By RON FANFAIR
Promising youth cricketers Nitish Kumar and Nikhil Dhutta registered centuries in the first week of the International Cricket Council (ICC) Under-19 World Cup qualifier in Ireland.
The youngest player at this year’s senior World Cup, the 17-year-old right-handed opener Kumar hit 100 in Canada’s opening match against Scotland while Dhutta slammed an unbeaten 116 against Namibia last Monday to help the national side post a 2-2 record in the 10-team tournament.
Kumar’s 93-ball century, decorated with two sixes and 11 boundaries, propelled Canada to 212-3 off 35 overs in the rain-affected match. Led by medium-pacer Jobanjot Singh who took 4-39, the national juniors restricted the Scots to 206 in 34.4 overs to squeeze out a close six-run win.
Dhutta recorded a team-high 55 in Canada’s 15-run loss to Kenya in its second match while Kumar hit 61 off 48 balls with two sixes and seven boundaries in an easy nine -wicket victory over Vanuatu.
Despite Dhutta’s century off 137 balls, Canada plunged to a three-wicket loss to Namibia in its fourth match.
Final scores were Canada 236-8 off 50 overs; Namibia 241-7 off 48.5 overs.
Canada is in fifth place behind Nepal, Namibia, Scotland and Ireland who have 3-1 records. The top six teams join the ICC’s 10 Full Members in the junior World Cup in Australia next year.
After meeting Nepal yesterday, the national side plays the Irish on Friday, Papua New Guinea on Saturday, the United States on Sunday and Afghanistan next Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Trinidad & Tobago has pulled out of a triangular limited-overs tournament involving host country Canada and Afghanistan due to financial constraints.
The twin-island republic side is preparing for the Champions league Twenty/20 qualifier in India next month.