With the ongoing public health situation putting many of Malta’s social and sporting events on hold, cricket lovers all over Malta can be thrilled to know that the Malta Cricket Association (MCA) annual domestic competition, the T20 Summer League, will commence on Saturday.
This year’s edition will again experience significant growth as we see the competition contested by 12 clubs, an increase from last year’s 9 clubs.
Cricket has been played in Malta for over 200 years, with the first recorded international match having taken place in 1891 between the Maltese National team and an English touring team on its way to Australia.
With the sudden increase in clubs and players, Lee Tuck the MCA Tournament Director and National Team selector, says that the increase in growth can largely be credited to the MCA’s mandate to continue to make cricket affordable and accessible to all. We used to have a situation whereby the only space available to play cricket in Malta was not freely available and accessible to all.
With the fantastic support, we are receiving from the various government departments, that is fast-changing and within the next year cricket will explode on the island and we should start seeing more clubs being formed, woman’s cricket being developed and most importantly a massive investment is being made into youth cricket development.
The next year is going to be an extremely exciting time for cricket in Malta, not just on a domestic level, but also on an international front, as the current National team will be on n three tours before the end of this year.
Two of these tours will be recognised by the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the results will determine Malta’s world ranking.
In addition, the MCA is still in limbo regarding when the European pathway to world cup qualifiers will commence, as Malta will be competing for a spot in the Cricket World Cup. An event that attracts a global audience of 2.6 billion people.
This year’s league will see the 12 teams split into 2 groups. Group A sees 2019 Champions Super Kings CC paired with the fellow seeded team and last year’s 3rd placed Knight Kings CC (who have rebranded from Kings Kerala CC). Super Kings have added Malta National Team captain Bikram Arora to lead their team, while Marsa CC’s Navdeep Singh Gill and Mater Dei CC’s Hasheem Shahzad have also joined their ranks. Knight Kings CC remain captained by Malta’s Sujesh K Appu and will be looking to improve on last year’s bronze medal.
Last season’s underdog’s, Power Hitters XI CC and Southern Crusaders CC (rebranded from Punjab XI CC and HSBC Malta CC) are also in Group A and are joined by Maltese domestic cricket newcomers Bugibba Blasters CC and Swieqi United CC, the latter having formed as a club from the homonymous football club.
Group B sees Malta cricket stalwarts and 2019 runners-up Marsa CC seeded with Overseas CC (formerly known as St John CC). Marsa CC will be led by Malta National team fast-bowler David Marks. Overseas CC formed after a merging between last year’s semi-finalists St John CC and Maltese Cricket and Rugby Club veterans Marauders. Overseas CC have added a number of new players to their roster and will be aiming to build on their impressive campaign from last year.
Joining them in Group B are Mater Dei CC and Msida Warriors (rebranded from Kerala Tuskers CC), led by Malta National Team vice-captain Sam Aquilina and Rahul Nair respectively. Newcomers Paola Boys CC and American University of Malta CC make up the second group of 6.
Each team will play 5 games in their respective groups, with the top 2 advancing through to the play-off phase. Group A winners will play the runners-up of Group B and vice-versa. Finals Day will take place on Sunday, September 6th with the 3rd place play-off being held in the morning and the mouthwatering Grand Final to be held in the afternoon.
Follow the Malta Cricket Association Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages for more updates on the season.
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