The national cricket side is back home after a successful tour of the United States last week.
The Canadians retained the Karl Auty Memorial Cup – symbol of supremacy between the North American neighbours – and emerged victorious in a 50-overs match by four wickets. The teams also split two Twenty/20 encounters.
Zimbabwe-born middle-order batsman Raza-ur-Rehman played a key role for the Canadians in the two-day Auty Cup draw. He was the game’s leading scorer with 142 runs off 314 balls.
The right-handed batsman scored 88 with eight boundaries in Canada’s first innings total of 196 off 70.4 overs. Leg-spinner Junaid Siddiqi took 3-34 off 13 overs in the USA’s reply of 114-6 off 46.5 overs and Canada – batting a second time with a healthy lead of 82 – reached 159-8 off 51.5 overs when the game ended. Rehman was unbeaten with 54.
In the One-Day 50-overs contest, Rehman demonstrated his all-round prowess, claiming 5-27 off 10 overs in the Americans’ total of 194-9 off 49.3 overs. Usman Limbada and opener Ruvindu Gunasekera hit 64 and 40, respectively, to help Canada reach its target for the loss of six wickets with 19 balls to spare.
Rehman played a prominent role in Toronto Cricket Club winning its division in the Toronto & District Cricket Association (TDCA) Elite League this year. He amassed 356 runs in 15 matches at an average of 39.56 with a century – 129 not out – against Overseas last August.
Bowling left-arm spin, he picked up 21 wickets (av. 14.81).
In the first Twenty/20 game, openers Hiral Patel and skipper Rizwan Cheema both scored 54 in an opening stand of 86 as Canada posted 148-9 in their allotment of overs. Rehman and medium-pacers Cheema and Jeremy Gordon each took two wickets to restrict the Americans to 112.
The USA bounced back in Game Two with an easy 46-run victory.
“That was the last game of the tour and we re-arranged the batting order and also tried to get everyone a game,” said Cheema.
The matches were played over four days at Central Broward Regional Park in Florida.
While pleased with the overall result, Cricket Canada’s Domestic Development manager, Ingleton Liburd, said the batting is cause for concern.
“We are still lacking in runs, especially from the top of the order,” he said.
The national squad will take part in fitness and indoor sessions in the next few months as they prepare for their next engagement in Kenya, starting in late March.
Coach Gus Logie, who was in Florida with the team, is expected to join the squad in early January. He returned to Trinidad & Tobago to be with his family for the holiday season.
Cheema said the players have bought in to Logie’s coaching style.
“He’s obviously an experienced coach who has played the game at the highest level and also coached with success,” he said. “Already, he has helped us with our mental and tactical approach to the game. I am just looking forward to having him here with us on a regular basis. I can’t wait.”
By RON FANFAIR