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3 lesser-known cricketing countries that hosted a major international cricket tournament

The Kinrara Oval played host to the Commonwealth Games Qualifiers earlier this year. Image source: ICC Twitter
The Kinrara Oval played host to the Commonwealth Games Qualifiers earlier this year. Image source: ICC Twitter
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Rajarshi Das

A total of 108 countries are members of the International Cricket Council, among which 96 are Associate nations. Ivory Coast, Uzbekistan, and Cambodia, countries one wouldn't usually associate with the sport, are the latest nations to have been granted membership status by the ICC.

A few of these associate nations do have some cricketing history attached to them. Some of them have been able to play at the highest level; the World Cup, and on occasions, they have exceeded the expectations of everyone with their performances.

Some have gone on to achieve Test cricket status as well. The likes of Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are currently more than capable of competing against the best in the world in the sport's most elite format, having achieved Test status in the past few decades.

Then there have been instances when an associate nation's cricketing body has provided their own facilities to some major international teams, which has led to us being able to experience some truly memorable memories. This article will take a look at three such occasions in which an associate nation hosted a major international cricket tournament:


#1 Singapore

The viral image of Romesh Kaluwitharana dismissed for 0 with the score at 70-1 was from this game, in which Sanath Jayasuriya scored a 17-ball half-century against Pakistan in Singapore. Image Source: ICC Twitter
The viral image of Romesh Kaluwitharana dismissed for 0 with the score at 70-1 was from this game, in which Sanath Jayasuriya scored a 17-ball half-century against Pakistan in Singapore. Image Source: ICC Twitter

Having been an associate member of the ICC since 1974, Singapore has hosted a total of three tri-lateral tournaments in the latter part of the 90s and 2000. On April 1, 1996, Singapore held its first international cricket match between Pakistan and Sri Lanka at the Singapore Cricket Club Ground. The match had to be re-scheduled to the next day due to non-favourable weather conditions.

The two teams, along with India, competed for the Singer Cup over a total of four matches. Pakistan beat Sri Lanka in the final by 43 runs, and Padang didn't host a high-profile match after that. International cricket returned to Singapore three years later, with India, West Indies and Zimbabwe taking each other on for the four-match Coca-Cola Singapore Challenge.

It was also the first ODI tournament to be played with a white ball in Singapore. All the games took place at the ground in Kallang, which was as small as the one in Padang, and saw plenty of sixes being hit. Thanks to a memorable Ricardo Powell blitzkrieg, West Indies clinched the trophy by beating India in the final.

The following year, Pakistan, New Zealand and South Africa played four matches among themselves for the Godrej Singapore Challenge trophy at the same venue. South Africa eventually triumphed, winning a rain-curtailed summit clash against Pakistan.

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#2 Morocco

Having successfully conducted several contests in Sharjah throughout the 90s, Abdul Rahman Bukhatir decided to invest in the process of popularizing the sport in North Africa. He went on to organize a three-team ODI tournament in Morocco with Pakistan, South Africa and Sri Lanka.

The three teams went on to face each other throughout the middle of August at the National Cricket Stadium in Tangier. A total of seven matches were played, with Sri Lanka defeating the Proteas by 27 runs in the final. Sanath Jayasuriya, who was the Player of the Match in the final by virtue of his run-a-ball 71, was in a league of his own throughout the tournament.

In five innings, he topped the run-scoring charts by piling up a total of 299 runs, 109 more than the next best, Aravinda de Silva. Jayasuriya also took four wickets with the ball at an economy rate of five.

Sanath Jayasuriya with Morocco Cup in 2002His shoulder was dislocated during the tournament.Image Courtesy: Sunday Times https://t.co/kWOLfoHuMQ

Unfortunately, that was the first and last time that we saw internationals being played at the venue. As for Morocco's own cricketing history, they achieved membership status from the ICC in 1999 but faced expulsion from the same in 2019 owing to a breach in membership criteria.


#1 Malaysia

In 2006, Australia, West Indies and India all traveled to Kuala Lumpur to play a tri-series among themselves. Kinrara Oval, located on the outskirts of the Malaysian capital, hosted the three nations across seven games.

If anything, the tri-series can be described as a prelude to what was to come in the ICC Champions Trophy, which was scheduled to take place in a few days. Australia and West Indies played the final on both occasions, with the then three-time men's world champions adding another trophy to their cabinet.

Tendulkar's Come Back After Tennis Elbow!Today in 2006, Sachin Tendulkar Made a Comeback From Tennis Elbow.@sachin_rt Made 141*(148) 4s:13, 6s:5 Vs WI at DLF Cup Malaysia.IND:309/5 (50)WI:141/2(20) Rain & India Lost(D/L)M.O.M: Sachin's 100 Goes in Vain. #SachinTendulkar https://t.co/BFBWkJ4MHb

The Kinrara Oval has hosted several notable matches ever since, including the memorable ICC men's U19 World Cup in 2008. In 2018, Australia and Pakistan Women played three ODIs and T20Is each at the venue, a tour which was dominated by the Australians as they swept both the three-match series.

Kinrara Oval was also home to the Malaysian national team on a number of occasions before reportedly shutting down this year, as the Malaysia Board's agreement with the landowners came to a close. The cricket competition for the Commonwealth Games in 1998 also took place in Malaysia, spread across different venues, but they were deemed as List A matches.


Edited by Puranjay Dixit
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