By Tony McWatt – Publisher
The forthcoming 2022 New Year now promises to be a very exciting time
for Canada’s Men’s cricketers, at both the junior and senior levels. For the
Juniors there will be on the immediate horizon Canada’s participation in the
2022 Caribbean hosted U19 World Cup. The Canadian National Senior team
having emerged, along with the USA, as one of the two Americas Region Qualifiers for
the next phase of the ICC 2023 World Cup will also be similarly busy.
The Canadian Senior Men’s team’s performances at the recently concluded Americas
Qualifier, which was held in Antigua from November 7 – 15, was sufficiently outstanding
as to now instill hopes of actual World Cup qualification! If not for 2023 then perhaps for
the 2024 tournament, which the ICC recently announced will be jointly hosted by Cricket
West Indies and the USA!
Canada ended the Antigua hosted Americas Qualifier with an outstanding record of 5
wins and just 1 loss from its 6 matches played. For all intents and purposes it would have
been a perfect 6-0 record, were it not for the anomaly of Canada’s Super Over loss to
the USA in a match, which up until the very last ball of the allocated 40 overs they had
virtually won, The actual chronology of that rather bizarre loss would be too lengthy for
inclusion in this limited space. The video evidence of how the last over actually played out
is, however, readily available on YouTube!
Canadian players dominated the tournament’s
final averages. Canada’s wicket-keeper
batsman Hamsa Tariq was adjudged the
tournament’s Most Valuable Player for his
outstanding performances. Both in front of the
stumps with bat in hand, as well as behind with
Tariq was undefeated in his five innings at
bat, scored the most half-centuries (3) and
recorded the tournament’s highest strike rate,
an incredible 207.29, as well. As a keeper he
was also had four dismissals, two catches and
as many stumpings, to finish joint third on the
final tournament standings.
Canada’s opening batting pair of Rayyan
Pathan and skipper Navi Dhaliwal were also at
the very top of the tournament’s final batting
averages. Pathan’s 312 runs aggregate was the
tournament’s highest, while Dhaliwal’s 251
wasn’t that far behind.
The tournament’s listing of its highest
wicket-takers also featured two Canadians
within the top four. Debutant Salman
Nazar fashioned a dream start to his T20
Internationals career by capturing 10 wickets
with his left-arm orthodox spin. Nazar’s
wickets were taken at an average of 7.40
and a 4.93 economy rate from just 15 overs
bowled. His 10 wickets tally was only one less
than that of the chart-topping Argentinean
Henan Fennell whose 11 victims were taken
from 18.5 overs at a 12.63 average and 7.38
Canada’s Dilon Heyliger was fourth on the
list of the tournament’s top wicket-takers.
Heyliger’s 9 wickets were taken at an
average of 9.77 and with a 4.98 economy
rate for his 17.4 overs bowled.
Yet another Canadian, the “veteran” legspinner
Saad Bin Zafar, created T20I world
record history by becoming the first
bowler to ever complete his allocated
four overs with as many maidens. Safar
returned the incredible figures of 2/0-4
in Canada’s match against Panama, their
last of the tournament.
Next up for the Canadian National
Men’s Senior team, in its quest for
participation at the Australia hosted
2022 T20 World Cup, will be its
involvement in the Group A Global
Qualifier, scheduled to be held in Oman
this coming February. The top two
teams from the Group A Qualifier, as
well as the same number from Group
B will progress to the World Cup in
Interesting times ahead indeed!