By RON FANFAIR
Hard-hitting batsman Rizwan Cheema was struck in the face by a rising ball in the day’s second over and his opening partner John Davison was dismissed without scoring five balls into the contest as Canada sank to a six-wicket loss to The Netherlands on the opening day of the International Cricket Council (ICC) Twenty/20 World Cup qualifier in Dubai.
Ian Billcliff and Geoff Barnett hit 37 and 36 respectively to boost Canada’s total to 142-7 in 20 overs, a total that proved insufficient for the Dutch who reached the target with five balls to spare.
Canada met Kenya yesterday before taking on the United Arab Emirates later today.
The United States, led by a brilliant 97-run second wicket partnership fashioned by Jamaican-born Carl Wright who scored 62 off 57 balls and former Guyana all-rounder Lennox Cush who hit 41 off 39 balls, propelled the Americans to a comfortable six-wicket win over Scotland.
The Scots registered 120-7 off 20 overs and the Americans replied with 121-4 in 19.1 overs.
Other opening day winners were the United Arab Emirates which beat Kenya by 15 runs and Afghanistan which scored a 13-run win over Ireland.
The top two teams in the eight-team tournament will qualify for the Twenty/20 World Cup in the West Indies from April 30 to May 16.
Meanwhile, middle-order batsman Abdool Samad was forced to return home last weekend with a shoulder injury he suffered in Sri Lanka where the team was preparing for the tournament.
It’s the latest setback for the Cavaliers captain who has suffered a plethora of injuries in the past two years. He was forced to miss Canada’s tour of Scotland and the Netherlands last summer after tearing a rotator cuff muscle while bowling for his club against Brampton Masters in a Toronto & District Cricket Association (TDCA) Elite contest last June.
A damaged leg kept him out of the national side for almost three years; he broke his right thumb twice in the past two years and he suffered a hairline fracture of his little finger on the same hand in January 2009
Samad also missed last year’s World Cup qualifier in South Africa to be close to his wife who is afflicted with Crohn’s disease.