By RON FANFAIR
Canada dropped a two-match 50-overs series to Sri Lanka “A” in preparation for a four-nation Twenty/20 tournament next week and the upcoming International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup qualifier in the United Arab Emirates.
Middle-order batsman Trevin Bastiampillai scored 33 off 78 balls and Umar Bhatti hit 34 as Canada crawled to 175-9 in its 50 overs. Sri Lanka “A”, which included several Test players including Tharanga Paranavitana and Farveez Maharoof, reached the target in the 33rd over for the loss of just four wickets.
The national side lost the second contest by 45 runs despite a century seventh-wicket partnership between Bhatti and skipper Ashish Bagai. They put on 126 in 26.4 overs to pull their side from 99-6 in the 20th over to a respectable 245-8 in their allotted 50 overs.
Bagai scored 75 off 92 balls with seven boundaries while the left-handed Bhatti compiled 51 off 78 balls.
Earlier, Sri Lanka “A” posted a challenging 290-9 in 50 overs. Medium-pacers Khurram Chohan and Bhatti each picked up three wickets.
The four-nation Twenty/20 series starts on January 31 with Canada opposing host country Sri Lanka “A”. The national side will meet Ireland on February 2 and Afghanistan the following day.
Cricket Canada is providing a live webcast of the matches that start at 11.30 p.m.
The matches will be streamed live via the internet at www.gocricketcanada.com. The three-day package cost $29.95 while each game is sold at $14.95.
“This is an important development towards the growth of cricket in Canada and a bold step forward in improving access of our matches to our fans, not only in Canada but around the world,” said Cricket Canada president Ranjit Saini.
Canada will head to the United Arab Emirates next week for the Twenty/20 World Cup qualifier from February 9-13. The top two sides in the eight-team tournament will advance to the 2010 Twenty/20 World Cup finals in the Caribbean.