Two nail-biting finishes in the T20 Canadian Thanksgiving sun
by Eddie Norfolk

Scorecard:Canada v Zimbabwe, Pakistan v Sri Lanka
Event:Al Barakah T20 Canada 2008/09

DateLine: 12th October 2008


Morning game: Canada 135 for 7 wickets (20 overs; Karun Jethi 24, Rizwan Cheema 23, Mohammad Iqbal 22, Balaji Rao 22) ‘tied’ with Zimbabwe 135 for 9 wickets (20 overs; T Taibu 37, E Chigumbura 30, Harvir Baidwan 3 wickets for 27)


Zimbabwe won on a bowl-out tie-breaker (3-1)



Afternoon game: Sri Lanka 137 for 9 (20 overs; J Mubarak 39, C Kapuedera 27; Umar Gul 3 wickets for 13) lost to Pakistan 141 for 7 wickets (19.5 overs; Shoaib Malik 42 runs, Younis Khan 24, Fawad Alam 23 not out; Weeraratne 4 for 19)



( King City , Ont – Oct 11): There were two nail-biting endings as the afternoon sun shone in the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend T20 on Saturday (Oct 11) at Maple Leaf CC. The sun brought out a much larger crowd, mostly to see the battle of the giants, Sri Lanka and Pakistan , which tossed and turned until Pakistan scraped home with 1 ball to spare. This after the morning game between Zimbabwe and Canada ended in a tie, where even the last over twisted and turned. But, there had to be a winner, and Zimbabwe prevailed in cricket’s overtime (for ice hockey buffs) or a penalty shoot-out (for soccer fans): a bowl out. Zimbabwe ’s bowlers hit the stumps 3 times in a row. After Canada ’s first bowler hit the stumps, the next three missed.



The scoring highlights of the two matches came down to Canada scoring 135 runs, with four players scoring in the twenties (two at the start of the innings, two later in the order) and two of the Zimbabwe spinners bowling well to apply pressure in mid-innings, off-spinner Prosper Utseya (1 wicket for 12 runs in 4 overs) and the slow-left arm spin of Ray Price (1 wicket for 17 in 4 overs).



Zimbabwe ’s 135 was secured with Taibu and Chigumbura reaching the thirty mark, Taibu’s 37 was his side’s top-score for the second game in a row. Canada ’s Henry Osinde bowled a fine opening spell, including some controlled hostility. Rizwan Cheema bowled tidily and Harvir Baidwan’s tidy bowling against Pakistan and then his first three overs against Zimbabwe meant he became the bowler chosen for the 20^th over.



The crowd increased in numbers and volume for the second match, featuring the prized visitors from South Asia . Jayasuriya played two fine shots for four was caught in the opening over. Udawatte (16 runs), Mubarak (39) and Kapugedera (27) seemed to have the Sri Lanka buzzing but Pakistan’s bowling improved after Mubarak was out at 80 for 3 wickets in the 11^th over and the buzz turned to fizz as Umar Gul took two wickets in each of the 17^th and 19^th overs. He ended with 4 wickets for 13 from 3 overs. So, for the many Sri Lankan fans in the crowd, it was a disappointing 137 for 9 wickets off 20 overs. Not the 150-160 that seemed to be beckoning.



The pendulum swung back in favour of Sri Lanka as Maharoof quickly removed both opening batsmen in the 3^rd over with just 13 scored. Younis Khan (24 runs) and Misbah-ul-Haq (20 runs) but both were out within 2 balls and the total was 62 for 4 wickets at the midway point. Skipper Shoaib Malik provided some solid batting, but three more wickets fell and at 91 for 7 wickets with 5.1 overs left, T20 debutant Weeraratne had taken 4 wickets for 19 runs and Sri Lanka was surely back in control. But Malik and Fawad Alam thought otherwise. Malik went on to make 42 off 33 balls, including 5 boundaries. Fawad struck 3 sixes in making 23 runs from 8 balls and Pakistan scraped home with one ball to spare.



On Sunday morning Zimbabwe plays Pakistan and in the afternoon, Canada faces Sri Lanka.



The joy of cricket is such that there will be some people who attended Saturday’s matches who will be arguing over the outcome of these games, the mistakes, the great plays (as North Americans might term them) and whatever else for another 50 years or so. As will a whole collection of people who never saw either match.



Some of the best performances would not show up in the short scoring summaries of the matches. They were the tight bowling and resultant pressure applied on the batsmen by the spinners.



And a Canadian perspective might conclude with a couple of thoughts from the past. Canada scoring over 200 in Cricket World Cup 2007 against ICC Full Members England and New Zealand, where Canada, with one retired hurt, made 249 all out exorcised some ghosts of low-scoring from the 1979 and 2003 World Cups. Canada ’s ODI path to CWC 2007 began at the Queen’s Park Oval, Port of Spain , Trinidad, in May 2006 with a lopsided loss to Zimbabwe . The haunting early score of Canada 4 runs for 4 wickets in that match surely laid to rest for some of those who played or were there with the Canadian side.



It would be interesting to see some of the dreamers and self-praise administrators in some of Canadian cricket’s high places give it a go in the middle. Or even join in the odd training, net session or practice. Or try and learn the game on some of the pastures where the game survives and amazingly thrives across this country.



I wonder if cricket is currently listed in the Toronto and Golden Horseshoe bid to host the the 2015 Pan-American Games? Far too practical an idea for some of our local leaders. But a potential stepping stone to Canada hosting a Cricket World Cup, as might be the 2012 Under-19 Cricket World Cup. What real progress has been made on that front in the last couple of years?


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