Canada has booked a spot in next year’s International Cricket Council (ICC) Under-19 World Cup after a dominant showing in last week’s Americas tournament in Bermuda.
With the exception of an exciting one-run win over the United States in its second match, the Canadians easily disposed of the Americans and host country Bermuda to finish on top of the points table with the maximum eight in the round-robin tournament.
The competition was reduced to three teams after Suriname failed to secure transit visas for its players.
Starting with an emphatic 71-run victory over Bermuda, Canada rebounded from its close call with the Americans to brush aside its southern neighbours and Bermuda by 30 runs and 90 runs, respectively, in the return matches.
Canada surpassed the 200-run mark in all of its matches with Harsh Thaker scoring 121 and 67 in the last two matches against the USA and Bermuda, respectively. Arslan Khan and Muhammad Khan led the way in the opening games with 94 against Bermuda and 68 against the United States.
Thaker, who amassed 261 runs at an average of 65.25, was the tournament’s top run producer and Most Valuable Player. Arslan Khan scored 140 runs at an average of 46.67, while Thursaanth Anantharajah registered 131 runs at 32.75.
Medium pacer Muhammad Khan, 16, was Canada’s top bowler with 10 wickets at an average of 15.70, while Abdul Haseeb of Winnipeg picked up eight wickets at an average of 17.
National youth coach, Errol Barrow, said the team played consistently well throughout the tournament.
“The batting was integral to our success,” he told Share. “Our bowling and batting were not far behind. It was an overall impeccable team effort and I am really happy with the way the guys approached the tournament and did the job they came out here to do. I could not ask for more.”
As the Americas champion for the fifth time since 2001, Canada joins Afghanistan, Namibia, Fiji, the winner of a five-team qualifier in Nepal later this year and the ICC 10 Full Member nations India, Australia, Pakistan, West Indies, South Africa, England, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, New Zealand and Zimbabwe in next year’s youth World Cup in Bangladesh.
The United States and the other runner-up teams in the ICC regional qualifiers – Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Uganda and a European representative – will contest the five-team qualifier.
With their win in the Americas tournament, Canada also earned a spot in the West Indies Under-19 limited overs tournament in Jamaica later this month.
“Changes from the squad that played in Bermuda are expected to be made and the side has to be cleared by Cricket Canada,” said Barrow.
The team leaves Canada on July 20.
While the junior players are enjoying success, the seniors lost their first two matches in the ICC World Cup Twenty/20 qualifier jointly co-hosted by Ireland and Scotland.
Despite an inspired opening stand of 83 in 9.2 overs by Ruvindu Gunasekera, who slammed 51 off 38 balls with four sixes and three boundaries, and skipper Rizwan Cheema who hit 35 off 25 balls, Canada succumbed by seven wickets to Kenya, who overtook their total of 143-5 with nine balls to spare.
The Canadians also fell to Oman by seven wickets in a rain-affected match decided by the Duckworth/Lewis system.