By Ravi Madholall
USA rebounded nervously to beat Canada by two wickets in the third and final 50-over match of the Auty Cup on Sunday at Woodley Park facility in Los Angeles (LA).
Having suffered two successive defeats, USA came up more positive on the final occasion to enhance their confidence immensely just ahead of their International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cricket League Division 4 (WCL) limited-over tournament also in L.A.
Their victory target chase (222) was led impressively by batsman Ravi Timbawala who struck a responsible, unbeaten 73 laced with seven fours from 117 deliveries.
The right-handed 27-year-old local boy also had the honor of hitting the winning run with just three balls remaining in the hotly-contested match.
Skipper Steve Taylor scored 27 while Alex Amsterdam and the consistent Fahab Babar put in measurable scores with 26 and 23 respectively.
Left-arm spinners Salman Nazar (3-39) from 10-overs and Farhan Malik (2-38) from 6-overs bowled successfully while Dillon Heyliger and Nikhil Dutta claimed one wicket apiece.
Earlier, Canada, who won the toss, elected to take first knock on a pitch that offered variable bounces. They tallied up a competitive 222 all out off 49.4 overs.
After slipping to 26-2 including their most inform batsman Srimanth Wijeratne (02) back in the hut, Nikhi Dutta came to the fore with an attractive 72 decorated with five fours and two maximums to lead the batting.
Skipper Nitish Kumar once again manifested his considerably rich form with a pugnacious 42 that contained eight fours. Varun Sehdev chipped in with 26.
Hammad Shahid, Elmore Hutchison and Tamil Patel all picked up two wickets each to help limit the oppositions.
After first match by 34 runs and 17 runs in the second penultimate game, Canada only conceded this consolation victory to USA, the team they have been playing over the past decades in the Auty Cup tournament.
They still retain the prestigious cup having triumphed in 2013. The two following years were missed owing to financial constraints reportedly by both the cricketing boards.
Canada will continue their preparations too for next year’s ICC WCL Division 3 which at a venue yet to be announced will travel to Bermuda to compete in three limited-over matches.
Bermuda will join USA for the Division 4 competition in two weeks time.