It was an absolute honour to be named Team Manager (Coach and Selector) of the Switzerland men’s national cricket team and to lead the side in the inaugural Global T10 Championship!
A diverse seventeen-man squad packed their bags whist the builders got to work on our new national stadium.
In our first match against Bangladesh, we wasted a fantastic opportunity to claim a historic win. Chasing 93 for victory and having got the equation down to less than a run a ball, captain Louis Vincent (17*) struggled to lay bat on ball in the final over. We fell short by one run and the skipper would come in for huge criticism from the media and fans!
Leg-spinner Kasper Beck (1-17) claimed a wicket with the first ball of the match against India but we succumbed by a whopping 55 runs!
Still scarred by failing to win our opening game, we then fell 17 runs short against Nepal when pursuing 78. Marko Markovic (23) top scored with 23 whilst Vincent struck 15 not out for only eight deliveries… but it wasn’t enough!
New Zealand were next to beat us, by a margin of 36 runs. We then lost to Scotland by ten wickets! A dropped catch late in the piece really summed up our performance. One silver lining was debutante Kingston Hall’s unbeaten 30 from 22 balls. He’s scored half the team’s runs!
Having come so close to success in our opening game, our performances had gradually declined in the matches since. The players had a serious heart to heart then bounce back against Sri Lanka to create history! We limited Sri Lanka to 62-5 from their ten overs then an unbroken partnership of 35 between wicketkeeper Nico Keller (23*) and Phillipe Fernandes (25* from only 14 balls!) saw us home with 2.1 overs to spare. They were dancing on the streets of Geneva and partying the night away in Zurich!
We came back to Earth with a limp 33-run loss against West Indies, though Mo Castro at slip did take the greatest catch ever to dismiss Evin Lewis (20) off Fernandes’ off-spin!
Then came a humdinger of a match against Australia! We posted 87-8 (Hall 19, de Silva 16, Chung 13*) before Australia required all but two balls of their innings to squeeze home. Ravi Ali ran out Chris Lynn (34) in the final over but Glenn Maxwell struck his first ball (Off Castro: 0.4-0-10-0) for four to save Australia’s blushes.
The less said about our encounter with England… the better! We lost by nine wickets. We then made only 54-7 (Fernandes 15*) against Ireland. Such a paltry total cost us because despite reducing the men in green to 4-3, they eased home with 3.4 overs to spare.
We seemed set to return to winning ways against Netherlands having posted 82-8 (Castro 19, de Silva 16). However a disastrous penultimate over from medium pacer Castro that went for 21 runs blew our chances. We then lost to Pakistan by five wickets though there were some encouraging signs. Max Schmitt struck 27 from 18 balls whilst left-arm pacer Kristoff Klein (1-4), Beck (1-16) and Castro (1-16) all claimed wickets.
Markovic, who’d proved himself to be shine fielder throughout the competition, struck 15 from eight deliveries in an upsurge in form but once again we struggled to post a competitive total, this time against South Africa. We lost by seven wickets.
Against another team from the south of Africa however, we finally notched a second win. A match reduced to five overs because of rain brought out the attacking instinct in out batting unit. Schmitt (15 off 6), Keller (11 off 6) and Stephane Stollmeyer (11 off 7) elevated us to 46-6 despite only scoring three runs from the final over. Perversely, we didn’t take a wicket… but ran out deserved victors by 15 runs. Leg-spinner Simon Chung (0-2), right-arm pace bowler Harry Singh (0-3) and fast bowler Ravi Ali (0-5) set the tone with the ball. Following our original victory against Sri Lanka, we’d finally sent further shockwaves around the cricket world!
Our final match against Australia was a thriller that demonstrated our immense improvement over the course of the fifteen matches. Afghanistan made 91-2 and in truth, the final over, given to virgin bowler Markovic (0-21) would come back to haunt us! Having been reduced to 18-2, Hall (47*) and de Silva (24*) produced a record partnership to take us all the war to 86-2 with only the final ball to be bowled. Right-hander Hall couldn’t connect with a widish delivery, so we fell just short. Still, it was a commendable effort.
Obviously we finished bottom of the table and didn’t progress to the semi-finals. Nepal, who finished second from bottom, claimed double the amount of wins as our two. Would you believe that Sri Lanka, one of only two teams that we defeated, went onto to chase down 120 against England in the final to win the competition!
Hall’s knock in our final match meant that he finished as our leading run scorer with 111 runs. He also topped the averages at 22.20 with a strike rate of 118.08.
Leg-spinner Kasper Beck and slow-left-armer Dirk Shaffer topped the wicket charts for us with five apiece. Beck’s wickets came at 25.20 and a stunning economy rate of just 7.00 in the T10 format. Schaffer’s economy was 7.30 but he claimed his victims at only 19.00!
Next up is a T20 Tri-series against England and USA. We’ll then continue to move up the formats with ODI and Test fixtures to be announced,
Disclaimer: On Cricket 19 (PS4) I’ve created France, Wales and USA national teams, as well as playing as England and a Global XI side that I created. Big Ant Studios have a habit of releasing patches that completely change the game so here I am, starting once again with Switzerland for some reason. To be clear, the players are all my own creation.