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By Peter Della Penna (on Twitter)
A solid opening burst by Canada’s Manny Aulakh neutralized any advantage USA might have had after bowling out Canada for 196 as USA finished play on 38 for 3 when bad light ended play early on day one of the two-day 2012 Auty Cup match at the Central Broward Regional Park in Lauderhill, Florida. Raza-ur-Rehman finished as the day’s batting star, grafting out a top score of 88 off 197 balls on a bowler friendly wicket.
Canada won the toss and elected to bat first with play starting an hour late due to morning rain and a wet outfield. Naseer Jamali bowled a very impressive opening spell of left arm medium pace, nabbing the first three wickets on the day. After having Ruvindu Gunasekera caught off a no ball in the third over, Jamali got him to flash outside off to a legal delivery in the fifth and had him caught behind by USA captain and wicketkeeper Steven Taylor for a duck to make it 12 for 1.
Image (right) - Naseer Jamali file photo from 2010 ICC U-19 World Cup against India U-19. Jamali had USA's best figures on day one of the 2012 Auty Cup, finishing with 3 for 27. [Courtesy: USACA/Daniela Zaharia]
Fellow opener Hiral Patel was the next to go for 24, prodding defensively at a wide delivery to give Taylor a second catch making it 30 for 2 in the seventh. Jamali struck again on the first ball of the 11th as Ryan Corns caught Srimantha Wijeyratne at backward point for 7 to make it 39 for 3. Jamali finished his opening spell with figures of 3 for 21 off seven overs and ended the day with 3 for 27 in 10.
Adil Bhatti claimed the fourth wicket for USA when Usman Limbada offered a limp drive and feathered a third catch behind the stumps to Taylor for 3 to make it 57 for 4 in the 17th. Left-arm spinner Danial Ahmed kept things very tight at one end, bowling a seven-over spell before lunch for just nine runs, but Jimmy Hansra and Rehman went after leg-spinner Timil Patel and Canada managed to stabilize through their partnership to be 92 for 4 in 29 overs at lunch with Hansra on 16 and Rehman on 39.
Patel appeared to be a different bowler after the lunch break and was the man who broke the partnership between Hansra and Rehman. Hansra tried to flick him to midwicket and missed before being given LBW for 21 to make it 97 for 5 in the 31st. The wicket seemed to lift Patel’s confidence as he bowled marvelously from then on, producing a string of solid LBW shouts as well as beating the outside edge on a regular basis.
Corns replaced Ahmed for more left-arm spin and struck in the 38th over when he had Dasrath Damodar given LBW for 13 after missing a sweep shot to make it 122 for 6. Rizwan Cheema entered and tried to hack Canada out of trouble but he couldn’t clear Timothy Surujbally trying to go straight down the ground for a boundary and was caught for 10 off the bowling of Patel to make it 139 for 7. Patel claimed his second LBW decision two overs later, trapping Hamza Tariq for a duck to make it 139 for 8.
USA could not finish off Canada easily though and it was Rehman and Junaid Siddiqui who produced Canada’s best partnership of the day with 52 runs for the ninth wicket in the span of 20 overs. The pair grinded out runs off of Patel and Ahmed and took Canada to tea at 182 for 8 in 66 overs.
After play resumed, Ahmed was finally rewarded for his hard toil throughout the day with his first wicket in a USA uniform. While he didn’t bowl as many wicket-taking balls as Patel, Ahmed rarely bowled anything loose and continued to exert pressure until it finally paid off, pinning Siddiqui LBW for 22 to make it 191 for 9 in the 69th over. The innings wrapped up four balls into the 71st when Rehman drove Ahmed flat and hard to Karan Ganesh at mid off.
Ahmed finished with 2 for 39 off 19.4 overs including six maidens while Patel rebounded after a rocky first few overs to finish with 3 for 57 in 19 overs with three maidens. Corns finished with 1 for 9 in six overs with two maidens while Bhatti had 1 for 20 in five. Ganesh, Japen Patel and Andy Mohammed all went wicketless in brief spells with the ball.
USA opened their reply with Taylor and William Perkins. Neither man lasted very long though as Canada’s opening bowlers kept tight lines to prevent scoring and claim wickets. Cheema claimed Perkins in the sixth over for 15 after the batsman edged an attempted drive off a full delivery to Hansra at head height at second slip. Taylor went two runs later for 4 to make it 19 for 2 in the seventh, caught at backward point by Limbada off the bowling of Aulakh. Andy Mohammed was caught off the last ball of the ninth, driving very loosely at Aulakh to be caught at third slip by Damodar for a duck as USA fell to 23 for 3.
Surujbally and Ganesh lasted 5.1 overs together before bad light ended play with USA 38 for 3 in 14.1 overs in reply. Surujbally finished play on 15 with Ganesh on 3. Aulakh walked off with figures of 2 for 15 from six overs including two maidens while Cheema had 1 for 13 off five overs including one maiden.
Play is expected to resume at 9:30 a.m. EST from the Central Broward Regional Park with a live video stream of the match made possible by Cricket Canada in partnership with CBC Sports in Canada. The stream can be viewed off www.cbcsports.ca.