Team Canada has qualified for the Regional Finals of the WT20 Qualifiers which brings them a step closer to the dream of playing in the ICC’s 2020 T20 World Cup. The Sub Regional Qualifiers were played in Raleigh, North Carolina from 19th to 26th September 2018. Canada’s cricketers showed exceptional skills and temperament throughout the Tournamement to grab a spot in the finals.
The participating teams were Canada, Belize, Panama and arch rivals USA as hosts. The tournament was played in a round-robin format which allowed the four participating teams to play two matches against each of their respective other three opponents.
Canada won almost every match played authoritatively by huge margins. In each of their two matches against Panama they bowled out the opposition for 42 and 40. Against Belize the performances were almost identical. The Bermudians were twice dismissed by the rampant Canadians for lowly scores of 42 and 32 respectively. Canada won all four of these matches by 10 wickets.
Canada’s outstanding mystery spinner Nikhil Dutta said, “I felt it was a great tournament for Canada. We performed well as a team and had two very good games against the USA. I feel our team can only improve from here.”
The Canadian’s matches against their oldest opponents the USA, were the two most exciting encounters of the entire tournament. In the first match against their neighbours, Canada’s batsmen displayed superb fighting spirit until till the very last ball of the match to ensure the necessity of a Super Over to determine the final outcome. The Super Over requirement was necessitated by Rizwan Cheema’s dramatic last ball six, which had leveled the scores and tied the game.
Batting first in the Super Over Canada scored 15 runs. They then successfully defended that score to win the game.
Canada’s only loss of the tournament came in their second match against the USA. In yet another exciting and dramatic finish the USA eventually won by scoring the required runs in the very last over.
The Canadian “Red Army” scored 173 runs and were on the verge of winning match, but luck was not on their side. Despite their valiant heroics throughout the closely competed match, Canada eventually lost by just the slimmest of hairline margins.
FIVE TOURNAMENT TAKEAWAYS:
- Rizwan Cheema’s experience helped the Canadian team in handling the pressure situations which was seen in the super-over match against USA
- The leggie Nikhil Dutta spun a web around all opposing batsmen, often grabbing key wickets and restricting them to low scores.
- The pacers rattled through the opponents line-ups early in the innings to give the Canadian bowling solid starts.
- Wicket-keeper batsman Hamza Tariq was brilliant both behind and in front of the stumps.
- Canada’s overall performance was a superb Team effort. The players generally functioned as one tightly knit unit which solidified their performances.
THE ROAD AHEAD
This was just the first step and there is now still a long way to go. The next assignment will be the 2019 Regional Finals, during which Canada will be up against the USA, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.
There are two spots up for grabs for which these 4 teams will be competing. Once Canada grabs one of the two available spots they will then become eligible to play in the ICC WT20 Qualifiers. That final Qualifier Tournament will have 25 international teams from around the world competing for six available participation spots for the 2020 ICC T20 Word Cup.
The path is long, but our Canadian Red Army is now determined and focused to achieve its 2020 ICC T20 World Cup participation dream.
Story Credits: Swapnil Thakare and Tony Mc.Watt