In a reflection of changing times, what started out as the annual East and Central African Championships evolved into Zambia facing off against Malawi in two matches earlier this month in the fomer's capital, Lusaka.
A tournament which had its birth in the 1950s, then involving Kenya, Tanganyika (now Tanzania) and Uganda saw none of the original participants compete in Lusaka - an indication of their stand alone status - either present or expected.
Kenya, as we know, enjoys One Day International status, Uganda, now holds ICC Associate membership, while Tanzania is expected to achieve a similar status next year. Uganda and Tanzania can still compete in the championships - Uganda chose not to after absorbing the cost of sending its team to its ICC Trophy debut in Canada while Tanzania, citing the gap in standards wanted to field an 'A' team in Lusaka.
Zambia, with similar expectations of achieving Associate status, was left to host Malawi, the 'minnow' of the East and Central African Cricket Conference.
Malawian confidence for the matches ahead was tested with a loss to a Zambian Development XI in a warm-up match on Friday, September 7 at Lusaka's Lotus Sports Club by one wicket.
The visitors batted first, accumulating 162-7 from their allotted 35 overs, with captain, Aitaf, top scoring with 52. Zambian XI captain Saidi Malami, who swung the ball prodigeously, caused the most havoc, taking 3-33 from six overs.
In reply the Zambian Development XI posted 163-9 in 34 overs with Arshad Dudhia (28 runs) and schoolboys Sarfraz Patel (23 runs) and Rueben Koshita (21 runs) lifting the Zambian XI to victory.
If Malawian confidence was shaken by the result, it was the opposite for the full strength Zambian team who it was later reported went into the first of the two game series apparently suffering from complacency.
That, it was claimed, and the Malawian umpire who gave five leg-before-wicket decisions against the Zambian batsman, were said to have been decisive influences in a shock nine run win to Malawi in Saturday's match at the Lusaka South Cricket Club.
Zambia played to its potential in the second match of the two game series, with an emphatic 167 run win at Lusaka's Metropolitan Sports Club.
Opening batsman 'Tish' Eve continued his good form from the previous day, when he struck 66 runs, to smash 77 in Zambia's 325-6 from its allotted 50 overs. In reply Malawi could only muster 158 all out in 44 overs.
With the series squared at one win each, the tournament was decided on run-rate and Zambia's average of 6.5 in ts second match was enough.
Zambia's next big date is expected to be the Africa Cup to be held sometime in 2002 where they hope they will produce results which can be used as a positive for its future Associate membership bid.
As the East and Central African Cricket Conference is dismantled, Malawi will be left with the option of obtaining Affiliate membership of the world governing body.
Whether the tournament is still regarded as relevant in these times is unknown, but with emerging countries such as Botswana and Mozambique slowly joining the international fold, they could provide Malawi with some form of competition in the years to come.
(Readers who compile statistics on international matches should note that all information I have on the two games has appeared in this article).