Canada has advanced to the International Cricket Council (ICC) Twenty/20 qualifying play-offs.
The national side won five of its seven first round qualifying matches to finish third in the group behind defending champions Afghanistan and The Netherlands who both defeated the local team.
After succumbing to the Dutch by 42 runs in their first match, Canada rebounded to dispatch Papua New Guinea by six runs, Hong Kong by eight wickets with 36 balls remaining and Bermuda by 72 runs.
Middle-order batsman Nitesh Kumar scored 57 off 44 balls in the close victory over Papua New Guinea while leg-spinner Junaid Siddiqui took 3-17 off his four overs and Hiral Patel hit 40 off 40 balls in the convincing win over Hong Kong.
Left-handed opener Ruvindu Gunasekera was the Man-of-the Match in the win over Bermuda, striking two sixes and 10 boundaries in a blistering knock of 83 off 48 balls. Tyson Gordon chipped in with an unbeaten 39 and medium-pacer Rizwan Cheema claimed 3-16 off his four overs.
Canada stumbled against the strong Afghan side, losing by 41 runs. Kumar was the top scorer with 38 off 34 balls.
Gunasekera slammed 95 off 65 balls with six sixes and six boundaries and Patel scored 43 off 32 balls in a 55-run victory over Denmark while former captain Jimmy Hansra hit an unbeaten 29 and Siddiqui captured 3-13 off four overs in an 18-run win over Nepal in the final first round contest.
Canada scored 101-8 off 20 overs and restricted Nepal to 83 in 18.2 overs.
“It was a difficult surface to bat on,” Hansra said. “I thought 120 would have been a par score.”
Afghanistan and Namibia, which topped their respective groups, will feature in the first qualifying final at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium today with the winner sealing a place for the Sri Lanka tournament to be staged from September 18 to October 7.
Canada, the Dutch, Ireland and Scotland will play cross-over matches. The two winners will progress to the preliminary final to be played tomorrow at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. The second qualifying final – for the second spot in the ICC World Twenty/20 competition – will take place on Saturday at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium between the loser of the first qualifying final and the winner of the preliminary final.
The two qualifiers will then lock horns in the tournament finale and the side that wins the match will not only lift the trophy but will also join Australia and the West Indies in Group “B”. The losing team will complete Group “A” which also includes defending champion England and 2007 winner India.
Canada meets Ireland today and the winner will play either the Dutch or Scotland on Friday.
By RON FANFAIR