Akash Gill secured Man of the Match honors for Canada U19 after his opening spell of 4 for 17 ripped through Bermuda to set up an eight-wicket win
By Peter Della Penna in Toronto
In one of the most lopsided matches in the history of the ICC Americas U19 World Cup Qualifier, Bermuda lasted a little more than half the overs of their innings, bowled out for 44 on a helpful bowling pitch before Canada chased the target in four overs to secure an eight-wicket win on Saturday. The match ended in less than two and a half hours and the speed of Canada’s victory reduced their net run rate deficit with USA by nearly a full point, down to +0.359 heading into Sunday’s final match of the tournament against the North American neighbors at Toronto Cricket Skating & Curling Club.
Bermuda raised a few eyebrows when captain Nzari Paynter curiously chose to bat first at the toss despite overcast skies and moisture in a wicket that was being used for the fourth time in a week, including for the same match on Tuesday in which USA had bowled out Canada for 63 on a similarly sticky morning wicket. Canada’s seamers exploited sharp uneven bounce to wipe out the top order for Bermuda before the spinners ran through the tail.
Man of the Match Akash Gill was the chief destroyer for Canada, claiming 4 for 17 in eight overs with four maidens. A taste of the ensuing carnage came from Gill’s first wicket when a sharp rising ball off a good length took Marcus Scotland’s gloves through to the keeper Krishen Samuel to make it 11 for 1 in the sixth over and things only spiraled from there. With the previous dismissal playing on the minds of the batsmen, Faisal Jamkhandi slipped in a slower ball on a good length to Paynter in the seventh but a hesitant prod went tamely to backward point to make it 14 for 2.
Gill then produced the ball of the match, getting one to seam back from well outside off to beat Amori Simons through the gate in the 10th over. At the other end, Bhavindu Adhihetty brought himself on in place of Jamkhandi and began bowling a series of offcutters that gripped in to moist pitch and produced sharp and virtually unplayable movement. Adhihetty and Gill teamed to bowl 28 consecutive dots at one point, concluding with the wicket of Ras Solomon Burrows who scooped a low full toss to mid-on for his third consecutive duck after having began the tournament with a half-century on day one against USA, Bermuda’s best score of the event.
Meanwhile Gill continued to trouble Bermuda by banging the ball in on a good to short length with several balls flying past the helmet. Alje Richardson got a brutal delivery to climb off a good length angled toward the helmet and put up his hands in self-defense, sending a gloved catch to slip to make it 18 for 5 in the 14th over at which stage Gill had figures of 4 for 8 in seven overs. His figures were mildly spoiled in his final over when he fired five wides down the leg side and was driven over mid-on for a boundary by Rudi Butterfield.
Bermuda’s best partnership was the 14 runs added by Dalin Richardson and Butterfield, the other runs coming from a four by Richardson and a single by Butterfield before Richardson was given lbw in the 20th after missing a full toss from left-arm spinner Aran Pathmanathan, who replaced Gill and helped wipe out the tail with three wickets. Offspinner Rommel Shahzad struck in the following over as Butterfield was caught off a brilliant leaping effort at mid-off by Kavian Naress to make it 34 for 7.
Jaiden Manders and Jarryd Richardson batted five overs together before Richardson’s wicket was the first of three in 11 balls to finish the innings. Jarryd’s attempted swipe to midwicket resulted in an edge to slip before Arslan Khan had Nirobi Smith-Mills prodding a catch to Tiaan Pretorius at silly point off in the 27th. Pretorius took another sensational catch at forward short leg in the next over to dismiss Manders for Pathmanathan’s third wicket as Bermuda were all out in 27.3 overs.
Adhihetty then signaled Canada’s intentions to go full speed at the target to improve their net run rate when he pulled the first ball of the chase for four off left-arm seamer Tybrae’ Robinson. An overstep and a three on the second ball resulted in a free hit clubbed for four by Kunwarpal Chana as Canada had 12 runs off two legal deliveries and another no ball off the next delivery compounded Bermuda’s woeful day in what was a 16-run opening over.
Smith-Mills briefly saved face for Bermuda at the other end, striking on his first two balls to claim Chana and Emanuel Khokhar off skied slogs to square leg and mid-on respectively to make it 16 for 2 but Adhihetty and Khan cruised through the next few overs. They were 32 for 2 after three after another 10-run over from Robinson that included his third no ball before 13 was taken off Smith-Mills in the fourth to finish the match, with a bye beating Scotland behind the stumps for the winning run.
Bermuda ends the tournament 0-4 while Canada moved to 2-1 with the win. The hosts will need to beat 3-0 USA on Sunday and by a big enough margin to overtake them on the net run rate tiebreaker in order to qualify for next year's U19 World Cup in New Zealand. A win for USA would automatically clinch a World Cup berth while they can still qualify with a loss if Canada's margin is not big enough to surpass them on net run rate.