Canada beat the streak
The wait is over for Canadian cricket and its fans. After suffering through twelve consecutive ODI losses, the men in red finally picked up a victory over Bermuda in the second match of the tri-series in South Africa. They relied on balance in both bowling and batting to win by five wickets, and level their record at 1-1 at the halfway point of the series.
Canada won the toss and, sensing a tinge of green in the wicket, put Bermuda in to bat first. The last time these teams met, in Toronto in August, Bermuda batted first and made 272 for 7 en route to an 11-run victory. They would not do that well on this day, however, as Canada struck early with Henry Osinde getting the wicket of Kwame Tucker on just the fourth ball of the day. However Osinde was uncharacteristically wild on this day, finishing with figures of 2 for 34 off just 6 overs, including a whopping 9 wides. Bermuda's middle order looked to bail out the top, with Captain Irving Romaine making 36 and David Hemp leading the way with 55. In the end, Bermuda put up a total of 235 for 8 at the end of the allotted overs, a score which included 34 extras from the Canadian bowlers. The wickets were spread evenly amongst the bowlers, with Sanjay Thuraisingam, Sunil Dhaniram, Kevin Sandher, and Osinde each taking two.
After the interval, Canada had to know they had the advantage in the match, but they also knew that they were missing both their openers from the summer season. Captain John Davison is unavailable for this tour, and his opening partner Sandeep Jyoti injured himself in the loss to the Netherlands yesterday. The task was given to Asif Mulla and Desmond Chumney to make a strong start to the innings, and that they did, scoring 30 and 38 respectively. Ashish Bagai came in when Mulla was bowled by Mukuddem in the twelfth over, and lasted to the end, making a patient 58 not out. The run rate slowed, however, and a couple of wickets fell as Janeiro Tucker and Dwayne Leverock threatened to take this match away from the Canadians in the middle part of the innings.
Cue Sunil Dhaniram. The man who led the Canadian attack with 2-38 from 10 overs came in with Canada at 138-4 and having lost the usually dangerous George Codrington for just 10 runs. He found his stroke quickly and used it, dispatching balls all around the field and over it. When the dust had settled, he was caught behind off the bowling of Stefan Kelly, but not before making a rapid 63 off just 42 deliveries. This brilliant innings included 8 fours and a six, and brought Canada within 7 runs of victory. Don Maxwell came on and helped Bagai get the total over the top, Canada winning by 5 wickets with 13 balls to spare. Dhaniram was the easy choice for man of the match.
In getting this result, Canada may have discovered that they can in fact score runs without John Davison's contribution. As a team, they have too often relied upon the skipper, and collapsed if he was unable to score the majority of the runs. If the batsmen can maintain this kind of form, with the readdition of Davison for the WCL Division 1, they will be a force to be reckoned with.
The Canadians now have two days off before their next match in the tri-series - a rematch against Bermuda in Benoni. Their second chance against the Netherlands comes on Friday, and then they open an Intercontinental Cup match against the Dutch on Tuesday.