JERSEY’S cricketers return home from their toughest tour full of ambition to go one step further.
They were frustrated in their attempts to qualify for October’s T20 World Cup, but keen to work on closing the gap to the teams that made it through the qualifying tournament in Zimbabwe.
That T20 competition fell hot on the heels of a 50-over ICC Challenge League B tournament in Uganda, where Jersey were unbeaten as they attempt to qualify for India 2023 in that form of the game.
‘The overall emotion is one of frustration,’ said head coach Neil MacRae.
‘It was a five-week tour, which tested them in a way they had not been tested before because of the length. They were superb in the way they played, they kept fighting, even though they were physically and mentally fatigued. They have given everything they can and at times played some top cricket.’
Zimbabwe and the Netherlands qualified for the T20 World Cup, which is being held in Australia in October, by winning through to the Qualifier B final.
In it, Zimbabwe won by 37 runs after a brilliant bowling display.
Jersey faced Zimbabwe in their second match, pushing them hard but falling 24 runs short of the target they were set in their 20 overs.
After six overs of their run chase MacRae felt they were well placed to win that match.
The players were ‘gutted’ to lose that game and see their chance of a World Cup place slip away, he said.
‘We can’t be satisfied with running them close and beating Singapore twice. The key is working on areas where we need to improve to go one step further.’
MacRae said that they were still a young side which was developing.
One part of the game they will be looking at is when to be more aggressive with the bat.
Jersey will begin their campaign to qualify for the 2024 T20 World Cup in the European regional final next June.
‘We’ve seen the standard at this tournament watching Zimbabwe and the Netherlands, they aren’t too far ahead of us, and there are areas we can work on to close that gap.’
He said that the Island should be proud at how the players stuck together over two tournaments and a tough five-week tour.
‘The immediate opportunity for us is hosting the home tournament [ICC Challenge League B] starting in August with the momentum of having won all five games in Uganda.
‘We’re third in the table and have the opportunity to push for the top spot. That’s a huge chance to get to the next level in 50 overs, where we have never been before,’ he said.
‘The players have been fantastic, they’ve had a tough five weeks away. They should have credit for the performances they put in.’