By RON FANFAIR
Canada defeated Scotland for the first time ever in five One-Day internationals and has secured a place in the Super Eights at the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup qualifier in South Africa today.
The win, however, came at a huge price after dynamic all-rounder, John Davison, tore a calf muscle in his right leg while batting in his team’s comprehensive 148-run victory over the Scots. The injury occurred when Davison was attempting a sharp single.
Manager Mike Henry told Share Online that the former Canadian captain is expected to miss at least the first three games in the Super Eight series that start on Saturday.
“J.D. went to the hospital for a scan that revealed the tear and he came back to the ground on crutches,” Henry said. “He will see a sports injury specialist tomorrow and then we will take it from there. This is a major blow for us since J.D. has been giving us good starts at the top of the order by knocking the ball around in the early overs. Other players will have to pick up the slack while he’s out.”
Davison, 39, is one of three Canadians to have scored centuries so far in the tournament to decide the four teams that will qualify for the 2011 World Cup to be jointly hosted by India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
Left-handed all-rounder, Sunil Dhaniram, slammed an unbeaten 100 off 91 balls in the 103-run victory over Oman while Australian-based, left-handed opener, Geoff Barnett, hit 102 not out off 123 balls in the five-wicket victory over Uganda.
Henry said he’s extremely pleased with the way in which Canada bounced back from its only loss in the tournament to Ireland by six wickets.
“The boys did not play well in that contest, but they quickly put that loss behind them and came back with a sterling all-round performance against the Scots,” he said. “J.D. and Geoff (Barnett) provided us with a strong start and then Ashish (Bagai) and Sunil built on that to give us a very respectable total and one that eventually proved too much for our opponents.”
Davison (32) and Barnett (21) put on 59 in 11.2 overs before skipper Bagai with 87 off 122 balls and Dhaniram who scored 41 off 47 balls provided their team with the spark in the middle and late overs to boost Canada to a challenging score of 252-7 off 50 overs.
Left-handed medium pacer, Umar Bhatti, who missed the first two games against Oman and Uganda because of a hamstring injury he suffered in the warm-up game against Zimbabwe, was Canada’s most efficient and productive bowler with 3-31 off eight overs. He picked up 3-28 off 10 overs in the previous match against the Irish.
“Umar is bowling really well and he doesn’t seem to have any lingering effects from the injury,” Henry said. “He and the other players are competing at a very high level right now and I hope this continues as we move into the next round. The guys understand what’s at stake and they are determined to accomplish the mission. I am very proud of what they have done so far.”
Canada begins play in the Super Eight on Saturday in Benoni against Kenya which, along with The Netherlands and the United Arab Emirates, all start the series with four points – behind Ireland, which has six points. The national side has not fared well against the East Africans, winning just one of their eight ODI meetings in the past six years. That victory was achieved in January 2007 in the Associate Tri-series in Mombasa when Canada prevailed by 69 runs.
“We know what our record is like against them, but we will give them everything we have when we take the field,” Henry said. “We will give them a good fight.”
The Canadians will then meet Afghanistan on April 13 in Pretoria; the Dutch on April 15 and the United Arab Emirates two days later in Johannesburg.
The top four teams in the Super Eight series will advance to the World Cup while the top six will receive full ODI status until 2013.
Canada is aiming for its fourth World Cup appearance, having qualified for the 1979, 2003 and 2007 tournaments.
Cricket Canada president, Ben Sennik, is confident that Canada can again advance to the World Cup.
“This was the goal and we are on course,” he said. “What the guys have done so far is simply amazing and I am so happy.”