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2022-08-11

Hosts Canada’s triumphant march towards ICC 2023 World Cup Challenge League A Round 2 glory continued on Sunday July 31 with crushing 121 runs win over Malaysia. Man-of-the Match Saad Bin Zafar’s five-for, 5/31-8.3, the second to be recorded by a Canadian player during the tournament following Dilon Heyliger’s 5/34-8 in the hosts’ July 27 opening encounter against Denmark, was the difference-maker in the match.

Replying to Canada’s posted first-strike total of 239/8-50 overs, Malaysia’s batsmen proved themselves to be cluelessly at sea against Zafar’s left-arm spinning wiles. Once he had been introduced to the attack the impressively experienced Zafar carved through the Malaysian bating like a hot knife through butter, taking wickets with increasing regularity as the visitors and impending hosts for the tournament’s forthcoming deciding Round 3 later this year collapsed in a heap to be all out for 118 in under 30 overs (29.3).

Earlier, Canada had reached its posted 50 overs total of 239/8 thanks mainly to a matured unbeaten 57 by the 24-year-old Harsh Thaker. Dropped at point before he’d scored, Thaker corrected the error of his early innings attempted aggression with a composed 72 balls half-century that was punctuated by just five fours. 

Thaker’s half-century was built upon the foundation that been laid by a second-wicket partnership of 41 between Rayyan Pathan (49) and Matthew Spoors (23) following the early loss of second-match centurion skipper Navneet Dhaliwal. The Canadian captain perished early, falling for just 8 with the score on 15.

Following his failures in both of Canada’s two previous matches, Pathan demonstrated his intent to get back amongst the runs controlling his natural aggression in compiling a composed 49 that was made off of 54 balls including just one six and a half-dozen fours. His eventual dismissal, agonizingly one run short of what would have been a most deserved half-century, was the direct result if his having been stuck at the non-strikers end on 49 for no less than five overs. During that time Pathan could only stand as a hapless witness to the ongoing struggles of the Canadian’s wicket-keeper batsman Shreyas Movva who proved to be far more successfully at jockeying the strike at the end of each over than he was at scoring at any acceptable rate. 

Movva posted 39 that included three fours. His eventual dismissal, as the fifth Canadian wicket to fall and with the score on 153 after 32.2 overs opened the door for the aggressive intentions of Thaker and eventually Dilon Heyliger. The burly Heyliger was almost at his belligerent best striking two massive sixes and one four in an unbeaten 28 that only required 19 balls, and which gave the Canadian innings just the impetus that was needed in its final overs.  

Summarized Scores:

Canada 239/8-50 ovrs. Harsh Thaker 57*, Rayyan Pathan 49, Dhivendarn Mogan 2/29-4.

Malaysia 118/10/29.3 ovrs. Sarvin Munlandy 48. Saad Bin Zafar 5/31-8.3, Salman Nazar 2/15-8, Jeremy Gordon 2/27-6.

Canada won by 118 runs.

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2022-07-31

Canada crushed arch-rivals Singapore by six wickets when the two ICC 2023 World Cup Challenge League A points table leaders clashed on July 30 during the tournament’s second round matches being played at Ontario’s King City-based Maple Leaf Cricket Club. The Canadians were led to victory by a composed unbeaten century (100+) from their captain Navneet Dhaliwal.

Opening the batting, Dhaliwal safely piloted his team’s response to Singapore’s posted modest first innings total of 188/10 after the Canadians had suffered the early third-over loss of Rayyan Pathan (1). Attempting an ill-advised cut shot off the bowling of Singapore’s skipper Amjad Mahmood, who he was facing for the first time, Pathan succeeded only in stroking the ball straight into the hands of the diving fielder at point to be sent packing with the Canadian score on just 3. 

Dhaliwal’s unbeaten century which included 12 fours and required only 103 balls for its construction, however, proved to be an impenetrable wall of resistance to any hopes Singapore might have held for a come-from-behind victory. Following the obvious inadequacy of their posted first innings total.

The damage created by the early loss of Pathan’s prized wicket was easily repaired by a second-wicket partnership of 62 between Dhaliwal and Matthew Spoors. The Alberta based Spoors struck a polished 27 off of 37 balls and seemed destined for a much higher score. He was, however, cleverly deceived by the spinning wiles of Paaram, falling all over his attempted forward defensive push to a well flighted delivery only to completely lose his balance in falling out of his crease. Singapore’s wicket-keeper Manpreet Singh effected the required smart stumping that sent Spoors on his way back to the pavilion.

Nicholas Kirton, who had featured as Canada’s batting hero in its opening match victory against Denmark, then became the second successive victim of Param’s left arm spinning wiles. Kirton was struck plumb in front first ball to be adjudged lbw, playing back when he might have been much better served going forward to a delivery which kept low. Kirton was gone for naught, and the Canadian innings was suddenly tottering on 66/3 in the 15th (14.4) over. 

Varun Sehdev, who had under-performed with the bat against Denmark having scored only 1, however, not only prevented Paaram from achieving a hat-trick but then also combined with his skipper Dhaliwal in a 73-runs partnership for the fifth wicket that deflated Singapore’s rekindled hopes of an unlikely victory. After an understandably nervous start, Sehdev compiled a sedate 32 off of 60 balls to take the Canadians well within reach of their victory target.

Sehdev departed off the final ball of the 31st over, bowled by Baskaran. His exit, however, only prompted the arrival of Shreyas Movva, the dynamo Canadian wicket-keeper batsman whose belligerent 16-balls 35 runs cameo had seen his team home to victory against Denmark. 

Movva (19*) was far more subdued in his second crease appearance, content to play second-fiddle to his captain Dhaliwal’s march towards his coveted unbeaten century. Movva, however, had the honor of clinching the victory smashing the second ball of the 41st over for four to give Canada the very crushing win by 6 wickets with 52 balls still remaining.

As the dejected Singaporeans trudged off of the King City field, their primary thoughts must have been about the demonstrated inadequacies of their batting in posting a first innings total of 188/10 – 50 overs. That was never going to be sufficient against Canada’s very strong batting. 

Anish Paaram’s 57 and opener Rohan Rangaram’s 49 were the only scores of note as Singapore’s batsmen found the generated heat of Canada’s Guyana-born duo Jeremy Gordon and Dilon Heyliger, a bit too hot to handle. Gordon 2/40-9 and Heyliger 2/44-8.2 both troubled almost all of Singapore’s batsmen with their at-times express pace and steep bounce. 

Canada’s third seamer, Ammar Khalid also chipped in with 1/21-4 and while the seamers were combing to capture half of Singapore’s wickets at one end, the spinners were doing almost the same exact job at the other. Saad Bin Zafar 1/21-10, Varun Sehdev 1/22-8 and Salman Nazar 1/29-10 each provided valuable support to a combined, very clinical, Canadian bowling performance of which recently appointed Head Coach Pubudu Dassanayake would have been justifiably extremely proud.


Summarized Scores:

Singapore 188/10-50 ovrs. Anish Paaram 57, Rohan Rangaram 49. Jeremy Gordon 2/40-9, Dilon Heyliger 2/44-8.2

Canada 190/4-41.2 ovrs. Navneet Dhaliwal 100*, Varun Sehdev 32. Anish Paaram 2/23-4.

Canada won by 6 wickets with 52 balls remaining.

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2022-07-31

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.


Summarized Scores:

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.

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2022-07-20

Cricket Canada has appointed Pubudu Dassanayake as the Canadian National Men’s Cricket Team’s Head Coach. The Sri Lankan-born Dassanayake has been appointed to the position for an initial two-year term commencing August 1, 2022. 

Dassanayake will be with the Canadian team for its matches during the forthcoming July 25-August 7 ICC Cricket World Cup Challenge League A. All matches in the Canada-hosted round-robin tournament, which will be feature the National teams of Denmark, Malaysia, Qatar, Singapore, Vanuatu and hosts Canada competing against each other in their ongoing quest for qualification to next year’s 2023 ICC World Cup, will be played at King City’s Maple Leaf Cricket Club!

Pubudu Dassanayake was born on July 11, 1970, in Kandy, Sri Lanka. As a right-handed wicket-keeper batsman, he represented Sri Lanka in 11 Test matches and 16 ODI’s during the 1993-1994 two-year period. After emigrating to Canada, Dassanayake made his Canadian international debut at the 2005 ICC World Cup. He also represented Canada at the 2005 and 2006 editions of the ICC Intercontinental Cup.

Dassanayake was until recently serving his second stint as Nepal’s Head Coach, a position from which he’d officially announced his resignation on June 28, 2022. Dassanayake had initially coached the Nepal National team from 2011 – 2015 during which he had achieved noteworthy successes. Under Dassanayake’s coaching guidance Nepal had qualified for its maiden ICC T20 World Cup appearance in 2014.

Dassanayake’s forthcoming August 1, 2022, assumption of the Canadian Head Coach position will also be his second stint at the helm of Canada’s National Men’s cricket team. After his retirement from playing, Dassanayake was initially appointed as Canadian National Head Coach in August 2007, having acted in the position for several months prior. 

Dassanayake oversaw Canada’s successful qualification for the ICC 2011 World Cup, resigning almost immediately after the tournament’s completion to shortly thereafter take up his appointment as Nepal’s Head Coach. Dassanayake was also appointed US Head Coach in September 2016 but resigned in July 2019.

Dassanayake will take over the Canadian National Men’s team coaching responsibilities from interim Coach Amarinder Bhinder. The South African-born Bhinder had served as Canada’s Interim Head Coach since November 2018. 

In announcing the appointment, Cricket Canada President Rashpal Bajwa expressed the confidence of himself and his Board of Directors that Dassanayake’s demonstrated cricket knowledge and outstanding experience would be most valuable assets to Canada’s ongoing ICC World Cup 2023 qualification attempts and as well on regaining its previously lost Official ICC ODI status. President Bajwa also expressed Cricket Canada’s gratitude, on behalf of itself, the National team players, as well as the members of the entire Canadian cricket community to Amarinder Bhinder for the sterling service he had provided as Interim Head Coach.  

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2022-07-19

Ontario Triumphs Over BC To Be Crowned National T20 Champions!

In a match that was a fitting conclusion to an impressively staged five-day tournament and worthily competitive as a Final, Ontario defeated British Columbia by 5 wickets to claim the coveted title of Canadian National 2022 T20 Champions. Ontario’s very strong batting line-up, comprised as it was of a plethora of Canadian National team batsmen, was in the end just that much too strong to endure any insurmountable challenges in surpassing BC’s posted, decidedly insufficient, 20-overs total of 151-4.

The highlight of BC’s 151-4 was yet another delightful half-century from the Canadian National team’s recently debuted opening batsman, Aaron Johnson. The Jamaican-born Johnson who made his Canadian debut in a recent July 7 50 Over friendly match against Nepal, struck 7 fours in his 40-ball fifty. He and Anoop Raini (18) combined for an opening partnership of 51 that was made in 7.4 overs. Johnson then added 31 with Bhupinder Singh (23), before he was eventually deceived by Parveen Kumar’s clever slower delivery to be caught and bowled, almost immediately after he’d completed his half-century celebrations.

BC’s hard-hitting skipper, National Canadian batsman Ravi Singh, tried desperately to provide his team’s innings with the impetus necessary to achieve a sufficiently challenging first-strike total. Singh’s aggressively struck 38, with 5 fours included, only required 21 balls. It proved to be in vain though as he departed, bowled by Shahbaz Kayani off the fourth ball of the 20th over, with the score on 149.

Shahbas Kayani returned the best figures among the six Ontario bowlers used, all of whom were relatively expensive. He claimed 1/18 from his 3 overs.

Set an undaunting 152/20 overs for victory, Ontario’s openers Rayyan Pathan and Shubham Sharma went about their task as if there were only half that many available balls to be faced. Sharma was a virtual non-striking spectator as Pathan, the tournament’s leading run-scorer, carved BC’s opening bowlers to every part of the King City outfield. 

Pathan struck 2 sixes and 3 fours, 24 boundary runs in total in his 12-ball innings of 25. Had he not been caught at long-off somewhat needlessly attempting to hit yet another boundary off the fourth ball of the third over, the first three of which had produced 6, 4 and 6, BC’s posted 151 run total might indeed have been surpassed within under 10 overs.

Sharma (3) perhaps attempting to duplicate Pathan’s fireworks was dismissed soon after, caught by Bhupinder Singh off the bowling of Udaybir Singh Walia with the score on 32. Ontario’s skipper Navneet Dhaliwal, whose role with the Canadian National team is identical, however steadied the innings with a typically composed knock of 27 that was made off of 23 balls. Dhaliwal’s innings was punctuated by 1 six and 3 fours. 

Dhaliwal’s was the third wicket to fall, departing as he did with the score on 86/3-9.5 overs. He and Armaan Kapoor (40) had added 54 for the third wicket. 

Kapoor’s useful 40 was made off of 27 balls and included 5 fours. After Kapoor fell, bowled by Newab Singh off the third ball of the thirteenth over, there was the quick further loss of Parveen Kumar whose short-lived innings of 4 lasted only 6 balls. Kapoor fell with the score on 118/5 after 14.1 overs raising BC hope of q come from behind victory. 

Whatever hopes the BC players and their visiting supporters may have harboured for such an unlikely victory were effectively squashed by an unbeaten 34-runs sixth wicket partnership between Canadian National team all-rounders Harsh Thakar and Saad Bin Zafar. Thakar scored 29* off 21 balls with one six and a four. Zafar’s contribution was 21* off 16 balls with 2 fours.

The pair saw Ontario home to victory without any further stress, to the gleeful delight of their fellow team members. Following the match’s conclusion there were presentations of numerous awards to the tournament’s outstanding players, as well of course the Championship trophy to Ontario’s captain Navneet Dhaliwal. 

Ontario’s Rayyan Pathan who scored 254 runs from 5 innings at an average of 63.50 and at a strike rate of 145.14 was named the tournament’s CO-MVP alongside Aaron Johnson of BC. Johnson’s 208 tournament runs were scored from 6 innings at an average of 34.67 with a 139.50 strike rate.

Earlier in the day, Quebec 133/8-20 overs had persevered over Nova Scotia 121/6-20 to claim a narrow twelve runs victory and third place in the tournament’s final standings. Quebec captain Shreyas Movva again provided the backbone of his team innings with a top score of 34, made from 45 balls with 5 fours. Zeeshan Ansari 2/17-2, Shadab Ahmed 2/19-4 and Rahul Vashishtha 2/25-3 were Nova Scotia’s top wicket-takers.

Chasing 134 for victory in 20 overs at a run rate of under 7 runs per over, Nova Scotia came close but not close enough, agonizingly falling short of their victory total by just 12 runs. Neel Patel’s ever 50, made off 34 balls with 1 six and 9 fours was the top score of the Nova Scotia innings. Bowling for Quebec, Ramki Gangasani 2/23-3 was the top wicket-taker,   

The fixtures and results from all matches can be viewed on the Cricket Canada App. 

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2022-07-19

Nova Scotia’s Surge Ends With Semi-Final Loss As BC, Ontario Claim Final Berths!

Starting the National T20 Championships’ Fourth day in next to last place in the Group B standings with only one win from three matches played, no one would have expected Nova Scotia to have earned themselves a semi-final berth by mid-afternoon. Except perhaps, the Nova Scotians themselves.

Needing to win their fourth and final Preliminary Round match against Prince Edward Island (PEI) by a sufficiently decisive margin as to surpass Manitoba’s -0.175 net run rate to get into the Group’s second place position, Nova Scotia did just that, winning by 29 runs to end at -o.139. Nova Scotia’s victory and semi-final advancement was, however, spectacularly only achieved off the third ball of the game’s final over. 

Taking first strike Nova Scotia scored 123/9-20 with Daksh Talwar’s 37 as the top score. Manny Dhaliwal 2/20-4 and Fahad Ahmad 2/32-4 were PEI’s top wicket-takers.

Chasing 130 for victory, PEI lost wickets at a rate of almost one every two overs. The twentieth over started with PEI on 94/9 and Nova Scotia needing to win by at least 26 runs to secure their semi-final spot. Mission accomplished as PEI folded without further addition to the score off the third ball of the 20th over to hand the delighted Nova Scotians their much coveted victory by 29 runs.

Nova Scotia’s advancement meant that they would have to play their semi-final against Group A Winners British Columbia as a back-to-back match with just over an hour’s break in between. Whilst the players for all four semi-finalists, BC, Quebec, Ontario and Nova Scotia cooled their heels waiting for the appointed start time of their finalists-determining matches to arrive, Newfoundland and New Brunswick were competing against each other in the final game of the Preliminary Round. 

Newfoundland batting first posted 112/9 off its 20 overs with Gurman Khurana’s 19 as the top score. Hitarth Bhavsar 2/11-2 and Rishabh Verma 2/20-4 were New Brunswick’s top wicket-takers.

Set 113 for victory, New Brunswick reached its target in the 19th (18.4) over for the loss of 7 wickets. Kamran Mohammed top scored with a belligerent 63 that was made off of only 36 balls with 3 sixes and 5 fours included. Indranil Mallick Neel (2/11-1.4) and Ibnul Inan Chowdhury (2/21-4) were Newfoundland’s double-wickets takers.

Day Four’s Ontario vs Quebec semi-final proved to be a bit of a lopsided contest. Batting first Ontario posted 199/9-20 with the tournament’ batting leader Rayyan Pathan further establishing his class with yet another half-century. 

Pathan’s 71 required only 40 balls, punctuated as it was by 3 sixes and 9 fours. He was well supported by his captain Navneet Dhaliwal who played a composed innings of 43, that was made off of 39 balls with 2 sixes and3 fours. Dillon Heyliger’s 11 ball 31, inclusive of 4 sixes and 1 four, provided some fireworks in the last few overs of Ontario’s innings.

Needless to say, all of Quebec’s bowlers took a hiding. So much so that Ramki Gangasani’s 2/28-4 were the very best figures.  

200 for victory at a required rate of 10 runs per over was always going to be a mountainous task for Quebec. Skipper Shreyas Movva tried his very best, getting to 32 off 28 balls before he became the first of Parveen Kumar’s (2/22-4) two victims. There was unfortunately, however, not much more on offer from his teammates as they could only get as far as 103/7-20 to lose by 97 runs. Saad Bin Zafar (2/26-4) was Ontario’s second most successful bowler.

While Ontario was making short work of Quebec, Group A Winners BC was also establishing its dominance over upstart semi-finalists Nova Scotia. Batting first BC posted 142/9-20.

Aaron Johnson served further notice to the Canadian Selectors of his National team opening batsman aspirations, by means of his 39 ball 50 which included 2 sixes and 6 fours. Rahul Vashishtha (4/33-4) and Daksh Talwar (2/18-4) had the best figures among the six bowlers used by Nova Scotia in its attempt to restrict BC’s total.

As it turned out the 143-run victory target set by BC proved to high a hill for Nova Scotia’s battle wearied batsmen. 78 all out in 16.5 overs was all they could manage in the face of some disciplined BC bowling. Dilpreet Singh Bajwa (3/11-4), Navot Dosanjh (3/14-40 and Newab Singh (2/12-2) were the primary wicket-takers for BC.

The Championship’s eventful Day 4 came to a conclusion with ninth-tenth and eight-seventh positions determining matches between Newfoundland-PEI and Alberta – New Brunswick respectively. Newfoundland (120/9-20) clinched the ninth spot with a very close 15 run victory over PEI (105/8-20).

Mahe Alam Chowdhury (52) and Guram Khurana (44) were Newfoundland’s batting heroes, while Ibnul Inan Chowdhury (3.12-4) was their main destroyer of the PEI batting. Earlier for the Islanders Akhil Mohan 3/16-4 had been the pick of their bowlers. The batsmen, however failed to duplicate his heroics with Piryam Soni’s (32) and Parth Patel’s (29) being the only scores of note.

The Alberta-New Brunswick contest for the seventh and eight positions in the tournament’s final standings was far more one sided than the Newfoundland-PEI encounter. Batting first Alberta posted an impressive 180/3-20. Jigesh Raval (52*) and Jagandeep (51*) both scored unbeaten half-centuries. Yasoob Haq (45) was just five runs short of the same achievement.

Chasing 181 for victory, New Brunswick got as far as 119/8-20 with Hitarth Bhavsar 32* as the top scorer. Canadian National player Yax Patel became the Championship’s very first bowler to take 5 wickets with figures of 5/14-4!

The Championship’s July 15 fifth and final day will feature the Manitoba-Saskatchewan fifth-sixth place and Nova Scotia-Quebec third-fourth place encounters. Both matches will be played simultaneously. Before the tournament climaxing BC-Ontario finalich is  

The fixtures and results from all matches can be viewed on the Cricket Canada App. 

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