Photo credit: Peter Della Penna
Canada clinched their sixth straight trip to the ICC Under-19 World Cup after dismantling USA's batting order with a tremendous display of new ball bowling to set up a five-wicket win at Maple Leaf CC.
By Peter Della Penna in King City (Twitter @PeterDellaPenna)
Canada U19’s left-right pace bowling tandem of Rishiv Joshi and Akhil Kumar was too much for USA U19 to handle as the pair rocked the Americans in their respective opening spells, sparking a collapse from 38 for 1 to 42 for 5 before USA was eventually bowled out for 112 as the tournament hosts cruised to a five-wicket win at Maple Leaf Cricket Club in King City, Ontario. The win for Canada clinched their sixth straight appearance in the ICC Under-19 World Cup, taking the region’s only berth at next year’s tournament in South Africa.
USA got off to a solid start after winning the toss and choosing to bat first. Sai Mukkamalla and Sanjay Stanley did an excellent job rebuilding after the early loss of Vatsal Vaghela for 2, yorked by Kumar in the fourth over to make it 13 for 1. Stanley struck Joshi for a pair of boundaries in the seventh to get USA back on track but Canada took momentum back behind Joshi in the eighth as the eventual Man of the Match triggered a dramatic slide with the wicket of Mukkamalla, who cut straight to Ben Calitz at point for 14.
Joshi then claimed the big wicket of Stanley in the ninth, getting him to edge a short of a length delivery to wicketkeeper Eshan Sensarma for 12. Kumar struck again in the 10th as Majjid Zubair chased a short ball that climbed on him and offered another edge behind for a golden duck. Joshi rounded out the collapse inducing a flick by Rahul Jariwala to Gurjot Gosal at midwicket in the 11th for 2.
From then on, Canada rarely had more than two fielders outside of the circle as captain Ashtan Deosammy heaped pressure on USA with aggressive field settings. USA U19 captain Joshua Kind fought valiantly to try to rebuild the innings, pulling out the sweep shot to great effect against Gosal’s offspin. But Kind struggled to find a willing ally as batsmen continued to fall at the other end.
Ali Sheikh was given lbw to Muhammad Kamal’s medium pace for 8 in the 18th to make it 70 for 6. Aman Patel lasted less than two overs at the crease before he tried to hit over vacant mid-on only to produce a skier taken by Kumar running across from mid-off. Abhiram Vallisammagari was then teased into driving a return catch to Gosal to make it 101 for 8 in the 28th.
Kind used his feet to drive Raqib Shamsudeen for six over mid-on but with the fielder pushed back to long-on, tried to repeat the shot and was caught comfortably inside the rope by Kamal to give Raqib a tournament leading 11th scalp as USA’s captain fell for 45. Raqib then bowled Raj Vyas in his next over to end the USA innings in 32.4 overs.
Kumar ended with 3 for 26 in seven while Joshi’s seven-over spell was just as damaging to end with 2 for 32. Raqib took 2 for 24 in 9.4 overs while Kamal ended with 2 for 21 and Gosal 1 for 7.
Vallisammagari provided hope for USA when he struck in the second over, inducing an edge to second slip to claim Sensarma for a duck just two days after he had struck 105 against Cayman Islands. The Texas fast bowler claimed his second in the fourth when he yorked Randhir Sandhu for 21. Raj Vyas took his team-leading 11th wicket on the week when he bowled Ben Calitz for a duck after the left-handed offered no shot to an inswinger, making it 26 for 3.
Deosammy then blunted the rest of both opening bowlers’ new ball spells to take Canada into lunch at 33 for 3 in nine overs. But after clubbing Sheikh’s left-arm spin for six in the 11th, he fell in the next over when a ball from legspinner Shashank Vittaladevaram kept low to trap him lbw for 17.
But Canada was hardly threatened from then on. Kumar played a cool knock to top score with 26 before falling leg before to Vaghela’s left-arm spin when Canada needed just 15 for victory. Two boundaries from Udaybir Walia ended the 22nd over from Vaghela to take Canada one shot away from victory before Ayush Verma drove a six over extra cover to spark a victory charge onto the field from the Canada tent.
Vallisammagari ended with USA’s best figures on the day claiming 2 for 31 in five overs. Vyas ended with 1 for 18 in 5.1 overs while Vittaladevaram took 1 for 20 in five and Vaghela 1 for 10 in one.
Canada joins fellow qualifiers UAE, Japan and Nigeria in next year’s U19 World Cup field along with 11 of the 12 Test nations. Ireland has been included in World Cup Qualifying out of Europe in the last regional qualifier which gets underway later this month in the Netherlands.