Match Report: Canada v Pakistan
Canada lost to Pakistan, currently ranked 3rd in the ICC LG ODI standings, by 77 runs at the Sir Frank Worrell Memorial Ground, UWI, Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday. It was a respectable performance by Canada but there was potential for giving Pakistan a closer run for their money.
Pakistan rallied from 66 runs for 4 wickets to reach 273 runs for 8 wickets in an innings reduced to 48 overs at a late stage. Canada almost certainly lost momentum, and Pakistan gained time to re-group, following the collapse of the sightscreens at the southern end of the ground. This came at 82 runs for 4 wickets, with Henry Osinde bowling with fire.
It took well over an hour of poorly coordinated work to restore the sightscreens to an upright position. Thankfully, nobody was hit by the collapsing metal frames when the wind blew a touch harder. The game resumed with the intent of playing 50 overs-a-side, but this was reduced to 48 overs as play evolved,
Pakistan skipper Inzaman was 14 not out at this stage, but moved on to a fine 59 runs before being caught from Sunil Dhaniram's second ball. Pakistan began to open out around the 28th over and continued to score at a good pace in the latter stage of their innings, despite several bowling changes.
Mohammad Hafeez top-scored with 61 runs and late mopped up the Canadian batting tail with 3 wickets for just 10 runs. Wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal made 56 runs as Pakistan applied the pressure with some fine shots in the latter overs.
Canadian opening batsmen Geoff Barnett and Abdool Samad gave the side a solid start with a stand of 60 runs. However, after Samad was out, leg-before wicket for 27 runs, the innings stumbled to a mixture of good balls and some indifferent strokes. Ifikhar Anjun removed Barnett for 28 runs, and soon saw Ian Billcliff and John Davison back to the pavillion. Ashish Bagai was also stumped off leg-spinner Danish Kaneria when advancing down the pitch.
Ashif Mulla, who made 31 runs, and Qaiser Ali, who made 37 runs, took the score from 89 runs for 5 wickets to 136 runs, before Mulla was out leg-before wicket. Ali looked to be steering the total to the 200-run mark but was out 12 runs short of this target and Canada was all out for 196 runs.
Overall, it was probably a useful warm-up for both sides. Canada can gain some confidence from various aspects of their performance. There was a resonable crowd and there is the potential for the team to score a solid total on a good day. And on a bad day? There is quite a bit of fighting spirit in the batting. The ground-fielding continues to show improvement as the players gain more experience against the likes of Bangladesh and Pakistan.
Canada plays Ireland in their final warm-up game at the same ground on Thursday. Pakistan meets South Africa on Friday.