Canada Under-19s win in a Plate Playoff Semi-final against Japan Under-19s on Thursday (January 30, 2020) leads to the 13th place playoff game against the United Arab Emirates U19s, Canada’s first opponents in this ICC U19 Cricket World Cup. The Canada juniors will be hoping to avenge the loss by 8 wickets to the UAE U19s in that Group D match in Saturday’s game. Canada has now played three more games in this tournament and gained more experience of local playing conditions since that initial loss to the UAE.
Canada had played two practice games against a TUKS (University of Pretoria) XI as well as warm-up games against West Indies U19s and Australia U19s before that initial meeting with UAE U19s in Group D. A third game against TUKS was washed out without a ball being bowled, as was Canada U19s group D match against Afghanistan U19s. But you cannot control the weather, even though it must be disappointing for the players to miss out on the opportunity to play after working hard indoors to prepare for this tournament.
Lest We Forget the Championship Super League Series
Mention of Afghanistan provides the chance to highlight the teams who have qualified for next week’s Super League Semi-Finals that lead to the championship game on February 9th. Afghanistan U19s lost by 6 wickets to Pakistan U19s today (Friday, 31 January 2020) in the Super League quarter-final, so the 2020 ICC U19 CWC Champions will be one of Super League semi-final winners India U19s, New Zealand U19s, Bangladesh U19s or Pakistan U19s. The first sem-final, on Tuesday (4 February) will feature India U19s and Pakistan U19s, then on Thursday (6 February) New Zealand U19s will play Bangladesh U19s. The final follows on Sunday 9 February, 2020.
The Super League semi-final pairings mean that the top two from Canada’s Group D, hosts South Africa U19s and Afghanistan U19s, are out of contention for this year’s U19 CWC Championship.
Canada in the Plate Playoffs
Canada U19s seemed to have Zimbabwe U19s in trouble at 141/7 but 16 year-old Emmanuel Bawa went on to reach 105*, thanks to solid support from Chirawu . This duo raised Zimbabwe’s total to 271/7 when the 50 overs ran out. Higher up the batting order Taurami Tugwate made 50 and opening bat Maurani was the only other to reach double figures with 28. Akhil Kumar ended with 3/63 from 10 overs.
Canada U19s began badly and never really managed a solid partnership from the depths of 2/2 to a final 176 all out. A total that included a slight flourish thanks to a last wicket stand of 36 between Harmanjeet Singh Bedi (26*) and Rishiv Joshi (26). They were the top two scorers in an innings where seven Canadian batsmen reached double figures. So five others made a bit of a start, scoring between 13 and 22 but nobody went on to turn the tide of the innings.
The loss to Zimbabwe U19s meant Canada dropped into the battle for 13th thru 16th places. So, looking at things positively, Canada would have the chance to be 13th best in men’s Under-19 cricket in the history books, an opportunity still alive following a win by 172 runs against Japan U19s on Thursday (30 January).
A Century and a 7-Wicket Haul Carry Canada to Victory against Japan U19s
Left-handed opening bat Nicholas Manohar lead with 101, featuring in stands of 31 for the first wicket with Mihir Patel (11), 69 for the second wicket with Akhil Kumar (13) before being caught to end a stand of 71 for the third wicket with Eshan Sensarma, who was out 6 runs later for 34. Benjamin Calitz (29) was run out to end a partnership of 52 with captain Ashtan Deosammy. Deosammy was bowled for 40 when Canada U19s were on 289 to end a 58 run partnership with Uditya Walia for the sixth wicket. Walia was 40* when Canada’s innings closed at 300/7 after 50 overs. Three Japanese bowlers each took 2 wickets, the best figures belonged to Kento Dobell with 2/52 from 10 overs.
Nick Manohar’s century was the second by a Canadian in an ICC U19 CWC, the previous century came from Akash Gill who scored 120 of Canada U19s 265/8 against Papua New Guinea in the playoffs for 9th thru 16th places at the 2018 ICC U19 CWC in New Zealand. Akash Gill’ century included a stand of 104 with this year’s Canadian captain Ashtan Deosammy, who scored 35. Canada U19s beat Papua New Guinea by 80 runs.
Japanese opening bat Neel Date battled away to score 59 runs against Canada, eventually being caught by Eshan Sensarma off the bowling of right-arm pacer Akhil Kumar, the first bowler to capture a wicket in the Japanese innings. Date’s dismissal came at 107/6 from 24.5 overs. Akhil Kumar bowled Chaturvedi with his next ball (107/7) then off-spinner Gurjot Gosal bowled Dobell to start the 26th over and the Japanese innings was fast fading at 107/8. Gosal completed his 10 overs with 1/29 and Akhil Kumar’s 10 overs ended with a fine return of 6 wickets for 46 runs, figures that gained him the nod as Man-of-the-Match. Spinner Harmanjeet Bedi came on to bowl after the ninth wicket pair had added 11 runs and Bedi took the last two wickets at no cost from 4 balls.
Japan Under-19s innings ended at 118 all out after 29.4 overs. It was Japan’s highest total in this tournament, although the Japanese U19s batted out more overs – 38.4 overs – in their previous Plate playoff game against England. Both innings against England U19s and Canada U19s represent steps on the learning curve for the Japanese in their first ICC U19 CWC tournament.
So the cricketing stage is set for Canada Under-19s to play UAE U19s in the game to decide 13th place in this 2020 ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup. It’s certainly useful to be a country with warmer weather than Canada enjoys – some like or love snow for skiing and snowmobiling – during the northern hemisphere’s winter. The four most northerly countries in this tournament (Canada, Scotland, England and Japan) failed to qualify for the Super League championship playoffs.
England U19s did spend most of December in the West Indies playing a Tri-Series with Sri
Lanka U19s and West Indies U19s. England U19s played 7 matches, as did Sri Lanka U19s, who beat England in the Tri-Series Final. Ironically West Indies U19s were the only one of these three teams to reach the Super League Playoffs.
Meanwhile in December 2019 and early January 2020 some of the UAE U19 squad played in one or more ODIs for the UAE senior team. One of the UAE bowlers had better bowling figures against the Scotland senior team than against Scotland U19s, something that’s part of the magic and mystery of what can happen on the field.
So here’s hoping Canada Under-19s can close this ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup tournament with a win against UAE U19s on Saturday in Potchefstroom, South Africa. The players and some of the supporting coaches have put in a lot of work and committed many hours to Canadian cricket on the short-term and longer term paths to this tournament.
Toronto, 31 January 2020.