US wary of Rawlins threat
Kirk Higgins, the United States team manager, admits his side are under immense pressure before their “must win” encounter against Bermuda after losing to Canada by four wickets
Having set a solid total of 144 for six from their 20 overs, in which Steven Taylor led the way with 38, the US looked poised to take a vital victory, with Canada stuttering and still needing 18 runs from their final two overs.
However, Dilon Heyliger stepped up with a timely six and then a four in the space of three balls to turn the match back into Canada’s favour, before Hamza Tariq struck the decisive blow with another four from the first ball of the final over to secure a thrilling victory.
The result left Canada top of the standings on net run-rate after the first round of matches, with the US three points behind and under mounting pressure before their second meeting with Bermuda at White Hill Field.
“It’s always disappointing to be on the losing end of a close game. However, as I told the boys, it’s a tough one to swallow, but it’s not the end of the world,” said Higgins, whose side would not be able to catch Bermuda in the final standings, should they suffer defeat.
“However, it does mean that our next match is a must-win game and as a result of that brings added pressure to all of the team. I’m confident the boys can handle it and as I said I’m sure we will bounce back from this defeat, starting immediately against Bermuda.
“We know what Bermuda have to offer and we know we have to come out and play a lot better than we did previously.
“In the first game we let Delray Rawlins stick around a little too long [he scored 63] and so we have to sharpen up on a few things and learn to deal with the threat of players like him a little smarter.”
Having won the toss and elected to bat, the US started strongly with openers Xavier Marshall (22) and Monank Patel (19) reaching 39 before the latter fell, caught by Rizwan Cheema, off the bowling of Saad Zafar.
The total had reached 75 at the end of the eighth over before Marshall was stumped by Tariq off the bowling of Nikhil Dutta, before Taylor and Aaron Jones (12) kept the innings ticking over.
When Taylor (38) was dismissed at the end of the eleventh over, the US found themselves at 87 for three, with Jaskaran Malhotra following slightly more than two overs later with a further eight runs added.
That brought about a slowing up of the run rate with Jones falling at the start of the sixteenth over with 111 on the board. Hayden Walsh added a smart 21 runs to the total before being the last man to fall after 19.2 overs.
Timroy Allen (11) and Cameron Gannon (7) survived the remaining deliveries to finish up on 144 for six. Dutta was the pick of the Canadian bowlers with two wickets for 26 runs.
In reply, Rodrigo Thomas (11) and Cheema (10) endured a sluggish start with both falling before the fifth over with only 28 runs on the board.
However, captain Navneet Dhaliwal led by example, steadying the innings with Nitish Kumar, with the latter being dismissed for 14 after 7.3 overs with the score on 62.
Saad Zafar and Ravinderpal Singh both came and went, falling victim to Timil Patel, as Canada stood on 101 for five with just over 14 overs gone.
When Dhaliwal also fell victim to Patel, completing his four-wicket haul, for 54 at the start of the sixteenth over with 33 runs needed from 23 balls, the US began to sniff a welcome win.
That became even more likely with 18 runs still needed from the final three overs.
However, Heyliger stepped up at the vital time in the penultimate over with his boundaries shifting the momentum, allowing Tariq to hit the winning runs and take Canada a step closer to clinching one of the two qualifying spots, much to head coach Ingleton Liburd’s delight. “It was a bit more of a nervy finish than I would have liked and put a bit more pressure on ourselves, but the lads held their nerve and got the result we wanted in the end,” he said.
“When it got down to the last four overs and we still needed some good runs, I got a little nervous, I won’t lie, but it was a massively important win.
“It gives us an important cushion in the table and it means that the US will pretty much have to win all three of their remaining games. I’m confident we can beat Cayman Islands in our next match, which should stand us in good stead for qualification.
“The game between Bermuda and the US is in a way just as important for us because it could determine our closest rivals.”
White Hill Field (United States won toss): Canada won by four wickets
X M Marshall st Hamza Tariq b Duttab 22
M D Patel c Rizwan Cheema b Saad Bin Zafar 19
S R Taylor b Kumar 38
Aaron Jones c Saad Bin Zafar b Eranga 12
† J S Malhotra c Ravinderpal Singh b Dutta 4
H R Walsh not out 12
T P Allen not out 2
Extras (lb 5, w 5) 10
Total (6 wkts 20 overs) 144
K Gore, SN Netravalkar (c), TK Patel, CJ Gannon did not bat
Fall of wickets: 1-39, 2-75, 3-87, 4-95, 5-111.
Bowling: Junaid Siddiqui 2-0-22-0; Eranga 4-0-32-1; Saad Bin Zafar 4-0-19-1; Heyliger 4-0-35-0; Dutta 4-0-26-2; Kumar 2-0-5-1.
R A Thomas c Malhotra b Gannon 11
Rizwan Cheema c Allen b Netravalkar 10
*N S Dhaliwal c Gannon b TK Patel 54
N R Kumar lbw b TK Patel 14
Saad Bin Zafar c Gannon b TK Patel 20
Ravinderpal Singh b TK Patel 0
† Hamza Tariq not out 11
D Heyliger not out 23
Extras (lb 1, nb 1) 2
Total (6 wkts; 19.1 overs) 145
Junaid Siddiqui, G D R Eranga, N Dutta did not bat
Fall of wickets: 1-13, 2-28, 3-62, 4-93, 5-101, 6-112.
Bowling: Netravalkar 3.1-0-20-1; Gore 4-0-24-0; Gannon 4-0-38-1; Walsh 2-0-21-0; Patel 4-0-27-4; Taylor 2-0-14-0.
Umpires: Nigel Duguid (West Indies), Emmerson Carrington.
Reserve Umpire: Harry Grewal (Canada).
Match Referee: Reon King (West Indies).
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Ada Foggo (1928-2020)
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