They say lightning never strikes same place twice. Well, for Cricket Canada it just did, four times. We have some different casualties though. Panama, Belize (twice) & USA were all downed.
Starting with Canada taking on Panama at the Raleigh Cricket cub in Morrisville on Friday. Panama won the toss and decided to bat first. Eranga had opener Imran plumb in front on his very first delivery. They lost another wicket soon after, this time in the form of a run out. Patel was the only one from Panama who could manage to get into double digits but wickets continue to fall at other end. They had lost half their side in 10 overs. The lower order could not contribute much to the cause and eventually team was bundled out for 42. NR Kumar was the pick of the bowlers for CC. He picked up 3 wickets from his 3 overs and went for under 3 an over. CC bowlers put up another excellent performance and restricted the opposition to a below par score.
CC batsmen have had it easy until now, thanks to the great efforts put in by the bowlers and the fielders. They managed to get 43 in 4 overs with all their wickets intact. Thomas and Tariq batted through to seal the game for Cricket Canada. Hamza was the more dominant of the two. He scored 27*off 16 deliveries with a strike rate of over 200. Thomas hit one four and a towering six in his innings of 16*.
Next in line was the epic match between the oldest rivals USA.
USA batted first manage to score 140 runs losing 8 wickets. Canada started their chase in a stable manner after they had lost their first wicket early in the innings. Navneet Dhaliwal and Nitish Kumar anchored the innings and provided with a much-needed partnership. In the end Canada’s fielding was the difference between two sides. The match went till last over where 13 runs were required. Rizwan Cheema, one of the most experienced players blasted a last ball six to tie the score and take the game into the super over. In the Super over, Dhaliwal started with a six followed by a magnificent four later. With 16 required to win, Canada restricted the opposition to 13 runs courtesy bowling of our very experienced Cecil Pervez. This was Canada’s third straight victory in the ongoing qualifiers, red army is sitting comfortably at the top of the table with all the wins.
The match between Canada vs USA saw highest number of crowds in the tournament so far. About 2000 people witnessed this nail-biting encounter in which Canada came out victorious. Speaking about the mindset while facing the last ball, Cheema said, “I was just looking to hit the ball out of the park. I knew I had to smash it no matter what. It is the kind of cricket which we play, that is like a warrior, to fight in adverse situations.”
The victory against Belize was just another repeat of their first game against the same opposition. Another game and another emphatic win for Cricket Canada. What a week they have had in Raleigh. The bowlers, so far, have set it up beautifully for the batsmen to come in and smack their way to victory. Here’s hoping they exhibit same form and panache in their upcoming games as well. Canada will be playing tomorrow against USA and then Panama to end the tournament. The top two teams go a step closer to World Cup T20 Qualifier. With Canada sitting on top of the table, it is safe to assume it is closer to that step.
Stories contributed by : Siddharth Maisuria and Swapnil Thakare
Picture credits: Srikanth Boga and ICC