Two Down. Three To Go!

Canada’s Senior Men’s cricketers have made the perfect start to their Namibia-hosted ICC
CWC Qualifier Playoff campaign. The Canadians registered fairly comfortable victories in both
of their opening matches, to be unbeaten at the head of the
tournament’s points table after its first two rounds.

In their Monday, March 27 campaign opening match, the
Canadians batting first recovered from a precarious start of
losing five wickets with only 114 runs on the scoreboard. Thanks
largely to wicket-keeper batsman Srimantha Wijeyeratne’s
poised 63 and Man-of-the Match Nikhil Dutta’s important 56,
however, they recovered sufficiently to post 238/8 at the end
of their 50 overs.

That total proved itself to be a mountain too steep for Jersey’s
batsmen to conquer. They were eventually dismissed for 207
to give the Canadians a most welcome 32run victory. For the
Canadians Nikhil Dutta followed up on his batting heroics by
taking 2/30-9 in overs, while Jeremy Gordon 3/30-8.5 and
skipper Saad Bin Zafar 3/51-10 were the other two main

Canada’s March 29 second match against arch-rivals, across-the border-
neighbours the USA, was almost an encore of its first,
albeit a lot closer and somewhat more nerve-wracking! Batting
first, Canada again lost early wickets much the same as they had
done against Jersey, but with much less runs on the board.

Only 95 had been scored by the time the fifth Canadian wicket
had fallen and again a mid-innings recovery was required for
a half-decent total to be eventually posted. Aaron Johnson 47, Harsh Thaker
43 and Nicholas Kirton 35 were the batting heroes, as the Canadian eventually
reached to 198/10 off their 50 overs.

Chasing 199 for victory at a measly required run rate of under four runs per
over, The USA’s batsmen would have fancied their chances of scoring a chestthumping
victory over their North American neighbours. That, however, proved
to be much easier said than done as the Canadians bowled magnificently to
dismiss USA for 1772 in 47.3 overs. In the process very proudly claiming all the
chest-thumping bragging rights for themselves.

Canada’s skipper Saad Bin Zafar led from the front, crafting a ten over spell that
yielded just 43 runs while capturing three key wickets that put a major spanner
in the USA’s victory chase. Zafar was superbly supported by Kaleem Sana 3/14-
9, as well as Harsh Thaker 2/30-10. Those figures combined with his earlier
outstanding batting deservedly earned Thaker the Man-the Match award.

Canada’s remaining three tournament matches will be on April 1 versus UAE,
on the 4th against hosts Namibia before finally clashing with PNG the following
day April 6. They will now only be required to win two of those three matches
to have a numerically strong chance of finishing the tournament as one of the
two top-placed teams. The reward for this would be progression to the 2023
50Over World Cup’s final Qualifier in Zimbabwe this coming June/July.

Much to still play for, therefore, for the Canadians. If they can avoid the now
seemingly customary loss of early wickets when batting and continue to bowl
as well as they have so far, their Zimbabwe Qualifier progression should be
relatively easily accomplished.

Here’s wishing them every success.

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