By N Balani
TORONTO: The Canadian National Cricket Team dominated the play for 50 over Maple Leaf Cricket Center at King City, Toronto on Saturday. Team USA did not get a chance to answer Canada’s lofty total of 252 in the limited 50 over game on Saturday due to rain stopping play. Canada’s stand in Captain Daesrath smashed USA’s bowling to make 109 off 104 balls and clearly was a man on fire!
USA’s spin attack did not carry through and coupled with a number of expensive dropped catches, could not contain the Canadian team’s intent to retain the trophy. The middle order crumbled under USA’s impressive but expensive bowling strategy to contain the total to just 252. Rajp and Ganesh each took 3 wickets to finish the strong middle order partnership with Bagai. There were some outstanding catches by the USA players Standford and Mital Patel.
On Sunday at theTwenty20 fixtures, USA won the toss and opted to bat first on a slightly damp pitch due to overnight rain and delayed start. Team USA succumbed to Canada’s pace attack and thus contributed to a very low score of 106 for 9 off 20 overs. To add insult to injury there was poor running and confusion between the wickets which contributed to 3 run outs amongst the 9 fallen wickets.
At one point, it looked like USA could be contained to under 100 runs. There was no real partnerships formed in the top batting order and the best was 22.One of the highlights of the match was when Standford found himself on the same side as Steven Taylor, when the latter called for a run but was swiftly and surprisingly stopped short by excellent fielding by Canadian Usman Limbada. In the confusion both batsman ended up on the same wicket.
Standford gave himself up as a true gentleman so that Steven Taylor could knock up some more runs for the US side. But sadly that was not the story and he bowled by legspinner, Junaid Siddiqui, for just 22 runs. Canada just had a 106 runs to chase and came charged up with Gunesekara who scored a magnificent half a century off just 34 balls which included six sixes and he ended his glorious reign at 58.
Jimmy Hansra added to the larger than life image of the Canadians by hitting a sixer straight over the clubhouse and Rogers rooftop TV cameras much to the awe of the crowds gathered.
Rajp tried to contain the damage by getting lucky with Capt Rizwan Cheema out with just 9 runs. Canucks breezed through110 runs for 5 wickets in 16.5 overs to win the first match.
In the second round, Canada won the toss and opted to bat. Gunasekar â€“ man of the day â€“ still could not be contained as his power bat hit half a dozen sixes and 4 lofty boundaries. He was finally caught out while hitting his seventh sixer as the fans cheered him on. Limbada added to the pile of sixers that seemed to be the order of the day along with Baidwan before the hosts finished at 189 for 5 wickets. Captain Timil Patel’s impressive but expensive bowling reeled in 3 wickets out of the 5 fallen. USA’s highlight was the partnership between Timbawala and Dodson who also impressed with his lineup of boundaries and sixes. But Canadian spin bowling contained USA to finish at 111 for 9 wickets.
The Auty Cup 2013 was thus retained by the host team in Canada for another year. The USA and Canadian team both have some outstanding individual players in their own right. However, the US team must work on a more consolidated effort if they want to get the trophy south of the border.
But most of all what is required is the support of the fans to come out and cheer our teams so that our players can feed off the energy of their well wishers. Here’s wishing our young talent on both sides of the border more opportunities to compete and improve the game!
Canada’s next tournament is the UAE series which begin in the first week of August here in Toronto.