Round 3 Report – It’s All to Play For

September 29, 2023

There is all to play for as the Street Child Cricket World Cup 2023 moves towards its conclusion. Group standings and knockout fixtures were confirmed ahead of tomorrow’s Finals Day, while preparations took place ahead of the General Assembly.

A risk of rain prompted a schedule swap (it wouldn’t be a true cricket tournament without a bit of rain affecting play!), with the final round of group stage matches taking place in the morning. Together with Berthin from Team Rwanda, Alex Ellis, the British High Commissioner to India, rang the five-minute bell to signify the start of a series of crunch matches.

Groups A and B were largely decided, but there was plenty of pride still at stake. In an even-looking matchup, Hungary were looking to get off the mark, while Burundi sought to build on its final-ball victory against Mauritius. The progress of both these (formerly!) non-cricket nations has been remarkable. Following a strong innings from Hungary’s Jessica, Burundi was chasing 32 runs. The match went down to the final over, with the African country emerging victorious to secure a second win. An impressive feat given that none of its players had picked up a bat or ball until two months ago.

Burundi and Sri Lanka gather for a photo

It was also the last outing for international teams Mexico, Nepal, and Rwanda, who have always performed with such spirit and positivity whatever the result. A personal highlight was the sheer joy of the Rwandan players wrapped in their flag, sprinting lap after lap around the pitch after a tense win versus Mexico. Regardless of the outcome and often with emotions running high, teams have always gathered after the final ball for group photos, highlighting the spirit of the game this tournament fosters.

After a fiercely competitive set of Group C matches, two Indian teams will progress to the quarters subject to a review. Once back at the Savera hotel, which has proved a great hosting location for the past ten days (despite the rush hour lift traffic!), teams prepared final messaging for the ‘Voices of the Chennai Congress’ to be unveiled at tomorrow’s General Assembly.

South Africa has qualified for the quarter finals

“Thank you India for opening your doors and opening your hearts”

The final late show of the Street Child Cricket World Cup 2023 brought with it another wave of joy and diversity. Rwanda’s dance medley was graceful, Sri Lanka’s mixture of cricket strips and traditional dress was groovy, and South Africa’s finale was rousing. Team England made a touching appearance on stage, inviting a representative from every team to sign a cricket bat, pledging their commitment to play the game with equality and respect for one another. Young Leaders, Volunteers and SCU staff also gave great performances. A special shout out to Julia’s guitar playing and Niyati and Shivi for coordinating the Volunteer routine.

But Hungary stole the show with a comedy sketch about the team accidently discovering a cricket bat while playing football. What is it? A lightsaber? A guitar? A rowing oar? A pizza peel? Ingeniously directed by Team Leader Frigyes, it was a touching symbol of the progress the team has made on and off the pitch.

As the penultimate day in Chennai draws to a close, all eyes turn towards tomorrow’s Finals Day and General Assembly. It promises to be a memorable day.

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