscribe for regular updates, and follow EC on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube.
Don’t know where to start? Check out our features list, country profiles, and subscribe to our podcast.
Support us from US$2 a month — and get exclusive benefits, by becoming an EC Patron.