Tuesday, July 16, 2024

ICC: Italy advance in Men’s T20 World Cup 2026 Qualification after victory in Rome

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Photo Credit: ICC

  • Home team defeat Romania convincingly by 160 runs in Sunday’s knockout finale to clinch Europe Sub Regional Qualifier A
  • The event marked the first step in the qualification pathway through to the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2026 in India and Sri Lanka

Italy prevailed in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Europe Sub Regional Qualifier A thanks to a 160-run victory over fellow finalists Romania in Rome on Sunday.

The event, which marked the first qualification pathway event on the road to the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2026 in India and Sri Lanka, saw the home side win convincingly at the Simar Cricket Ground to book their spot at the next stage of qualification – next year’s Europe Qualifier.

The winner-takes-all showdown pitted two undefeated teams against each other – Italy having overcome Luxembourg, France, Isle of Man and Türkiye, while Romania had defeated Austria, Portugal, Hungary and Israel in the earlier group stage.

Sunday’s contest was dominated by a scintillating display from Italy’s batters, with openers Justin Mosca and Joe Burns providing the fireworks in a century opening partnership which included an explosive 108 not out in 55 balls by Burns.

After being put in to bat, the pair laid the platform for Italy to post a mammoth 244 for four in their 20 overs, the highest team score of the competition against an impressive Romanian attack that had bowled out three of its four opponents in their run to the final match.

In response, Romania had started brightly with a 49-run opening stand, however the wicket of opener Taranjeet Singh by seamer Harry Manenti triggered a brisk collapse of the chase, with all ten wickets falling in the space of 35 runs as the visitors were dismissed all out for 84.

Among the stars of the Italian bowling attack were Crishan Kalugamage, the spinner taking three wickets for 12 from his four overs and pacer Tom Draca, who claimed two for 17.

The commanding victory sees Italy progress to next year’s Europe Qualifier, where qualification to the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2026 in India and Sri Lanka will be at stake.

Speaking after their victory, Italy captain Gareth Berg said: “We’re delighted to have got through this event undefeated. The whole squad has played their part and contributed when it mattered.

“This is just the start of the journey for us. We’ve got huge aspirations as a team and qualifying for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup is our ultimate goal. We need to work hard and keep improving but we have the quality within the group to do so, and we’re already looking forward to the Europe Qualifier next year.”

ICC Regional Development Manager for Europe, Andrew Wright, added: “Congratulations to Italy on their victory on home soil, which sees them progress to our European Qualifier next year. Winning all five matches in this tournament is no mean feat and their attacking brand of cricket was great to watch all week.

“The cricket displayed by all ten teams during the course of this event is testament to the development of the game across Europe, with standards improving across the board.

“Our thanks go to Federazione Cricket Italiana as well as to all the Match Officials, ground staff and volunteers for making this such a successful event here in Rome.”

Next on the qualification calendar for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2026 will be the Europe Sub Regional Qualifier B in Germany, where another ten nations from the region will compete to secure their spot at next year’s Europe Qualifier.

The ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2026 will feature 20 teams, with 12 automatic qualifiers and eight teams that qualify through regional pathway events.

The automatic qualifiers comprise hosts India and Sri Lanka, along with the top eight teams from the ongoing ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 with the remaining spots (between two and four depending on where the hosts finish) determined by the next highest ranked teams on the ICC Men’s T20I rankings table as at 30 June 2024.

The Europe Sub Regional Qualifier A is one of three events taking place in the region this year to determine the teams that will compete in next year’s Europe Qualifier. Similarly, Sub Regional Qualifiers will be held across other ICC regions later in 2024, with their respective Regional Finals also being held in 2025.

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