Led by three half-centuries from left-handed opener Ruvindu Gunasekera and economical bowling that limited the opposition to scores of fewer than 100 in two contests, Canada captured the International Cricket Council (ICC) Americas Twenty/20 Division One title last week in Indianapolis with a perfect record.
The Canadians swept aside the Americans, Bermuda and Suriname in the round-robin tournament to book a place in the global Twenty/20 qualifier in July in Ireland and Scotland.
Gunasekera, 23, scored 51 and 58 in the national team’s six-wicket and 23-run wins over the Americans and 62 off 54 balls in a 34-run victory over Bermuda decided by the Duckworth/Lewis method applied in rain affected contests.
He was the tournament’s second leading run-producer with 196 at an average of 32.67.
Off-spinner Nikhil Dhutta spearheaded Canada to a convincing 62-run win over Suriname in the tournament opener with 4-8 off four overs while skipper Rizwan Cheema slammed 46 off 35 balls in a 24-run win over the Surinamese in the return game.
Dhutta was the competition’s second leading wicket-taker with 12 at an average of 9.42.
All-rounder Jimmy Hansra and wicketkeeper/batsman Srimantha Wijeratne piloted Canada to a seven wicket-win over Bermuda in the penultimate match with an unbeaten fourth wicket stand of 79 in 10.2 overs. Hansra belted five sixes and a boundary in his unbeaten innings of 68 off 59 balls while Wijeratne’s contribution was 26 off 33 balls.
Medium-pacer Cecil Pervez, who earlier took 3-17 off four overs to restrict Bermuda to 114-7 in their allotted 20 overs, finished the series with nine at an average of 10.60.
Canada and the United States, which also qualified from the tournament, join Afghanistan, Nepal, the United Arab Emirates, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, Namibia, Kenya, Oman, Papua New Guinea, host countries Scotland and Ireland and the European Division One winner in the World Twenty/20 qualifier from July 6-26.