Match 2: Dhaniram cops Man-of-Festival award

24 May 2005

OCA

Former Guyana allrounder Sunil Dhaniram walked away with the Man-of-the-Festival Award for his consistent bowling over the three days of a tournament where bowlers dominated batsmen to the extent that only one batsmen - British Columbia's Haninder Dhillon - passed 50 in the six innings.

Dhaniram returned miserly figures of 1-15 in 10 overs on Saturday but showed he could be a wicket-taker when he captured 4-28 on Sunday while making 31 as well.

Monday's expected showdown between the CCA President's X1 and the OCA President's X1 never really materialized as the latter's weak batting was cruelly exposed by the pace of Umar Bhatti (2 for 24) and the spin of Man-of-the-Match Kevin Sandher (4 for 23).

Bhatti's bounce and lateral movement were too much for the Albertan batsmen Manzoor Chaudhary (9) and Jacob Ramkhelewan (21) who had to retire hurt after being struck on the wrist by a vicious delivery. Later on Sandher, bowling a deceptive length, induced simple catches from Sumit Thapliyal. When skipper Ishwar Maraj (39) and Sunil Dhaniram (36) attempted to put the OCA innings back together, Sandher also deceived both in flight as the innings closed rapidly at 128.

John Davison was badly muffed in the slips by Manzoor Chaudhary and at cover by Salman Choudhary off fellow Albertan Amjad Shehzad as the CCA raced away at eight runs an over. When Davison was eventaully dismissed by Henry Osinder for 30 it was left to Zubin Surkari to resist the OCA spin attack of Dhaniram and Zahid Hussain with some entertaining strokes as his team cantered to a comfortable six wicket win.

The Festival, designed to help the national selectors pick the final 14 for the ICC Trophy in Ireland, could hardly have told them anything new. But the overall poor batting on a hard pitch that provided something for everyone, as well as a fast outfield, must have provided cause for serious concern.

Match 2: Series tied after last wicket fireworks

23 May 2005

OCA

An improbable 68-run last wicket partnership between Edmonton all-rounder Salman Choudhary and Toronto spinner Zahid Hussain provided the foundation for a 24-run victory by the OCA President's X1 over the CCA President's X1 in the second game of the Victoria Day Cricket Festival at King City Sunday.

The best-of-three series showcasing Canada's elite players is now tied 1-1 following the CCA's 108-run thumping of the OCA X1 on Saturday.

Coming together with their team facing annihilation at 108-9 the pair were a study in contrasts. Hussain, not known for his batting prowess, defended dourly while Choudhary belted the bowling to all parts of the field and was 44 not out when the innings closed at 171.

British Columbian left arm spinner Kevin Sandher was the best of the bowlers with 4-38 including the wicket of Don Maxwell, smartly stumped by former Sri Lankan Test wicketkeeper Pubudu Dassanayake for a duck.

The CCA X1 was in early trouble as Dassanayake himself went for a duck, caught by Salman Choudhary at short cover off opening bowler George Codrington. Wickets fell steadily thereafter as Codrington and Maxwell probed the corridor of uncertainty with their outswingers, backed up by attacking fieldplacing by skipper Ishwar Maraj.

Although Jason Patraj (38) and late substitute player Sunil Jethi (41) kept the CCA X1 in the hunt, their middlew order batsmen, including first day standouts Haninder Dhillon and Iain Dixon who went cheaply, were then kept on a tight leash by left arm spinners Sunil Dhaniram and Zahid Hussain. Dhaniram followed up his superb bowling on the first day - where his 10 overs cost only 15 runs - with 4-28 off 10 overs. Hussain was just as miserly as his two wickets in 9.2 overs cost only 16 runs.

Dhaniram received the Man-of-the-Match award for his bowling and his 31-run innings from former West Indies fast bowler Tom Dewdney.

The Festival winds up on Monday, Victoria Day.

Match 1: Dhillon's 65 anchors easy CCA win

22 May 2005

Dave Liverman with contributions from OCA

Of course the result was irrelevant, but the CCA President's XI squad overwhelmed the OCA squad in the first game of three at King City. After the CCA had posted a total of 272, the OCA squad were bowled out for 164, batting just 37.5 overs.

John Davison won the toss and chose to bat, but the CCA President's XI got off to a poor start when Sajeeve Fernando was run out for a duck - hopefully he wil have another chance to display his ability in later matches. Dassanayake was next to go after taking the total to 49 when he was caught by Maxwell, and the unfortunate Manitoban, Jayaram, was stumped first ball. The selects looks to be in some trouble at 49/3, but Iain Dixon (42) and Haninder Dhillon (65) put together a solid partnership, taking the total to 126 before Dixon was bowled by Dhaniram. Surkari (45) helped continue to build a solid total, and the innings closed at 272/7. Man-of-the-Match Dhillon played strokes all around the wicket in an impressive innings. The total was boosted by 61 extras including 40 wides. The main contributor to the extras total was Amjad Shehzad, with 13 wides and a no-ball. The OCA President's XI used 8 bowlers, with Don Maxwell taking 3 wickets. George Codrington conceded just 27 runs from 10 overs, and Dhaniram just 15 runs from 10 overs.

The CCA quicks, Sanjay Thuraisingham and Umar Bhatti, backed by aggressive field-placing by skipper John Davison, made early inroads into the OCA batting, reducing them to 35/5. The first five batsmen - Desmond Chumney, Ishwar Maraj, Manzoor Chaudhary, Nicholas Ifill and Sunil Dhaniram - failed to reach double figures. It was only a robust partnership between skipper George Codrington (45) and Don Maxwell (38) that restored any respectability to the OCA total before John Davison mopped up the tail. Davison took 2 wickets for three runs, Thuraisingham 3/24, and Bhatti 3/46.

Dixon apart, most of the better performances came from established current or former members of the national squad but the are two more opportunities to impress the selectors. The matches continue at King City on a rock-hard turf pitch on Sunday and Monday.

The teams

CCA PRESIDENT'S X1: Pubudu Dassanayake, John Davison, Iain Dixon, Sajeeve Fernando, Haninder Dhillon, Kevin Sandher (B.C.), Suresh Jayaram (Manitoba), Zubin Surkari, Umar Bhatti, Andrew Chatterpaul, Sanjay Thuraisingham.

OCA PRESIDENT'S X1: George Codrington, Ishwar Maraj, Desmond Chumney, Nicholas Ifill, Asif Mulla, Sunil Dhaniram, Henry Osinde, Don Maxwell (Ontario), Manzoor Chaudhary, Amjad Shehzad (Alberta)