Canada’s junior cricketers have punched their ticket to next year’s World Cup Under-19 cricket finals in the United Arab Emirates.
In last week’s rain-shortened Americas regional tournament and World Cup qualifier at Maple Leaf Ground in King City, Canada brushed aside the United States by five wickets and Bermuda by 100 runs.
The double round-robin format was reduced to a single round following the record rainfall that drenched the Greater Toronto Area on the scheduled opening day.
In the opening game, 18-year-old off-spinner Nikhil Dutta took 5-21 to restrict the Americans to 158 in 46.2 overs. Dutta capped off an outstanding all-round performance with a game-high 55 not out off 70 balls to boost his team to victory in the 41st over.
The Kuwait-born teenager also played a key role in the convincing win against Bermuda, picking up 3-19 to help limit Bermuda to 154-8 in 50 overs in reply to Canada’s total of 254-6. Armaan Kapoor led the way for the home side with 64 off 58 balls.
The Americans easily disposed of Bermuda by eight wickets after dismissing them for 55 in 31.2 overs. The USA reached the required target in the 10th over to finish as runner-up.
The tournament’s Most Valuable Player, Dutta also captured the Best Batsman and Best Bowler awards, while Christian Burgess of Bermuda was adjudged the Best Wicketkeeper.
This will be Canada’s fourth World Cup appearance having qualified for the 2002, 2004 and 2010 competitions.
Canada, Namibia, Papua New Guinea, Afghanistan, host country the United Arab Emirates and the European regional winner will join the 10 full member nations – defending champions and three-time winners, India; Australia, which has also won the competition on three occasions; Pakistan, West Indies, South Africa, England, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, New Zealand and Zimbabwe in the 10th World Cup in 2014.