Favourites flying in Toronto
On the third day of the World Cup Qualifier, the favourites continued to smash their way through the opposition. On this day, they got some batting practice as both Canada and Bermuda batted first, posted huge totals, and bowled out their opposition for less than 100 runs.
The Canadian batsmen came out determined to put on a good show, and make a good total. Ruvindu Gunasekara had a most spectacular innings, leading the charge for the home side. Opening the batting with Masjid Usman, he made his first 50 off of just 37 balls, with 36 of the runs coming from boundaries. He reached his century from 72 balls, and took less than 2 hours to make it there. As the rest of the Canadian top order went down to some questionable shots, reducing Canada from 76 for 1 down to 92 for 3, Gunasekara led on, and found a partner in Pratik Patel.
Patel and Gunasekara scored 182 runs in their 4th wicket partnership. Patel also batted freely, prefering to play the majority of shots square of the wicket. His innings was ended when he played over the top of a Corey Fraser delivery, but his 75 runs set the platform for Canada to post a truly massive total. Gunasekara fell shortly after Patel - as he attempted to drive a Marc Taylor delivery over the long on boundary, he came up just a few feet short, and Corey Fraser made no mistake in holding the catch. His score of 155 (107b, 183m, 25x4) is the top score of the tournament so far.
Gunasekara's wicket left Canada on 297 for 5, and the onslaught continued with the lower order. All-rounder Kevin James led the charge with a quickfire 57, made off of just 30 balls. Raza Hasan Zaidi (33) and Rustum Bhatti (28) also made valuable contributions. Tack on 48 extras, and Canada were all out for 423 runs, from 49.4 overs of batting. Though they did end up all out, almost all the wickets came from catches on the boundary rather than from tight bowling.
The top bowler for the Bahamas was Gregory Taylor, who took 3 Canadian wickets for 58 runs, in 6.4 overs of work. Johnathan Barry also bowled reasonably, but was taken off while bowling his seventh over of the day for bowling high full tosses. The innings also took an exorbitant amount of time to complete, only concluding as the lunch interval was scheduled to end! So after a short, 15 minute lunch, the teams were back at it.
One may have expected Canada to slash through the Bahamas batsmen, but that would not be the case on this day. Although there was really no chance of chasing down the target, the openers batted very well. Johnathan Barry made 26 and Marc Taylor made 40, as they frustrated the Canadian pace attack. At the drinks interval, the Bahamas total was at 70 runs for no loss off of 16 overs.
It took the introduction of spin immediately after the drinks break to begin the wicket parade. And a parade it was! Pratik Patel was the main player, getting lots of movement off the pitch with his quickish off-breaks. He took 2 wickets with consecutive balls in his first over, and he was only getting warmed up. Chris Manohar took 2 quick wickets, the first of which was a spectacular caught and bowled, diving across the wicket to his right and taking the catch with one hand.
Patel then demolished the middle and bottom order. Other than the openers, 6 of the Bahamas batsmen made ducks, and 3 were able to make a single run. Kevin James picked up the last wicket, and Bahamas were all out for 80 runs, lasting 25.1 overs at the wicket. The last 9 wickets fell for just 10 runs.
In today's other match, Bermuda batted first and managed to make 326 runs for the loss of 6 wickets in their 50 over innings. The batting was led by Terryn Fray's century. He made 119, and Malachi Jones continued his good form adding 44 to the total. Once again there were 48 wides conceded by Argentina, as the wayward bowling continues to plague some of the less-experienced teams in this tournament. Pedro Bruno was the best bowler for his side, picking up 2 wickets for 53 runs.
Argentina, much like Bahamas, never really had a chance. Pedro Bruno played well, making 29, but nobody else contributed anything of note. The top Bermudian bowlers were stefan Kelly and Gregory Maybury, who took 4 wickets each in conceding 15 and 26 runs respectively. Argentina were all out for 96 runs, meaning a 230 run win for Bermuda.
So things are shaping up mostly as expected - and all signs point to a Canada v Bermuda match on Saturday that will serve as a titular final. Tomorrow is an off day for all the teams, and Bermuda have another day off on Friday. Canada will have a bit more of a test from the Cayman Islands on Friday to get ready for the Saturday showdown. Join us again on Friday for LIVE scores of Canada v Cayman Islands and updates from Bahamas v Argentina.