Canada win battle of North American giants
ICC Americas media release
In a low-scoring and pulsating contest between traditional North American rivals Canada and the United States at the National Sports Centre, it was the Canadian team who emerged triumphant by 3 wickets in a key game in the Americas U15 Championship in Bermuda.
Both teams struggled to adapt to a wicket which was good but took plenty of turn, and it was a day in which a host of spinners dominated the action in the middle. After being asked to bat first, the USA were rocked by the early loss of prodigious captain and opener Abhijit Joshi, and as the Canadian spinners took control, it was always an uphill battle for the USA batsmen, eventually posting a disappointing total of 104 all out in 37 overs.
Only three of their much-vaunted batting line-up reached double figures, Steven Taylor top-scoring with 15, while bowler of the tournament thus far, off-spinner and Canadian captain Nitish Kumar was in devastating form. He returned outstanding figures of 4 for 11 in 8 overs, with good back-up coming from Jeevanjot Sidhu, 1 for 15 in 8 overs, and Kesavan Juvarajan with 2 for 8.
Small target, but a big job for the Canadian batsmen, and with the USA smartly introducing their spinners right from the start, Canada were soon stuttering at 20 for 3. A determined partnership of 45 for the fourth wicket between player of the match Kesavan Juvarajan, who made a classy 33 off 57 balls, with 3 fours and a six, and Nikhil Dutta, with a gritty 20 from 55 balls, including 2 fours, steered Canada in the right direction.
A quickfire 20 off 19 balls from Siddharth Mookerji pushed the Canadian total to 91 for 4, but with three wickets falling quickly, and at 96 for 7, there was time for some last-minute nail-biting before Canada claimed the vital win on 105 for 7 with 2,1 overs remaining.
Pick of the USA bowlers was Abhijit Joshi, with 3 for 20, but noteworthy 8 over spells were produced by Steven Taylor, 1 for 13, Andrew Ajodhi, 1 for 14, and Pranay Suri, 0 for 14.
Bermuda kept their title challenge and track and stayed at the top of the table after an overwhelming 194 run victory over the spirited and developing Bahamas side at the Southampton Rangers Oval. After being asked to bat first, Bermuda batted aggressively throughout to post a daunting total of 298 for 6 in their 40 overs.
Starring with the bat for Bermuda were skipper and player of the match, Deunte Darrell, with an undefeated 95 off 85 balls and which included 10 scintillating fours, as well as opener Jonte Smith, who made a classy 89, off 86 balls with 10 fours. These two shared in an important 100 run fifth wicket partnership after coming together 105 for 4, and effectively taking the game out of the Bahamians reach. Pick of the Bahamas bowlers was Rudolph Fox, with 2 for 32.
The Bahamas batted resolutely in an attempt to post a respectable reply, and were eventually all out for 104 in the 32nd over. Top-scorer was Kunal Sharma, who made 25 off 42 balls, with 4 fours. Destroyer-in-chief for Bermuda was Joshua Gilbert, who returned brilliant figures of 5 for 15 in 6,4 overs, with able support coming from Deunte Darrell, 2 for 25 in 7 overs, and Keishon Wilson, 2 for 17 in 5 overs.
In the final game of day three, the Bermuda Development XI scored an excellent win over the Cayman Islands at St.George's CC. The Development XI, effectively the second tier of Bermudian U15 cricketers, were in debt to in-form opening bat Lateef Trott for reaching a solid 169 all out in 37,1 overs after being asked to bat.
Trott put on a superlative display, making 64 off 61 balls with 8 sizzling fours and 3 powerful sixes. Okera Bascome weighed in with 18, and Janai Ratteray made 17, while for the Cayman Islands, Joniel Bent took 3 for 18 in 8 overs, and Codie McLaughlin 3 for 38 in 6,1 overs.
In reply the Cayman Islands looked to be in a solid position to push for victory at 110 for 3 in the 30th over, but it turned out to be Lateef Trott's day, as a devastating four over spell of 4 for 18 sparked a dramatic collapse and sunk the Cayman challenge. In the space of three overs the Cayman Islands lost 7 wickets for the addition of only 8 runs and were all out for 118 in 33,4 overs, and thus victory to the Bermuda Development XI by 51 runs.
With tomorrow a welcome rest day, all eyes will now be focused on Friday's big fixture between Bermuda and Canada at St.David's CC. A win for the Canadians will put them within touching distance of the title, while a Bermuda victory bring the USA back into the frame, and turn the scheduled Saturday match between Bermuda and the USA into a title-decider, with a three-way tie and net run rate still a possibility.
Also on Friday, the USA take on the Bermuda Development XI at Southampton, where the United States need to make a sure of victory to keep their title hopes alive, while at the National Sports Centre the Cayman Islands take on the Bahamas, with both teams looking for their first win of the competition.