Saturday, July 7, 2018

Maple Leaf Cricket Club, King City, Ontario, Canada

Match 12: Toronto Nationals vs. Cricket West Indies B Team, 11:00 a.m. North America Eastern Standard Time


Match 13: Winnipeg Hawks vs. Edmonton Royals, 4:00 p.m., North America Eastern Standard Time


Summary Result: Cricket West Indies B Team 131/2 in 14.1 overs (Justin Greaves 45, Sherfane Rutherford 37, Brandon King 30; Usma Mir 1-29, Nikhil Dutta 1-36) defeats Toronto Nationals 128/5 in 20 overs (Steve Smith 55; Greaves 2-20) by eight wickets


Summary Result: Edmonton Royals 209/5 in 19.3 overs (Agha Salman 73, Farhaan Behardien 62, Andre Fletcher 47; Fidel Edwards 2-33) defeats Winnipeg Hawks 203/4 in 20 overs (Lendl Simmons 66, Mark Deyal 64, David Miller 60; Mohammad Irfan 2-29, Agha Salman 2-43) by five wickets



By Colin Benjamin

Match 12: Toronto Nationals vs. Cricket West Indies B Team

KING CITY, Ont. – Top all-round performances by Barbados and Pakistan players Justin Greaves and Agha Salman, respectively, propelled Cricket West Indies B Team and Edmonton Royals to victories of contrasting difficulties on Saturday, in day nine of Global T20 Canada action at Maple Leaf Cricket Club.

The result sees the young West Indian side become the first team to qualify for the playoffs and maintain its position at the top of the table with eight points and an (4-0) unbeaten record.

“No one knew us coming into tournament,” said West Indies B Team assistant coach Roderick Estwick. “They didn’t know our strengths and weaknesses as a team, so we used that as our advantage and that’s something that we will continue to do and keep them guessing.”

Inversely, star-studded Toronto Nationals (1-3) fell to the bottom with two points alongside Montreal Tigers, succumbing to their third-straight loss after opening the tournament with a victory over second- place Vancouver Knights.

This fixture was played once more on the third pitch off the wicket-square, which has proven to be the most challenging of the tournament in some aspects for batsmen.

Immediately, Toronto was placed on its back foot losing both openers in the first two overs with just nine runs on the board.

Firstly veteran former Pakistani opener Kamran Akmal was bowled with a beautiful Derval Green out-swing delivery, before West Indian Johnson Charles hit a catch to the mid-wicket boundary fielder off the bowling of left-arm spinner Kavem Hodge.

Continued tight bowling from the Caribbean side meant that a 44-run partnership between Trans-Tasman pair of Steve Smith and Anton Devcich never had any real momentum as it lasted until the tenth over.

Devcich (21) was then dismissed caught brilliantly by Hodge at point, leaving Toronto in a sluggish position of 53/3 at the halfway mark.

The dangerous Kieron Pollard (8) and Canada captain and native of Toronto, Nitish Kumar (1), departed soon afterwards as Cricket West Indies B Team maintained total control at this stage with Toronto 74/5 in the 14th over.

Toronto’s score could have been restricted even further, when two overs later Smith (35) was dropped by Windies B captain and wicket-keeper Anthony Bramble, as he dropped a very high catch via medium pacer Greaves’s bowling.

However Smith (55) alongside Toronto’s captain Daren Sammy (23), fought back in the final overs in an unbeaten 54-run sixth-wicket alliance, guiding the Nationals to a respectable 128-run total.

Smith’s innings on the tricky batting wicket, despite being dropped, highlighted why he is highly regarded as arguably the best batsman in cricket.

It took extra batting skill and patience with wickets falling around him to produce such a knock.

In reply, Windies B quickly made any worries of the difficult batting wicket look inadequate, as it raced to 36/0 in three overs with Guyanese Sherfane Rutherford and player of the match, Greaves, in full attack mode. It was the second player-of-the-match honour for Greaves in as many games as he earned it in Windies B’s previous match, a nine-wicket win over Winnipeg Hawks on July 5.

Highlighting this period was Rurtherford hitting veteran Pakistan paceman Mohammad Sami for massive sixes over the extra cover and mid-wicket boundaries in the third over.

Windies B had raced to 71/1 by the first power play, for the loss of just Rutherford (37) who was caught at the wicket off Canadian off-spinner Nikhil Dutta of Toronto.

The chase was a simple cruise onwards for Windies B and Nicholas Pooran (15) would end the game in typical Caribbean flair by reverse sweeping Dutta over the square-leg boundary for six.

“The facilities are lovely, the weather is lovely and its an opportunity for people to go out and showcase their talent, its showing going Global, so just go out and represent West Indies with pride,” said Estwick.

Agha Salman on the attack during his match winning 73


Match 13: Winnipeg Hawks vs. Edmonton Royals  

Half centuries from Pakistan’s Agha Salman and South Africa’s Farhaan Behardien were instrumental in Edmonton Royals chasing Winnipeg’s mammoth 200-plus run total.

Winnipeg’s 200 total was their second of the tournament following their 203/4 score against Montreal Tigers in game two on June 30.

The result moves Edmonton (2-2) up to third place in the table with five points, while Winnipeg drops to fourth (2-3) with four points.

Put into bat by Edmonton, Australian star and Winnipeg captain David Warner continued his tournament struggles, as he was dismissed first delivery, without scoring, caught by Pakistani star Shahid Afridi caught at short fine-leg via Mohammad Irfan’s bowling.

Warner’s other scores in league competition thus far are: 1, 4, 1 and 6.

Winnipeg made a batting order change, promoting Trinidad and Tobago left-hander Mark Deyal to number three instead of Australian Ben McDermott and this tactic worked to perfection for the Waqar Younis-coached side.

Deyal (66) and Lendl Simmons (64) counter-attacked against Edmonton’s bowlers during an entertaining 99-run second wicket alliance.

Simmons’ innings took his tournament total up to 215 runs and to the position as leading run scorer to date in Global T20 Canada.

Despite part-time off-spinner Agha Salman getting Deyal and Darren Bravo (2) in the space of two overs with scores of 111 and 118 in the 11th and 13th overs, respectively, when South African star David Miller joined Simmons, the runs kept flowing for Winnipeg.

Eighty-nine runs were scored in the final six overs, with Miller (60) being particularly destructive with his 28-ball innings that included a last over assault when he hit Edmonton captain Sohail Tanvir for 18 runs.

In the Royals’s previous fixture against Montreal, they were bowled out for 114 chasing a paltry target of 129. When veteran New Zealand opener Luke Ronchi (3) perished in the third over to fast bowler Fidel Edwards, it seemed initially they would repeat that poor batting effort.

However, starting with Andre Fletcher’s (47) quick-fire innings where he hit young American medium pacer Kyle Philip for 28 runs in his first over, Edmonton had the perfect early foundation set for the eventual match-winning performances of Salman and Behardien to guide them home.

Global T20 Canada action resumes Sunday with a doubleheader top-of-the-table clash between Cricket West Indies B Team and Vancouver Knights. Last-place dwellers Montreal and Toronto  will ice each other in the second match.