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2019-11-21

Canada plays the Leeward Islands today looking for their second win in the tournament. Leewards have won four and lost two to date, including a 70 run win over Canada in their first match. Canada bowled well to restrict Leewards to 232/9 from their 50 overs. 

Leewards batted after winning the toss, and lost wickets at regular intervals. Pathan took three wickets as Leewards fell to 137/5 after 33 overs.  Ahmadzai broke a useful partnership with two wickets in the 42nd over - 187/5. Pathan took his fourth wicket but some late hitting took Leewards to 232/9. 

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2019-11-18

Canada played Jamaica today for the second time in the West Indies Super 50 competition. Canada, batting first made 244/9, with Harsh Thaker top scoring with 60. Jamaica's experience showed as they won by 3 wickets with 13 balls remaining. 

Canada won the toss and chose to bat first again. Rayan Pathan (33) and Jeet Mehta (32) put together Canada's best opening partnership of the tournament- 69 in 13.1 overs. Following this promising start, Canada lost three relatively quick wickets, both openers falling and then Arslan Khan brilliantly caught at slip - 92/3, all three wickets falling to the spin of Bulli. Nitish Kumar and Harsh Thaker put on 56 before Bulli struck again, Kumar caught for 42. Thaker's 60 from 82 balls took Canada past 200 before he pushed McCarthy to short cover- 207/6 with 5 overs to go. After two more wickets fell, Movva (21) and Mann hit well in the closing overs, taking Canada to 244/9. 

Canada were gifted a wicket in the first over with a run out, and took a second when Ahmadzai caught and bowled Blackwood - 56/2 in the 14th over. Pathan had Fudadin caught behind with the score on 81, and then bowled McCarthy, 101/4 after 21 overs. Bonner and Powell put on 85, and despite losing two quick wickets towards the end they hung on for a three wicket win. Bonner with 73* top-scored. 

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2019-11-17

The Canadian squad lost  to Jamaica today in the Windies Super 50 competition. Canada posted 243/7, another good batting performance led by 65 from Nitish Kumar, and at one point had Jamaica in trouble at 97/4.  

Canada won the toss and chose to bat. Pathan made 13 before he was bowled by Thomas but Mehta and Kumar brought up the fifty in the 10th over. Their partnership reached sixty before Mehta was caught behind for 33. Kumar was joined by Thaker, and they brought up the hundred in the 23rd over, Kumar reaching his personal half century soon after. Thaker made 18 before he was caught at mid-off, 119/3. Kumar made 65 before he was caught and bowled. Kanwarpal Thagur made a useful 43, taking Canada past 200. Kaleelm Sala (23) and Movva (26) hit well in the final ovbers to allow Canada to make 243/7. 

Kanwar Mann was asked to open the bowling with his left arm spin, and this paid off with two wickets in his first over. Spin took the third wicket - Shahid Ahmadzai bowling McCarthy, and when Thaker had Fudadin caught behind, Canada seemed favourites with Jamaica 97/4 in the 25th over. Jamaican captain Rovmon Powell had other ideas, and took the attack to the Canadian bowlers, reaching his fifty from only 27 balls. This turned the match in Jamaica's favour and they ran out winners by four wickets, Powell reaching his century.

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2019-11-15

An outstanding performance by Canada’s development team resulted in a resounding victory over last year’s champions, Combined Colleges today. The Canadians, put in to bat, put in their best batting performance of the tournament to date, led by a century from Nitish Kumar and 73 from Shahid Ahmadzai, all out for 249 in the last over. A fine all round bowling performance, led by 3 wickets from  both Kanwar Mann and Kaleem Sana, bowled out Combined Colleges for 149 and a 100 run victory. 

Combined Colleges won the toss and put Canada in to bat. The Canadians again lost an early wicket, Shereyas Movva caught behind in the third over. This brought in Nitish Kumar who appeared in good form, hitting the boundary with three classy cover drives early on. Jeet Mehta battled through a tough start and started to play his shots, the fifty coming up in 12 overs. They put on 80 before Mehta was run out. Shahid Ahmadzai came in and he and Kumar put on 103 before Kumar was finally out but not before completed an excellent century (102 from 99 balls with 14 fours). Ahmadzai made 73 from 88 balls, before being bowled hitting out in the 47th over. There was a collpase towards the end of the innings, the last 5 wickets falling for 9 runs in 3 overs. 

Thaker made an early breakthrough, with Morrison caught with the score on 23. Canada then were gifted a wicket, with poor running leading to an easy run out, and Mann secured a leg before decision two balls later- 45/3 in the 9th over. Mann then took the prized wicket of CCC captain Braithwaite in his next over, bowled by a well flighted delivery. He took the 5th wicket as well in a great spell of bowling, having Mcatty caught behind. Yax Patel piled on the pressure with two more wickets, another catch by the keeper, and a caught and bowled to reduce CCC to 85/7. A stubborn partnership was broken by Kaleem Sana, a short ball leading to Movva’s third catch behind the stumps and he also took Canada to  victory taking the final two wickets, both clean bowled.

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2019-11-11

The Canadian development squad  played their second match in the West Indies regional 50 over competition today, taking on Barbados. A patient 76 from Arslan Khan allowed them to post a total of 161 against a strong Barbados bowling attack. Barbados had little trouble knocking off the runs, with a useful contribution from Canadian Nicholas Kirton. 

Canada won the toss and chose to bat. They were in early trouble, with both openers gone in the third over, one to a leg before decision and Pathan bowled trying for a big drive. Nitish Kumar was the next to go, edging a lifting delivery to the keeper- 15/3. Arslan Khan and Shahid Ahmadzai concentrated on survival, but Ahmadzai was caught behind for 6 (21) with the score 29/4 in the 15th over. Tathgur (5) helped Arslan Khan take the score to 50 before being caught in the deep.  The 100 came up in the 36th over with 6 wickets down, and Arslan Khan brought up a patient fifty from 105 balls in the next over. He went on to 76 (125 balls) before he was dismissed. Kaleem Sana and Harmandeep Singh put on useful runs in the final overs as Canada were all out for 161 in the penultimate over. 

Barbados got off to a quick start, bringing up the 50 in the 10th over without loss. The spinners slowed the scoring date, and then Shahid Ahmadzai broke the partnership, getting a favourable leg before decision. That brought in Canadian national team player Nicholas Kirton, representing Barbados in this tournament. He and Kjorn Ottley had little trouble steering Barbados to victory in 30 overs. Kirton finished with 54*, finishing the match with a six and a four. . 

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2019-11-11

The journey to create a bunch of world-beaters is long and arduous. It comes with sacrifices but is ultimately rewarding. Cricket Canada’s development squad is currently partaking in the Super50 Cup in the West Indies. Here is a peek into their mindset as they brace for steeper challenges.

By Karthik Swaminathan

 The opening match against Leeward Islands might not have been the best of starts the Canadian development team were looking for, but it is also imperative to see the fine print which is where actual progress reflects. “At this level, my role as a coach has more to do with man management and bringing the best out of the cricketers than just coaching the basics. It is about discipline and setting plans and contingencies…”, says coach and manager Amarinder Bhinder, who also happens to be the only coach in the Americas to have two Level 3s. 

Leeward Islands piled up 257 in the Super50 Cup face-off, but there were two aspects which pleased Bhinder. His young team (average age 23-24) had not only bowled them out within 50 overs, but also kept the extras to just 4. Something to feel encouraged against a far superior outfit. “I’d say 80% of our bowling plans were successful, but batting is a concern. The lads are learning the importance of patience and staying at the crease,” Bhinder adds. 

Going through the process is vital, especially when the sport of cricket is trying to again be noticed by Canadians at large. It has to be remembered that there was a time when cricket was declared as Canada's first official sport (1867). The first ever international match was played between the United States and Canada way back in 1844. So, while there is rich history, sporting priorities have changed over centuries and now the sport will have a much tougher climb – especially given the successes in other fields such as golf (Brooke Henderson), basketball (Toronto Raptors) and tennis (Bianca Andreescu), besides the other usual suspects such as ice hockey and baseball. 

Bhinder and the boys realise just that as they look to take Canada back to the world stage in cricket. And they are not averse to experimenting – be it with the playing XI or with strategies. Nitish Kumar, former captain of the national team and one of the finest Canadian cricketers in recent times, is part of the touring developmental squad as a mentor. 

The 25-year-old, who in 2011 was the youngest player to take part in a World Cup, has had quite a journey himself and stresses on organic development of a cricketer as opposed to drumming in everything from the get-go, especially in a challenging tournament like the Super50. “It’s not super formal with me; I just offer whatever I can… It’s about understanding what [the player’s] role is. Mistakes happen as batting is hard to master, even top players struggle, it is about finding your game and trying to stick to it to the best of one’s ability.”

 As if in sync with Bhinder’s batting notes, Kumar explains the challenges batsmen face at the level when the conversation turns to the mind game. He adds, “The mental aspect grows more when you play more cricket. Experience is a great thing and it comes from being part of different situations in a game and taking decisions.” As pragmatic as it can get, and Bhinder concurs, “They will learn when faced with different scenarios; by setting small targets, we take steps in the right direction.” The players certainly seem inspired. Vice-captain Shreyas Movva is one of them. “Seven or eight players have made their debut in the development team and it is great to have someone as experienced as Nitish around… The positive vibes and out-of-the-box thinking from Amarinder help a lot too.” Positivity breeds positivity, which is among the biggest takeaways Bhinder tries to address. “They are so happy, so hungry, and keen to practice and work…” 

With that attitude, and the backing of the board, the nation and the legion of fans, success won’t be a far-fetched destination. As Ranjit Saini, resident of Cricket Canada, reiterates, “It is just a matter of time.

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