It was a match with almost US$800,000 in extra funding over the next three years riding on it. For the victors, a place in the next cycle of the Challenge League, 15 List A matches over the next three years and a chance at progressing up the ladder towards ODI status and the World Cup. For the losers - having to regain their place in this competition through the T20I rankings.

Such is the nature of associate cricket. Whilst the salaries and prize money on offer at the top of the game may be higher, few players at that level will ever experience this sort of pressure.

Vanuatu captain Josh Rasu won the toss this morning at the YSD-UKM Oval in Bangi and chose to have his team bat first. Runs were hard to come by as Italy bowled them out for just 102 with four wickets coming from run outs. Patrick Matautaava's 22 was their top score.

Rasu brought himself and Tim Cutler on to bowl early in the Italian reply and both bowled superbly, bowling all ten of their overs in a single spell. Cutler took 2-35 whilst Rasu was inspired, taking 5-32 as Italy were reeling on 83-7 when the pair stopped bowling.

However, Williamsing Nalisa and Patrick Matautaava were unable to replicate the success of Rasu and Cutler with just one more wicket coming as Italy chased down their total to win by two wickets.

Heartbreak for Vanuatu then as they now face an uphill journey back into the ICC"s 50-over pathway. In the absence of regional 50-over tournaments, qualification to this event comes through the T20I rankings. Whilst the other teams relegated - Bermuda and Malaysia - are ranked in the top 30 and are almost certain to be back in four years, Vanuatu are ranked 47th with their relative remoteness making arranging bilateral fixtures difficult, especially given the loss of their Challenge League extra funding.

With all but one other team in their region ranked lower, even the matches they can organise at a relatively lower cost aren't going to impact too much on their ranking. For a team that started its World Cricket League journey in the same division as Nepal, USA and Afghanistan in 2008, it's quite the downfall.

A team that has had an even bigger downfall is Bermuda. When Vanuatu played their first WCL tournament, Bermuda has ODI status and were just a year removed from playing in the World Cup. They were already out of the 50-over structure before today's last game, a 30 run DLS defeat against Bahrain.

Kuwait are the winners of the tournament, thrashing Tanzania by 151 runs today at the Selangor Turf Club to finish the Super Six stage unbeaten.

Groupings for the Challenge League are yet to be confirmed but Bahrain, Italy, Kuwait and Tanzania will join Denmark, Hong Kong, Jersey, Kenya, Papua New Guinea, Qatar, Singapore and Uganda.