Nicholas Kirton’s polished 48, struck off of 82 balls and including two sixes and as many fours, was the backbone of Canada’s comfortable 74 runs victory over Denmark in the opening fixture of the ICC’s 2023 World Cup Challenge League A second round matches being played at Ontario’s King City Maple Leaf Cricket Club. Having been sent into bat by Denmark, tournament hosts Canada recovered from the early losses of openers Rayyan Pathan (2) and skipper Navi Dhaliwal (8) to eventually post a challenging first strike total of 219/8-50 overs, which proved to be too much for Denmark’s batsmen. Denmark in reply found the experienced Canadian bowling attack too tough a proposition, folding for 145/10 in 43.2 overs.
Kirton featured in an important 55 runs third-wicket partnership with Canada’s Alberta based Australian import Matthew Spoors who batted at three. Spoors struck 27 to help rebuild the Canadian innings after the early losses of both of its openers with only 20 runs on the board and still within the first 10-over power play. After Spoors’ dismissal, bowled by Hamid Shah, Canada suffered a further setback just five runs later with the loss of Varun Sehdev (1) that left the innings precariously placed at 80/4 at its mid-point stage of the 25th (24.5 overs).
Kirton eventually departed, just two runs short of what would have been a very deserving half-century but Denmark’s bowlers were prevented from making any further major inroads through the combined batting talents of Canada’s all-rounders Harsh Thaker (39) and Saad Bin Zafar (43). Thaker and Zafar batted sensibly together in adding 52 for the 6th wickets as the second fifty-run partnership of the innings.
A belligerent 16-balls 35 not out cameo by wicket-keeper Shreyas Movva, gave the Canadian innings just the momentum that was required in its final overs as the score reach 219/8- at the end of the allocated 50. Bowling for Denmark, Hamid Shah 2/31-10 and Oliver Hald 2-45/7 were the main wicket-takers.
Needing 220 for victory at a required run rate of 4.4 runs per over Denmark got off to a shaky start losing both openers within the first 10 overs (8.3) and with the score on 27/2. It was a wobbly foundation from which the required stability never came.
In the face of some at times fiery seam bowling by Man-of-the Match Dilon Heyliger Denmark’s batsmen found their respective stays at the crease to be short-lived. Surya Ahmad’s 34 and Saif Ahmad’s 34 were the only scores of note as Heyliger ran rampant to claim 5/34 from his 8 overs bowled. Heyliger was very well supported by both Salman Nazar (3/28-8.2) and Varun Sehdev (2/29-1)) as Denmark’s innings closed at 145/10 in the 44th (43.2) over to give Canada a very comfortable 74 runs victory.
Canada 219/8 (50 ovrs) Nicholas Kirton 48, Saad Bin Zafar 43, Harsh Thaker 39, Shreyas Movva 35. Hamid Shah 2/31-10. Oliver Hald 2/45-7.
Denmark 145/10 (43.2 ovrs); Surya Anand 39, Saif Ahmad 34, Zameer Khan 28. Dilon Heyliger 5/34-8, Salman Nazar 3/28-8.2, Varun Sehdev 2/29-10.
Canada won by 74 runs.