The Singapore cricket team has created history by qualifying for the ICC T20 World Cup global qualifier for the first time ever, bringing them a step closer to qualifying for the T20 World Cup next year. They beat Nepal at the Indian Association Ground in Singapore in the final of the T20 World Cup Qualifier - Asia on Sunday.
Batting first, Singapore made a massive 191/6 in their 20 overs, scoring at a quick 9.55 runs per over. Tim David (77 off 43 balls), Rohan Rangarajan (49 off 33 balls) and Manpreet Singh (42 off 27 balls) were the key players for Singapore.
In reply, Nepal collapsed to 109 all out with Selladore Vijayakumar taking 4/25 in his 4 overs and Vinoth Baskaran chipping in with two wickets.
Speaking after the match to Connected to India, Singapore cricket team’s former Captain Chetan Suryawanshi expressed his delight at the win, saying “This is the first time Singapore has ever qualified for this tournament. We have been trying for the last 14 years. This is definitely huge for Singapore cricket.”
The journey began in Malaysia in 2018 at the Asia Eastern region qualifiers, from which Singapore, Nepal and Malaysia qualified.
With the win against Nepal in the Asia Qualifier final on Sunday, Singapore topped the group and sealed their place as one of 14 teams that will now compete in the ICC T20 World Cup Global Qualifier. From these 14, six teams will qualify for the men’s ICC T20 World Cup, scheduled to be held in 2020 in Australia.
Suryawanshi is confident of a good performance in the global qualifier, which will be held in the UAE in October-November this year. “Six teams out of fourteen is a much easier equation than one team from about twelve participating teams. I am sure teams coming from USA, from East Asia Pacific, from Europe are not going to be as strong as the Asian teams,” he told Connected to India.
Cricket in Singapore has been growing over the last several years through the efforts of the Singapore Cricket Association and the work they are doing to strengthen grassroots cricket in the country, as well as with the establishment of a number of cricket academies such as the MS Dhoni Cricket Academy. In fact, as many as 20 Singapore national players coach at the academy, providing budding Singapore cricketers the best guidance.
“Youngsters are learning from national players, which is an advantage for them - their basics get stronger, they become mentally fit because they are experiencing coaching from national players themselves. That is helping the academy boys,” said Suryawanshi, who set up the academy in 2018.