It will be Canada's fourth appearance at the ICC U-19 World Cup having previously participated in the event in 2002, 2004 and 2010, each time following a victory in the ICC Americas U-19 Division One Championship. Three of those ICC Americas U-19 titles have come on home soil, with the last one happening in 2009.
By Peter Della Penna in King City, Ontario (on Twitter)
DreamCricket.com's coverage on site from Canada at the 2013 ICC Americas U-19 Division One Tournament is sponsored by New Inning Foundation.
Bermuda U-19 battled gamely in an attempt to play spoiler for Canada U-19 and help USA U-19 sneak in through the back door to the 2014 ICC U-19 World Cup, but Armaan Kapoor’s late surge in the first innings pushed Canada U-19 into a winning position which they never surrendered on their way to a 91-run win over Bermuda U-19 at the 2013 ICC Americas U-19 Division One tournament in King City, Ontario. Kapoor was named Man of the Match after scoring 64 off 58 balls in Canada’s total of 245 for 6 to ensure that Canada finished the tournament undefeated while punching their ticket to the 2014 ICC U-19 World Cup in the UAE.
It will be Canada’s fourth appearance at the ICC U-19 World Cup having previously participated in the event in 2002, 2004 and 2010, each time following a victory in the ICC Americas U-19 Division One Championship. Three of those ICC Americas U-19 titles have come on home soil, with the last one happening in 2009.
Image (above) - Canada U-19 teammates Sudeepta Aurka (left) and Abrash Khan (number 11, right) get ready to high five during celebrations on the field following their win over Bermuda U-19 to clinch the 2013 ICC Americas U-19 Division One Tournament title and a spot at the 2014 ICC U-19 World Cup in the UAE. [Courtesy: Peter Della Penna/DreamCricket.com]
Bermuda won the toss and elected to field first as they tried to avoid going through the same first innings debacle that occurred against USA on Friday when they were bowled out for 55. The Bermuda bowling unit fought to keep Canada’s deep lineup in check throughout most of the day, only for their fielding to let them down on multiple occasions as four Canadian batsmen added 67 runs following missed chances.
Canada’s first wicket went down with the score on 13 in the third over when Sudeepta Aurka drove Kamau Leverock straight to William White at mid off for 10. Leverock induced another chance in the fifth over with the score on 21 and Nitish Kumar on 7 when the Canada U-19 captain smashed a full delivery straight to his opposite number Joshua Gilbert stationed at short cover but Gilbert could not hold on. Kumar added another 28 to his total before he tried to pull a good length delivery from medium pacer Kwaisi James and played over the top of the ball to be struck in front and was given out for 35 to make it 61 for 2 in the 13th.
Opener Stephan Joseph was joined by Nikhil Dutta with the pair adding 48 runs for the third wicket. However, both batsmen offered chances that could have ended the partnership earlier. Canada had reached 81 for 2 in 18 overs at the first drinks break and in the first over after play resumed, Joseph was on 23 when he drove James softly to Leverock at cover, who spilled a simple chance before pounding his fists into the turf. A short time later, Dutta was put down on 21 off seamer Onais Bascome when wicketkeeper Christian Burgess could not hold onto a thin edge while standing up to the stumps.
James kept plugging away from the northern end of the ground in what was easily Bermuda’s best bowling performance of the match and was duly rewarded when he claimed Joseph and Dutta on the final two balls of his 10-over spell. Joseph went first for 30, slogging a full delivery high to Jordan Smith at mid on. The batsmen crossed in the air and on the next delivery Dutta fell for 29 when he chased after a wide delivery and gave a thin edge that was held onto this time by Burgess standing up to the stumps to make it 109 for 4 in 29 overs as Bermuda erupted in the field.
Kapoor and Talha Shaikh arrived fresh at the crease and left-arm orthodox spinner Delray Rawlins was immediately brought on from one end in what turned out to be the turning point of the match. Rawlins had taken a five-wicket haul on Monday against USA, but the Canadian pair patiently negotiated his first five overs for 17 runs before Kapoor launched an assault on him in the 40th over, hitting him out of the attack by crashing a pair of fours and a six off the final three deliveries to take Canada to 160. Kapoor’s burst gave Canada a big momentum boost and resulted in them adding 100 off their final 11 overs.
Bermuda’s other frontline spinner was chased away by Kapoor in the 45th over when Gilbert was smashed for a pair of sixes as part of a 16-run over. Kapoor’s innings came to an end immediately afterward on the first ball of the 46th. Shaikh was on strike and drove a delivery from Leverock into Kapoor’s legs at the non-striker’s end. As he initially tried to set off for a run, Kapoor wound up kicking the ball toward Bascome at extra cover. When Bascome fielded, Kapoor gave himself up and an underhand toss connected with the stumps from point blank range.
Trevor Manoosingh entered and should have been run out without facing a ball after getting into a mixup with Shaikh, but a throw from point for the non-striker’s end missed. Canada wound up adding 24 for the sixth wicket before Shaikh was runout by Gilbert trying to steal a quick single to end the 48th with the score 222 for 6. Manoosingh got another reprieve on 10 when he was dropped on the second ball of the 49th over by Manders at long on, only to rub salt into the wound two balls later by smashing a six over cow corner. Abraash Khan finished the innings with a boundary to walk off 8 not out along with Manoosingh, who was unbeaten on 24 off just 13 balls. James finished with Bermuda’s best figures, taking 3 for 25 in 10 overs.
Bermuda got off to a cautious start in their chase, with only seven scoring shots played by Burgess and White in the first eight overs taking Bermuda to 16 for 0. Just as he did against USA on Thursday, Dutta caused plenty of problems for Bermuda with the ball. He came on in the 12th over and ran off four consecutive maidens. Along the way, he nabbed White for 16 with easily the worst ball of his spell, a rank half-tracker that the batsman could have slammed over the leg side but instead chose to play straight to and wound up punching it softly back to the bowler to make it 37 for 1.
The pitch got increasingly slower as the afternoon wore on, resulting in multiple caught and bowled chances as players struggled to keep their hands back and instead finished their shots too early. The next return catch was taken by Manoosingh in the 25th over, when Manders skipped down the track and couldn’t keep the ball down on a drive back down the pitch. Manoosingh reached low to his right and stabbed the ball one-handed with a marvelous reflex catch to dismiss Manders for 13 making it 66 for 2.
Despite having plenty of wickets in hand at the halfway stage of the chase, Bermuda was always well behind the required run rate. Their own run rate didn’t go above three per over until the 35th over of the chase, by which point they needed 140 in 15 overs.
Realistically the last chance Bermuda had of winning the game rested on the partnership of a well set Burgess and the big hitting Leverock. A ray of hope was produced by Leverock when he smashed the biggest six of the week off Manoosingh over long on in the 27th over to knock the legspinner out of the attack. Kumar brought Khan back for a second spell of medium pace which paid immediate dividends when a full delivery beat Leverock’s defense for 10 to make it 83 for 3. Rawlins lasted 17 balls coming in at five and produced just two scoring shots before he was bowled by the medium pace of Shaikh for 4 to make it 93 for 4 in the 33rd.
After earlier surviving a dropped caught and bowled chance by Manoosingh on 33, Burgess’ attritional innings came to a close when checked a tame drive back to Dutta for 44 leaving Bermuda at 97 for 5. Alex Dore was next to go for 2, flicking Kumar's off-spin to midwicket too early which resulted in a leading edge going to Shaikh running in from cover to make it 109 for 6.
Image (right) - Canada U-19 captain Nitish Kumar scored 35 and took 1 for 21 in 10 overs during his team's win over Bermuda U-19. He'll be leading his team to the 2014 ICC U-19 World Cup in the UAE. [Courtesy: Peter Della Penna/DreamCricket.com]
Bascome was the only Bermuda batsman who showed any sense of urgency, but by the time he arrived at the crease the match was firmly in Canada’s grasp. He played a couple of lovely straight drives for four before assaulting the left-arm spin of Malik for a pair of sixes back down the ground. Dutta came back for a third spell of off-spin and managed to remove him for 37, mistiming an attempted slog that skied over the pitch before Kumar came in from cover to claim it as Bermuda dropped to 142 for 7 in the 46th.
The last wicket to fall came in the 49th over as James was caught at cover by Manoosingh for 1 to give Khan his second wicket. Gilbert batted out the remaining 10 balls with Christian Gibbons. Gilbert ended 13 not out and Gibbons 2 not out. Dutta finished with 3 for 19 in 10 overs including six maidens in another tremendous performance to lead Canada with the ball.
After Gilbert tapped the final ball to cover for no run, Canada’s players charged the pitch grabbing out stumps from each end to wave them in celebration at having won the tournament and qualified for the U-19 World Cup in the UAE. Kumar is the only player in Canada’s squad who has previously played in an U-19 World Cup when he went to New Zealand in 2010. He also represented Canada’s senior team at the 2011 ICC World Cup.
USA officially finishes second in the tournament with a 1-1 record in three matches while Bermuda finishes third at 0-2. As a way of giving players from all teams additional match practice, USA will play an exhibition T20 against Canada on Sunday at 10:30 a.m. to be followed by another exhibition T20 between Canada and Bermuda at 2:30 p.m.