If ever there was a male version of the Cinderella fairy-tale story, Canada’s Saad Bin Zafar would certainly qualify as a most appropriate subject for such an honour. His rise from the relative obscurity of Canadian cricket to international prominence as Man of the Match for the Vancouver Knights Championship Final victory in the Toronto hosted Inaugural Season of the Mercury Canada Global T20 Championship Final, can only best be described as meteoric!
Saad Bin Zafar (born 10 November 1986) is a Pakistan-born Canadian cricketer who plays for the Canada national cricket team. As a left handed batsman and left-arm orthodox spin bowler, Zafar is sufficiently competent in both as to be regarded as a genuine all rounder.
Zafar's Cinderella story had a very early start. At the tender age of 10 he started playing tape ball on the streets of his hometown. Later at the age of 14 his school's sports teacher spotted Zafar and introduced him to leather ball cricket by selecting him for the school's juniors cricket team.
In 2004, having immigrated from Pakistan to Canada, Saad started playing club cricket for Overseas Cricket Club in the Premier Division of the Toronto & District Cricket League. His consistently outstanding League performances eventually caught the attention of the Canadian national Team Selectors. Zafar made his international debut on 4 July 2008 playing against Bermuda. He looked impressive on his debut as he took 4 wickets, including the wicket of Bermuda's captain Irving Romaine who was close to scoring a century.
Since then Zafar’s Canadian cricketing career has been punctuated by several outstanding international and domestic performances, By far the most impressive of these occurred when he scored 262 not out in a 50 over game in Scarborough Cricket League’s Premier Division in August 2015.
In January 2017, having been selected as one of Canada’s representatives for the ICC Americas in the 2016–17 Caribbean Regional Super50 Championships, Zafar emerged as the team’s leading wicket taker. The following year, in January 2018, he was named in Canada's squad for the 2018 ICC World Cricket League Division Two Qualification Tournament.
On 3 June 2018, Zafar was selected to play for the Vancouver Knights during the Players' Draft for the Inaugural Season of the Global T20 Canada tournament. Zafar was the second Canadian player to be selected in the Draft after Nikhil Dutta in round 9.
Zafar’s performances in his Global T20 Canada outings were highly commendable, In his third outing, in the Vancouver Knights match against the Montreal Tigers his bowling figures were 3/21 off his allocated 4 overs. In his fifth match, played against the Toronto Nationals, he was again impressive with the ball, taking 2/22 in 3.5 overs, He also scored an unbeaten 12 in a 47-run match winning partnership with Chadwick Walton.
In the final match of the 2018 Global T20 Canada Tournament against the West Indies B cricket team he had figures of 2 for 26 runs including a wicket maiden over. Vancouver Knights didn’t have an ideal start to the chase as Chadwick Walton, Chris Gayle and Ben Dunk fell cheaply to leave them at 22 for 3. But Zafar and Rassie van der Dussen compiled a crucial unbeaten 126-run partnership to get Knights back on track in the chase. Zafar played the role of an aggressor, dealing in regular boundaries to post a 32-ball fifty. He collected eight fours and three sixes in his unbeaten 48- ball innings which yielded 79 runs.
Zafar’s brilliant all round performance, with both ball and bat in the Championship Final was pivotal to the Vancouver Knights eventual emergence as Title winners. Hoisted on the shoulders of his jubilant more globally prominent international teammates he was adjudged Man Of The Match for his brilliant all-round performance.
A fitting conclusion to the most recent chapter or Saad Bin Zafar’s continuing Cinderella story. With further domestic and international match appearances becoming readily available, opportunities will certainly exist for Saad Bin Zafar’s recently acclaimed stardom to rise even higher!
Cricket Canada has announced the names of a strong fourteen member Men’s Senior Team Squad to participate in the 2020 International Cricket Council (ICC) Cricket World Cup Challenge League A. The Tournament, which will be a part of the qualification process for the 2023 ICC Word Cup, will be held in Malaysia from March 14 – 27, 2020. Canada will play fifty 0vers matches against ICC Division A country teams representing Denmark, Qatar, Singapore, Vanuatu and hosts Malaysia during the Tournament.
Canada’s 14 member ICC 2020 Challenge Cup Squad will be captained by its experienced opening batsman Navneet Dhaliwal (pictured). In 30 List A (fifty-overs) matches played to date in Canadian colours, Dhaliwal has scored 1027 runs at an impressive 39.50 average, with two centuries and five half centuries. Nitish Kumar, Abrash Khan, Ravinderpal Singh, Harsh Thaker, Varun Sehdev and Srimantha Wijeyeratne, will provide batting support to Dhaliwal.
Canada’s bowling attack will be centred around the front line spin of experienced campaigners Saad Bin Zafar, Nikhil Dutta, Salman Nazar and Shahid Ahmedzai. They will be ably supported by the part-time spin offerings of Nitish Kumar and Dhaliwal himself. Romesh Eranga and Faizal Jamkhandi are the only two seamers included in the squad, the wicket-keeping duties for which will be shared by Srimantha Wijeyeratne and Armaan Kapoor.
Experienced South African Amarinder Bhinder will be the Head Coach for the Canadian Squad, which will be managed by Carlos Ragoonath. Surendra Seeraj (Assistant Coach), Daulat Khan (Asst Coach/Analyst) and Tejash Patel (Physio) will be the other members of the Canadian Squad’s management team.
The full squad (in alphabetical order) with their respective roles is as follows:
Canada, needing to beat the UAE in their final match of the round robin in the ICC WCT20 qualifier, lost by 14 runs, and failed to make the play offs. Three consecutive losses saw them fall to 5th place in the group.
Canada won the toss, chose to bowl, and got off to a great start, with Romesh Eranga bowling Rohan Mustafa in the first over, and Junaid Siddiqui, playing his first match of the tournament and opening the bowling, having Chirag Suri caught off his first ball. Saad Bin Zafar broke a promising partnership when Rameez Shahzad was given leg before- 48/3 in the 8th over. Tight bowling meant UAE did not hit a boundary in the middle 8 overs. Saad Bin Zafar took his second wicket in the 18th over, thanks to a fine stumping from Hamza Tariq, and his third next ball to a catch in the deep. He finished his spell with 3/21 from four overs. The UAE hit well to take 40 from the last two overs to set Canada a target of 155. Muhammad Usman made 89*. of their total of 154/5.
Wijeyeratne got Canada off to a bright start with 21 from 15 balls, but the scoring slowed in the middle overs. Navneet Dhaliwal made 41 from 36 balls but when he was out, Canada needed 73 from 7 overs. Ravinderpal Singh hit a couple of boundaries but with 28 needed from the last two overs he was caught in the deep. Kirton was unbeaten at the end, making 37 but took 39 balls in doing so. Canada finished on 140/5.
Canada lost to Hong Kong in their fourth match at the WC T20 qualifier today, falling well short of a 151 run target. Canada had won their first three matches but now fall to second place in their group on net run rate. They play Oman, now in 1st place, in their next match.
Hong Kong batted first after winning the toss. They got off to a fast start but then three wickets in 7 balls slowed their progress - Jeremy Gordon made the initial breakthrough, then Saad Bin Zafar had Aizaz Khan caught, and captain Navneet Dhaliwal ran out Ahsan Abbasi. After 10 overs, Hong Kong were 58/3. Nitish Kumar broke the 4th wicket partnership, taking 1/18 in four overs as Canada's spinners bowled tightly in the middle overs. Man of the match Kinchit Shah (59*) hit well, and Canada needed 151 to win.
Canada lost both openers for 17 runs when they started their reply, and struggled against tight bowling and fielding falling well behind the required run rate. Seven batsman got to double figures but the top score was 20 from Rizwan Cheema as Canada lost by 32 runs.
Canada had a big win over Ireland in their third match of the ICC WC T20 qualifier today to remain unbeaten. This was their first victory over a full member nation since 2003.
Canada won the toss and chose to bat. Rizwan Cheema, playing his first game of the tournament was bowled with the score on 13, but Navneet Dhaliwal and Nitish Kumar put together a good partnership. After 10 overs, Canada were 72/1. Dhaliwal reached his half century from just 37 balls. A reverse sweep from Kumar brought up the century partnership from 67 balls with 6 overs to go. Dhaliwal was finally caught in the deep for 69 from 51 balls. Kumar reached his third consecutive fifty from 34 balls, but was caught in the deep from the next ball. Hamza Tariq fell first ball, but Ravinderpaul Singh and Dillon Heyliger took Canada to 156/5 from their 20 overs.
Ireland fought hard against good Canadian bowling, and fell just 10 runs short. Needing 27 from the last two overs, Gordon and Heyliger bowled well at the death for the win. Earlier Saad Bin Zafar and Eranga each took 2 wickets, and Nikhil Dutta bowled 3 overs for just 12 runs, taking a wicket. Nitisgh Kumar added a catch and an outstanding run-out to his half century and was named man of the match.
Canada's next match is against Hong Kong tomorrow.
Canada beat Nigeria by 50 runs in their second match of the ICC WC T20 qualifier today in Abu Dhabi. Canada now top their group on net run rate and are the only unbeaten team. Nitish Kumar and Hamza Tariq srarrted with the bat, and Dillon Heyliger took three wickets.
Canada batted first, and found scoring difficult against a disciplined Nigerian attack and with a big playing surface making boundaries challenging. A number of bats got a start but only Nitish Kumar (57*) built a decent innings. Canada were 112/6 in the 17th over, but then Hamza Tariq slammed 33 from 16 balls to take them to a decent total of 159/7.
Dillon Heyliger and Jeremy Gordon unsettled the Nigerian openers with some genuine pace, with Heyliger taking two wickets to good catches in the deep. The Canadian spinners took control in the middle overs (Saad Bin Zafar with 2 wickets) and helped by a sharp run out, Nigeria lost wickets and fell well behind the run rate. They batted out their overs, making 109/8.
Gordon bowled his 4 overs for just 12 runs, Saad bin Zafar took 2/25, and Heyliger, with another wicket in the last over, took 3/16.
Canada beat Denmark to maintain their 100% record in the CWC Challenge League Group A tournament in Kuala Lumpur.
Canada, captained by Nitish Kumar standing in for Navneet Dhaliwal, batted first and made 302/8 in their 50 overs. Srimantha Wijeyeratne top-scored with 84, and Abraash Khan (42), and Ravindepal Singh (43) made useful contributions.
Denmark's target was revised to 221 from 33 overs after a rain delay. They were in a promising position at 101/1 after 25 overs but then 3 wickets apiece from Dutta and Saad Bin Zafar halted their progress, and they finished on 172/9. Saad Bin Zafar was named player of the match- 34* from 14 balls and 3/28.
Canada play Singapore (3 and 1) in their final match tomorrow.
A brilliant all round performance by Nitish Kumar took Canada to a third successive win at the CWC Challenge Group A tournament in Malaysia, beating previously unbeaten Qatar by 115 runs. Kumar followed up an excellent 129 with 5 wickets. Canada batted first, and put up another big total. Thomas (51) and Dhaliwal (38) got them off to a solid start then twin centuries from Nitish Kumar (129 from 84 balls) and Srimantha Wijeyeratne (112) took them to 379/4 from their 50 overs.
Qatar put up a good fight with an opening stand of 149 and were in with a chance after 25 overs. Saad Bin Zafar broke the stand in the 26th over and Kumar took the next five wickets, ending with 5/72 as Qatar were bowled out for 264.
Canada's next match is against Singapore on Wednesday.
Canada beat Malaysia by 206 runs in their second match of the CWC Challenge League Group A tournament in Kuala Lumpur. Batting first, they made a massive 408/7, led by 140 from captain Navneet Dhaliwal. He hit 13 sixes in the 94 ball innings, putting on 140 for the first wicket with Rodrigo Thomas (62), and 120 for the second with Nitish Kumar (60). Ravinderpaul Singh smashed 94 from just 46 balls.
Malaysia were bowled out for 202 in 46.3 overs, Nitish Kumar taking 3 wickets, Heyliger and Eranga two apiece, and Saad Bin Zafar one.
Canada are now 2-0 with their next match on Saturday against Qatar.
Canada beat Vanuatu by 5 wickets as they played their first match in the CWC Challenge League Group A at Kuala Lumpur. Vanuatu, batting first were bowled out for 160, Nikhil Dutta taking 3/29, and Saad Bin Zafar, Heyliger and Eranga each taking two wickets. After a poor start that saw Canada at 54/4, captain Navneet made 72 not out as Canada won with 5 wickets and 18 overs to spare.
With a win over the Caymans today in the ICC Americas T20 finals, Canada are assured of a top-two finish in the tournament, and a place in the ICC T20 World Cup qualifier.
Canada won the toss and chose to bowl. After just one over of pace, Canada turned to their spinners, and Saad Bin Zafar, Nikhil Dutta and Nitish Kumar all took wickets as Caymans reached 43/3 after 8.4 overs. Saad Bin Zafar took two more wickets to record figures of 4-0-8-3, and the Caymans managed just 91/7 in their twenty overs.
In replay Canada survived a scare, losing both openers without a run on the board, but Dhaliwal (53*) and Kumar (37*) took them to victory without losing another wicket and with 8 overs in hand. Canada thus have 7 points and cannot finish lower than second in the tournament,
Canada beat the US today in Bermuda to put themselves in an excellent position in the ICC Men's T20 World Cup Americas Region Final. Canada is on five points after an easy win in their first match, tied with Bermuda on the top of the table.
The US won the toss and chose to bat. The opening pair got off to a fast start, reaching 39 in four overs. the partnership was broken when Saad Bin Zafar came on, having Patel well caught by Rizwan Cheema at slip from his first ball. Nikhil Dutta had Marshall stumped with the score on 75 after 9 overs. Canada fought back strongly with their spinners, Nitish Kumar bowling Taylor, then Dutta inducing a catch in the deep to dismiss Malhotra- 95/4 with 6 overs to go. Some tight bowling and good fielding kept the run rate in check and the US finished on 144/6 from their 20 overs.
Canada attained the target with just 4 wickets and 5 balls to spare. Captain Naveneet Dhaliwal led the way with 54 from 41 balls, and Dilon Heyliger finished the match off with 23 not out after Canada needed 19 from the last two overs.
This year's Global T20 features higher Canadian participation and this was demonstrated in the opening match between last year's champions, the Vancouver Knights, and the Toronto Nationals. Much of the attention was on the superstars- Yurav Singh, Brendon McCallum, Chris Gayle and Kieron Pollard but Canadian players played a major part in the match.
Rodrigo Thomas was joint top-scorer for the Toronto squad with 41, and Rizwan Cheema had Yurav Singh stumped in his only over. Saad Bin Zafar took 2/7 in two overs, as the Nationals made 159/5.
Another high profile player fell to a Canadian bowler, as Mark Montford bowled Chris Gayle- Toronto's bowling attack featured three Canadians in the first four bowlers used - Montford, Jeremy Gordon and Salman Nazar. However the honours went to New Zealander Walton and south African van der Dussen who put on 126 to earn the Knights an 8 wicket win.
The National T20 is underway at Maple Leaf CC, King City. Sixty of Canada's best cricketers are in attendance, split into four teams, each containing a mix of national team players and cricketers selected for the high performance squad based on their performances in the regional T20 competitions. The tournament gives selectors an opportunity to evaluate players in match situations against top-quality opposition.
Last minute arrangements succeed to secure the tour
Antigua, Trinidad, South Africa or Sri Lanka puzzle was solved in favour of Sri Lanka, once it became clear that no other place provided much needed quality opposition and training arrangements than Sri Lanka. Institute of Sports (IOS), from Nagpur India, who have a long history of relationship with Cricket Canada were able to make all required arrangements to support Cricket Canada athletes training for the qualifier.
The Senior Men’s squad is practicing hard in Sri Lanka ahead of the WCL 2 Qualifiers. The squad held its first practice session at Panadura Ground on 10th March 2019. This world class training tour includes, cricket, mental and physical fitness as well as strategy sessions among other things. The training management has enforced a strict diet and training regime. The training is focused around team work, developing new skills and acclimatisation to foreign environments.
Following is the list of players and coaching staff, currently training in Sri Lanka. The final team for the qualifier shall be selected after the pre tour to South Africa and on the eve of starting of the qualifier in Namibia in April 2019.
Players:- Bhavindu Shakya Adhihetty David Johan Jacobs (Captain) Dilon Alex Heyliger Harsh Thaker Hiral Dashrathbhai Patel Mark Montfort Navneet Singh Dhaliwal Nikhil Dutta Nitish Roenick Kumar Ravinderpal Singh Rodrigo Augustine Thomas Romesh Eranga Galkandage Don Ruvindu T Gunasekera Saad Bin Zafar Srimantha Adrian Wijeyeratne Sukhdeep Singh Brar Varun Sehdev
Cricket Canada is the official governing body for the sport of cricket in Canada. It is a not-for-profit organization recognized by the International Cricket Council, the Government of Canada and the Canadian Olympic Committee.