By RON FANFAIR
It’s fitting that Ashish Bagai and John Davison were at the crease when Canada defeated Kenya by five wickets with 27 balls to spare in Delhi to post just its second World Cup win in 15 matches.
Both players made their One-Day International (ODI) debuts eight years ago in Canada’s first World Cup win against Bangladesh in South Africa. Key performers for Canada over the years, they were struggling with the bat prior to last Monday’s victory, Canada’s fifth ODI win over Kenya in 14 contests.
The oldest player in the World Cup at age 40, Davison failed to score in his previous two innings. Bagai, on the other hand, was averaging 10.5 in 12 World Cup matches with a topscore of 37 before his match-winning innings of 64 not out off 97 balls.
Together with all-rounder Jimmy Hansra who registered a game-high 70 off 90 balls with two sixes and seven boundaries, the pair posted an impressive fourth-wicket partnership of 132 off 31.5 overs to break an 11-match winless World Cup streak.
The win was Canada’s 17th in 65 ODIs.
Canada’s bowlers again performed admirably, holding Kenya to 198 in their 50 overs. Ugandan-born medium-pacer Henry Osinde was the most productive bowler with 4-26 off 10 overs while Harvir Baidwan and leg-spinner Balaji Rao each picked up two wickets for 41 and 30 runs respectively.
Following another poor start in which Canada lost its first three wickets for 48 runs in 11 overs, Bagai – playing in the city where he was born and raised before coming to Canada – and Hansra batted sensibly to ensure that the national side comes away from its fourth World Cup with at least a victory.
Canada plays New Zealand in Mumbai on Sunday before its final match against defending champions Australia in Bangalore on March 16.