Challenge League Play-off Calamity: Final group stage day drama in Kuala Lumpur

It all came down to the final moments in multiple matches as Super Six teams for the Challenge League Play-off and carry-over points were decided on tiebreaks in the Malaysian capital.

By Daniel Beswick in Kuala Lumpur

Malaysia v Vanuatu, Scorecard

The drama of cricket with context in Associate circles revealed itself yet again, with Vanuatu progressing to the Super Six stage on a head-to-head tiebreaker with Malaysia, claiming a three-wicket win at the Selangor Turf Club.

The Ni-Vanuatu men pushed in a net run rate chase as a safety net - under the assumption that Bahrain would beat Tanzania in the other group game - to force a three-way tie where net run rate would be the next tie-breaker.

Vanuatu were unable to better Malaysia's net run rate in their 29-over chase, with Malaysia intentionally bowling a wide to end the match and prevent Josh Rasu's men overtaking them with a six. In the end the tactic proved inconsequential, as Tanzania's victory over Bahrain at Bayuemas Oval meant that it was just the victory Vanuatu needed to progress.

Malaysia v Vanuatu | Match Highlights | CWC Challenge Leauge Play-off

Vanuatu beat Malaysia by three wickets.

Captain Rasu's four-wicket tally and crucial runs with the bat earned him Player of the Match honours, and after the early finish, the Vanuatu contingent huddled around multiple streams back at the hotel, needing Tanzania's favour against Bahrain.

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A gutteral roar ensued once Abdul Majid Abbasi was adjudged caught behind off the bowling of Kassim Nassoro, bowling Bahrain out for 153. It meant that Tanzania solidified their Super Six position with four carry-over points, and allowed Vanuatu to move to third as per their tie-break with Malaysia.

Earlier at Bayuemas, Ivan Selemani showed off his attacking prowess at the top of the Tanzanian order, blazing 82 (70) to move his side ahead. Bahrain reined their opponents in to dismiss them for 173, though continued pressure in the afternoon from Tanzania's bowlers ensured another tight finish. Key Bahrainian batter Haider Ali Butt was run out in the chase, as Ally Kimote's four-wicket haul power the East African nation to a 20-run win.

Bahrain v Tanzania, Scorecard

Bahrain v Tanzania | Match Highlights | CWC Challenge League Play-off

Tanzania beat Bahrain by 20 runs.

Over in Group B similar tie-breakers came into play, with Bermuda prevailing thanks to their victory over Saudi Arabia on Sunday, 25 February.

Their Monday match with Kuwait still carried significance given carry-over points would be accumulated, and it was the Kuwaitis who added to their points tally by chasing a target of 227 with 12 balls to spare and five wickets in hand.

Kuwait v Bermuda, Scorecard

Carrying on from the hard work of Sayed Monib, who claimed a five-wicket haul, opening batter Meet Bhavsar was the glue for Kuwait, compiling a well-made hundred in spite of losing partners at the other end.

He got out with his side still needing 31, though with five overs with 29 balls left, Bilal Tahir (25* from nine balls) and captain Mohammed Aslam (10* from nine) ensured the job was done.

Bermuda v Kuwait | Match Highlights | CWC Challenge League Play-off

Kuwait beat Bermuda by five wickets.

Kuwait join Tanzania as teams to take four carry-over points to the Super Six stage thanks to wins over other progressing nations. Italy and Bahrain take two points, while Bermuda and Vanuatu have an uphill climb with no points carried forward.

The teams will play all three sides from the other group in the Super Six stage, with the top four at the end of the phase securing Challenge League privileges in effectively the third tier of men's 50-over cricket, on the road to Cricket World Cup 2027.

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