There were no trophies handed out at the end of the week, but if there were then Canada's Nikhil Dutta would have been the Tournament MVP hands down.
By Peter Della Penna (on Twitter)
1. Steven Taylor, USA (vice-captain, wicketkeeper, pictured right) – The physically imposing left-hander turned in the highest score of the week with 102 off 117 balls against Canada on the final day of the event. He would be disappointed to come away with only one century after setting a goal to get four, but he still managed to lead all batsmen with 159 runs in live matches at an average of 39.75. Behind the stumps he completed six dismissals, including five stumpings. It’s also worth noting he took two wickets and had an economy rate of 2.14 in 14 overs bowling seam in two games.
2. Christian Burgess, Bermuda – Burgess only got two opportunities to bat, but wound up being the only opener besides Taylor to reach 50 in an innings as he laid a solid platform for his side on the first day against Canada which they were unable to capitalize on.
3. Nikhil Dutta, Canada (pictured left) – There were no trophies handed out at the end of the week, but if there were then Dutta would have been the Tournament MVP hands down. His only failure was on the first day against Bermuda when Delray Rawlins pulled off the catch of the tournament at point to dismiss him for 5. After that, Dutta turned in scores of 35 not out, 43 not out and 71 to finish with 154 runs, just five fewer than Taylor, but at a tournament best average of 77.00. He was also the leading wicket-taker on the week. His tidy off-spin was responsible for eight wickets at an average of 11.00 and a 3.54 economy.
4. Tre Manders, Bermuda – The wiry Manders might have caught some people off guard with his strength as he had no issues attempting to clear the ropes in his knock of 88 against the USA, which was the second highest score of the week. His 92 runs overall were third behind Dutta and Taylor at an event where the batting depth was thin.
5. Gurkaran Dhillon, Canada – His 63 not out in a two-wicket win over Bermuda on the first day was the difference between Canada finishing in first place instead of third. His 79 runs were good for fourth overall on the week and they came at an average of 39.50.
6. Sudeepta Aurka , Canada (captain) – Canada’s captain was third on his team and fifth overall in the event with 75 runs in four games. Just as importantly, he was an economical bowling option. Despite only taking one wicket, he had a 2.96 economy rate in 24 overs of off-spin.
7. Joshua Gilbert, Bermuda (pictured right) – Gilbert has already represented the Bermuda senior side and that experience paid dividends in a few situations. He came into the first match against Canada with his side in trouble at 72 for 3 in 14 overs and stuck his head down to bat through to the end with 47 not out. On the bowling side, he had a match-winning performance of 4 for 17 in nine overs against the USA. Gilbert’s 2.84 runs per over was tops for Bermuda.
8. Delray Rawlins, Bermuda – The 14-year-old is the youngest member on the All-Tournament Team. His left-arm spin provides an added dimension to the unit. He took four wickets on the week at an average of 17.25. Rawlins also pulled off the catch of the tournament on the first day to dismiss Canada’s Nikhil Dutta with a leaping salmon one-handed effort at point.
9. Zahib Tariq, USA – The New Yorker might have disappointed with the bat but certainly not with the ball. Tariq was the most economical spin bowler in Florida, conceding just 2.70 runs per over in a tournament high 30 overs while taking five wickets, tied for fourth, at an average of 16.20.
10. Kwaisi James, Bermuda – At first glance, James bowled innocuous slow medium seamers. Yet, he was one of the most difficult bowlers to score off of and finished tied for second overall with six wickets, most of any seamer. James bowled the most maidens on the week with six and had Bermuda’s best average, taking a wicket for every 13 runs he conceded. His economy rate of 3.02 was the third best of any seamer behind Steven Taylor and Vibhav Altekar of the USA.
11. Ryan Persaud, USA – Persaud was perhaps the most eye-catching bowler on display during the week. Persaud had the magic touch at the U-15 level and has managed to carry it with him as he progresses through age-level cricket. For a leg-spinner, he rarely bowled a bad ball and while many other spinners just darted deliveries in flat, Persaud never shied away from giving the ball some flight while getting prodigious turn. He finished the week tied for second with six wickets at 15.33 with a 3.41 economy rate. Aside from Steven Taylor, he is USA’s best junior cricket prospect heading into next year’s U-19 World Cup Qualifier for the Americas Region.
[Views expressed in the article are those of the author, who was present at every match during the tournament. All images courtesy of Peter Della Penna.]