The victorious Canada team with the runners up USA. Picture Courtesy: ICC Americas
The victorious Canada team with the runners up USA. Picture Courtesy: ICC Americas

Canada defeated the USA by 23 runs in the top of the table clash and crowned International Cricket Council (ICC) Americas Division One champions. By the virtue of this win, they qualified for ICC World T20 Qualifiers 2015, which is scheduled to be played in Ireland and Scotland later this year. While the runners up USA also got the license to play in that event as they finished second in the ICC Americas Division One.

Four teams from North America participated in this T20 tournament which took place in Indianapolis. Apart from USA and Canada, Suriname had Bermuda were the other teams. Each team played each other twice and Canada won all their six games. USA won four games, whereas other two teams won one game each.

In the battle for top position the USA needed to beat Canada convincingly to finish on equal points but top the Canadians on net run rate. Canada was sent in to bat by USA, in front of a passionate and growing home crowd for the Americans. USA struck early when Adil Bhatti ran out Rizwan Cheema in the second over, however, familiar top order run scorers Ruvindu Gunasekera and Nitish Kumar set up the Canadian innings.

The pair had combined for 60 when Kumar was out stumped for 25, thanks to some sharp glove work from Steven Taylor. Gunasekera’s innings of 53 from 48 balls including three big sixes from the classy left-hander, however, when Timil Patel dismissed him the US were able to build some pressure. This pressure lead to another three wicket hall to Patel whose figures of 3 for 20 saw him finish as the leading wicket taker for the tournament. Canada finished with 127 for 6 from their 20 overs.

Despite the showers that were around the USA came out of the blocks with plenty fireworks via Steven Taylor. Taylor launched three balls for six in the first over before he went for one too many and skied a catch from the final ball of Junaid Siddiqui’s first over. After Taylor’s explosive start Fahad Babar and Mrunal Patel were more controlled and moved the score along to 57 before Patel was out for 12.

When Babar was dismissed by Nikhil Dutta shortly after for 33 (37), the USA struggled to ever get back on track. They continually lost wickets seeking quick runs and eventually finished 104 for 8 from their 20 overs. Nikhil Dutta and Jimmy Hansra both picked up two wickets in a solid display of bowling and fielding from the Canadians that had them finish comfortable 23 run victors.

Canada’s will take that confidence into the ICC World Twenty20 in July this year. For USA it was a spirited display throughout the week and they showed that on their day they are capable of playing some very good cricket; something they will hope to do more consistently at the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier. While for Bermuda and Suriname they will leave better for the playing experience with both squads having showed some promising signs throughout the week.

Brief scores:

Canada 127/6 in 20 overs (Gunasekera 53, Kumar 25, Patel 3 for 20) beat USA 104 for 8 from 20 overs (Babar 33) by 23 runs.

(Sandipan Banerjee is a reporter at CricketCountry. Cricket has been the biggest passion for him since his childhood. So, when it came to choosing his career, he chose to turn his passion into his profession. Apart from cricket he likes mountain trekking, river rafting, and photography. His twitter handle is @im_sandipan)