By Ravi Madholall at King City
The prospect of featuring at the twelfth International Cricket Council (ICC) Under-19 50-over World Cup seems slim for Canada after they were humiliated by USA in their opening match on Tuesday at Maple Leaf ground, King City.
USA, who began their campaign with a six-wicket win over Bermuda on Monday at the same venue, has further justified their favorite tag to head to New Zealand in January for the mega event.
Canada will be back in action Wednesday against the less-fancied Bermuda while they have two more matches versus the two opponents but will have to win hugely in order the stop USA, who just needs one more victory out of their two matches to participate at the World Cup event.
After rain affected things badly on Monday, USA still showcased their talent in every department of the game. The following day was almost a replication in terrific conditions for cricket after USA churned out the win with 146 balls to spare.
USA called correctly at the toss and elected to field and that decision was quickly vindicated as wickets tumbled with a great amount of regularity on a sluggish pitch.
Akash Gill, who batted at number three displayed some patience despite retiring hurt having struck on his helmet. He returned to bat and was left not out on 14. But right-arm pacer Keshav Pabbisetty created early havoc and the hosts never recovered as they were all out for 63 in 47.5 overs.
Skipper and national senior player Bhavindu Adhihetty played several shots at the top but could not have progressed with runs as the USA bowlers maintained an excellent line and length.
Once he was dismissed for 4, the Canadian batsmen were vulnerable by the pace and spin combination.
Player-of-the-match Pabbisetty, the 17-year-old, delivered with accuracy and hostility and finished with sterling bowling figures of 3-9 from his 10-overs in which five overs were maiden.
Spinner Mohak Buch was also virtually unplayable capturing three wickets for 15 runs from 10 overs while pacer Aravind Patnam supported admirably with 2-7 off 7.5 overs.
When USA began their chase, things looked identically perilous for them as they lost wickets in quick succession too. They were tottering at 37-5 and the Canadian kids were just beginning to sniff an unpredictable victory.
But right-handed Raymond Ramrattan batted with wonderful composure to be unbeaten on 27 inclusive of the winning run with a long-off boundary. Ramrattan whose parents are Guyanese mixed solid defense with occasional aggression during his 54-ball stay at the crease.
He was partnered by Sahil Patel with 7 after the sudden wobble caused by leg-spinner Arslan Khan, who was on a hat-trick. He bowled with good flight and was enticing the batsmen to drive on a pitch that became a bit slower.
Skipper Arjun Patel (00), Vivek Narayan (08), Gaurav Patankar (00) and Patnam (00) went back cheaply. Left-arm pacer Adhihetty was also on target but some poor field-placements may have caused them a possible victory.
Adhihetty, who was warned by umpires for running on the protected area, bowled beautifully to end with 2-13 from seven overs while left-arm spinner Rommel Shadzad claimed 2-20 in eight overs.
Canada only participated once at the ICC Youth World Cup which was inaugurated in 1988 but had a ten-year break. When the competition returned in 1998, it has been held every two years. Canada last outing was 2002. West Indies are the defending champions.
Meanwhile, manager of the USA team Orville Hall expressed great delight with his side outstanding bowling performance against their nemesis. Hall related that he sees some positive performances and is very confident out of the three teams (USA, Canada & Bermuda), USA will be the only North America country getting to the World Cup tournament.
“I [am] definitely confident of winning our two remaining games and be part of the ICC World Cup next year; the guys were just marvelous today (Tuesday) and I am having the same confidence of doing well here in Canada before the competition concludes on Sunday,” Hall mentioned.
Assistant USA Coach Ricardo Powell said the boys were very disciplined in the field and the efforts paid off handsomely. The former West Indies pugnacious right-handed batsman spoke greatly of his team’s overall performance and was optimistic the batsmen would have completed the job.