A packed week of T20I action at the Marsa Sports Club in Malta came to an end this evening with Switzerland beating the home team of the final of the Valletta Cup.
The Swiss were the best team in the round robin stage, winning all four games, three of them quite convincingly. Romania lost all four games, but the battle for second place went down to the wire.
With 2nd & 3rd place set to play-off to qualify for the final on the last day, Luxembourg and the hosts were both in with a chance of joining France in that match at the start of the final round-robin stage match between France and Luxembourg.
France, missing star batter Gus McKeon due to club commitments in Norfolk, won the toss and chose to bat first. McKeon's absence wasn't felt as they racked up 187-5 from their 20 overs with Hevit Jackson's 48 from 37 balls their top score. Zain Ahmed and Mukhtar Ghulami also contributed with 42 each, Ghulami scoring his runs from only 16 balls.
Needing to reach their target in 17 overs to overcome Malta's net run rate, Luxembourg were looking well out of contention at 110-6 in 12.2 overs - Amit Halbhavi having scored 48 of those. But captain Vikram Vijh and Anoop Orsu went on a hitting spree and at one point were looking like they might pull it off.
As it was, France were able to slow down the scoring enough for Luxembourg to take 18.5 overs to secure the four wicket win. Vijh and Orsu put on 81, scoring 53 from 26 balls and 58 from 29 balls respectively.
That result put Malta into the qualifier match against France that opened the final day today, with both teams playing their ninth match of the week. France batted first after winning the toss but were bowled out for 78, Waqas Ahmed bowling superbly to take 5-11.
Malta had little trouble with their target, chasing it down in 10.1 overs to win by seven wickets. Fanyan Mughal top scored with an unbeaten 33, with Gopal Thakur contributing 26 from 11 balls.
After Romania beat Luxembourg in a fourth place play-off thanks to Vasu Saini scoring 91 from only 45 balls, Malta played their tenth T20I in a week in the final against Switzerland, a repeat of the 2021 final which was won by the hosts.
Malta batted first after they won the toss and scored 164-6. Affy Khan's unbeaten 33 from 23 was their top score. This was not to be enough, as a well rested Switzerland chased it down in 18.1 overs to win by six wickets. Arjun Vinod top scored with 67 from 44 balls.