The batsmen’s inability to negotiate spin bowling and capitalize in the death overs and inconsistent bowling that included far too many short or full deliveries and a plethora of wides – 38 – that led to extra deliveries and increased scoring opportunities contributed to Canada’s four-game sweep at the hands of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the just concluded 50-overs and Twenty/20 series.
Canada dropped to last place in the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cricket League (WCL) 50-overs competition with 46-run and two-wicket losses at King City last week. The national side has three points from 12 matches with just one victory – that was against Namibia on the road last April – in the eight-team tournament.
A switch in venue to Toronto Cricket Club for the Twenty/20 contests did not result in a change of fortunes as the Canadians succumbed by 72 runs and seven wickets last weekend.
“This was a meltdown after promising results against the United States,” said coach Gus Logie. “Players were getting runs and wickets and our confidence was high. We started against the UAE on a high note in the four-day match that was reduced because of rain, so it was really disappointing to see how flat we fell in the shorter forms of the game. It represented a big letdown.”
In the first Twenty/20 match, Canada lost its last nine wickets for 51 runs in 10.1 overs to crash to 85 all out in 16.2 overs in reply to the visitors’ total of 157-7 in their 20-over allotment. The next day, an 86-run fourth wicket partnership in 11.3 overs between Raza-ur-Rehman (47) and Ashish Bagai (46) was the host country’s only bright spot as a total of 137 proved to be far too inadequate for the UAE which reached their target in the 19th over with seven wickets in hand.
“The batting has been poor and brittle,” said Bagai, who rejoined the national side this summer after graduating with an MBA from the Wharton School of Business in Philadelphia. “Guys are not responding well to the pressure. We have been putting in a lot of hard work but it’s not translating into results and that is what is frustrating.”
Recognizing Canada’s weakness against spin, the tourists stacked their line-up with slow bowlers, including left-arm spinner, Shadeep Silva, who opened the bowling.
“It’s about our players having the confidence to hit the ball down the ground instead of trying to go across the line,” said Logie. “These are things we have talked about and we have worked on, but we are just not executing. There is a lot of work still to be done with these players who we believe are the best that are available.”
Silva also opened the bowling in the 50-overs matches that saw three Canadians – Ruvindu Gunasekera, Usman Limbada and Hiral Patel – register half-centuries and all-rounder Rizwan Cheema pick up four wickets for 16 runs off 7.2 overs in the last game.
The scheduled four-day Intercontinental Cup fixture was ruined by bad weather that washed out the first day’s play.
Middle-order batsmen Nitish Kumar and Damodhar Daesrath recorded centuries – 103 and 111 respectively – in Canada’s impressive first innings total of 369-6 in 86.3 overs after former Guyana fast bowler Jeremy Gordon took a hat-trick to restrict the visitors to 116 in 38.5 overs. Gordon finished with 6-63 off 13.5 overs.
The UAE were 207-4 in their second innings when the match ended.
Gunasekera, a left-handed opening batsman, has been Canada’s most consistent scorer in the last three weeks with 453 runs (av. 50.33) in 10 innings.
“He has been around for a while and I am trying to impress on him that 40s and 50s are not good enough,” said Logie. “We are asking him for big performances. He’s in good form and we trust he will continue with it.”
Canada hosts the Netherlands in an Intercontinental Cup contest from August 22-25 and two WCL 50-overs matches on August 27 and 29. The games will be played at King City.
By RON FANFAIR