February 2010

Going cricket crazy; Residents rally to raise $76,000 toward the opening of a new pitch in North Etobicoke (National Post) -- Posted Saturday, February 27 2010

Saturday, February 27th, 2010

Follow Kipling Avenue to the top of the city, and just beyond, and you'll find yourself in a barren field framed by hydro towers and hulking high rises. There's not a whisper of the cricket fandom that will descend upon it; the ground is still frozen.

But come spring, the earth will move, the sod will roll out and the bleachers will rise. Then it's up to the youngsters. And the adults. And this whole cricket-loving community that has pitched in to build the top line Thackeray Park cricket pitch, only the second in the city.

Cricket in Toronto? Some call it the fastest growing sport in the city. Like soccer before it, the dynamic waves of immigrants settling here continue to transform the playing field, challenging anew the notion that this is a hockey town. To be sure, the recent debate over ice allocation at city arenas underscores how hockey remains supreme in some quarters, but in Scarborough, enrollment is plummeting. And in Councillor Suzan Hall's North Etobicoke ward, teens are lining up to try out for high school cricket. "As the population changes, the strong interest in any particular sport changes," Ms. Hall said yesterday.

North Etobicoke's large South Asian and Caribbean population provides fertile ground for cricket to expand, and local heroes to shine. Take Akash Shah, a 17-year-old cricket phenom at North Albion Collegiate Institute, who travelled to England as part of the Mayor's 2008 "Cricket Across the Pond" team. The program took 14 youth to practice and play against U.K. teams. Akash and his family moved from India, the land of countless cricket pitches, four years ago, and he did not even consider the sport an option in Canada.

Now he regularly suits up with his pals and anxiously awaits the opening of Thackeray Park's cricket pitch, which generated lively debate at city council this week, on 3.7 acres donated by the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority.

"The pitch itself is a great idea, and having it here too, because there are so many people moving in every day," Akash said. "Young guys like us are being exposed to the sport we love back home."

North Albion coach Ammer Askary has witnessed a surge of enthusiasm for a sport that dominated his Pakistani household, even if his heart always belonged to basketball. North Albion has seven or eight teams a year, indoor and outdoor, and he's been called on to explain the basics to schools like Etobicoke Collegiate Institute, in the Kingsway area. "Cricket is where it's at in [North Etobicoke]" he said. Akash's trip overseas is "when kids started noticing that cricket can take you places."

It was about two years ago when Fred Morgan, president of the Elmbank Sports Club, turned to Ms. Hall and asked her about a pitch. So, when the city earmarked $200,000 to build a sports ground for the Jamestown-Rexdale community, a "priority" neighbourhood that grapples with crime, poverty and unemployment, the choice of sports was easy.

"There were questions about whether there would be interest in the community and I said that wasn't going to be a problem," chuckled Ms. Hall. Her pride is clear when she talks about the $76,000 community-raised funds — $50,000 from police, $10,000 from the Ontario Cricket Association, $5,000 from a huge gospel concert organized by a local church, another $5,000 from a tournament. Hundreds more have come from barbecues. "You have to realize, I do not live in a wealthy community," Ms. Hall said.

The city is contributing $600,000 for the first phase, which is slated to start construction this spring, and could be open for play by the end of the summer. (Another $350,000 will be spent to connect sewers for water fountains and toilets in the second phase, a plan that received vocal opposition from some councillors this week, who said the money should come out of the priority neighbourhood pot, not a water budget surplus).

"It will uplift the community," said Mr. Morgan, who played cricket as a boy in his native Jamaica.

Mike Kendall, president of the Ontario Cricket Association, says Toronto's changing demographics contribute to the resurgence of a sport that was once at the national fore. In the GTA, league enrollment has nearly tripled in five years (although at 5,000 players, cricket doesn't hold a candle to the more than 35,000 hockey participants in the Greater Toronto Hockey League ), and that does not count the 1,000 Ontario schools that have introduced the sport. A shorter game that wraps up in three hours (instead of five days) has contributed to increasing popularity.

"We just don't have enough grounds to cover all the teams that have come up," said Mr. Kendall, who is talking with the city about converting lonely baseball diamonds into cricket grounds.

There is not enough land available to make Thackeray Park meet international pitch size, but it will be natural turf, critical for a game that relies on a delicate field.

"That the city of Toronto actually cared to put so much money into building it" says a lot, said Akash Shah. "It's more so for the people, helping them out to love the community that they live in."

Cricket at Vancouver 2010! -- Posted Thursday, February 25 2010
Melbourne's Age newspaper reports....

"A classic catch
OUTSIDE Australia's rooms at the Whistler athletes village is a patch of grass, a rarity. Two days before the Games, two Australians who work in maintenance at the resort fashioned a bat and a set of stumps out of timber, unearthed a rubber ball and set it all up on the lawn. Its purpose was chiefly symbolic, to announce this as Australia's home. It was a breach of protocol, of course; the only approved signage is the Boxing Kangaroo. Anyway, as the Games have progressed the makeshift cricket pitch has been put to practical use. Two days ago, a game was in progress when our man happened by. A thick edge came his way, and the instincts born of years of indoor cricket could not be resisted. He reached, slipped, fell on the point of his elbow, and his collarbone snapped. Whether he took the catch has not been disclosed. He was treated at the clinic in Whistler alongside Australia's bruised and battered bobsledders. His arm is in a sling, and will be for six weeks. Murray Brust, press attache to the AOC, mostly tells the athletes' stories on the AOC website. Suddenly, he was the story."

Afghans crush Canadian hopes with historic win (CricketEurope) -- Posted Tuesday, February 23 2010
Afghanistan resumed the final day of the ICC match against Canada facing what seemed an insurmountable task of attaining a massive target of 494. Realistically just surviving the day to draw the match would be a monumental achievement.
However as the day progressed, Canadian hopes tumbled as the Afghans batted their way to an astonishing victory, thanks to a superb unbeaten innings of 215 from Mohammad Shahzad, well supported by Nowroz Mangal (70) and Mohammad Nabi (80). The Canadian bowlers toiled all day but only captured four wickets, and the Afghans scored at 4.5 runs per over. They made light of making 182 in the final session of the day, and cruised home with two overs to spare.
CricInfo scorecard
Cricket Europe reportsat tea...
Afghanistan’s batsmen made it abundantly clear at the Sharjah CA Stadium on Tuesday that the word ‘draw’ does not appear in the Pashto cricket dictionary, but by the tea interval it was looking increasingly likely that that would be the outcome of their Intercontinental Cup match against Canada.

With just the final session left, the Afghans had reached 312 for three, still needing 182 to pull off an improbable victory. There are a minimum of 30 overs still to be bowled, including at least 16 in the last hour, but with the scoring rate having eased a little in the afternoon session the odds on the draw must be shortening by the minute.

Still, with Mohammad Shahzad still there and on 133 not out, with Mohammad Nabi at the other end and some talented batsmen yet to come, it would be premature to write off the Afghan run chase.

Faced with making 454 from a minimum of 96 overs on the final day of their Intercontinental Cup match against Canada, they had reached 184 for two by lunch, having added 144 runs – not far short of the 150-plus per session which they would need to made in order to pull off an extraordinary victory – in the session for the loss of openers Karim Khan and Noor Ali.

Many teams would have been content to settle for the draw, but Karim and Noor Ali started the day in aggressive mode, hitting a succession of boundaries against seamers Rizwan Cheema and Khurram Chauhan, and then against the spinners.

The attacking style, which is the only way he knows how to bat, eventually undid Karim, who took ten from three deliveries from Cheema and then holed out off the next. He had made 42 from 55 balls, with seven fours.

Mohammad Shahzad joined Noor Ali on the attack, however, and it began to look as if, without the injured Umar Bhatti, Ash Bagai’s gamble in not enforcing the follow-on on Monday might seriously backfire.

Rescue came in the form of the experienced spinners Sunil Dhaniram and Sandeep Jyoti, who managed to stem the flow of boundaries, especially once Dhaniram had removed Noor Ali for a well-made 52.

The scoring was for a time restricted to ones and twos, and gradually Canada regained control of the situation. Nowrooz Mangal, in particular, was initially subdued, although towards the lunch interval he, too, began to open his shoulders, hitting each of the bowlers for a six. Shahzad had been equally restricted for ten overs or so, but he worked his way to his half-century and by lunch was on 65 not out.

Shahzad and Nowrooz continued until half an hour before tea, their partnership extending to an Afghan record of 163 before Nowrooz, on 70, hit a return catch to Ramesh David. The Canadian bowlers had largely cut out the boundaries, but so well did the batsmen milk the spinners that they still managed to go along at not much under five an over.

If Shahzad’s century has been a superb marathon effort for his side, Canada had its own hero in Jyoti, who bowled a remarkable 21-over spell either side of lunch, conceding just 87 runs. Only after Shahzad had posted his hundred did he start to go after the off-spinner, but in the meantime the flow of the Afghan innings had to a considerable degree been staunched.

LSM Insurance Cricket for Haiti Launched -- Posted Monday, February 22 2010
The Cricket Champions League launched the 'LSM Insurance Cricket for Haiti'
February 20, 2010 at the North Albion Collegiate Institute and February 21,
2010 at the Malvern Community Centre to ensure a citywide Cricket initiative
to raise awareness and funds for Haiti.

Approx 200 people including Under-19 and Women cricket players, participated and attended the launch on the West-end and East-end of Toronto.

Present at the launch were Mohan (Mike) Kendall, President, Ontario Cricket
Association, Jim Persad, Secretary, Ontario Cricket Association, Rita Jethi,
Director, Ontario Womens Cricket, Lorne Marr, President, LSM Insurance, Aman Kapur, Sr. Consultant, LSM Insurance, Priti Lamba, Candidate for MP,
Conservative Party.

LSM Insurance Cricket for Haiti at North Albion Collegiate Institute will be
played over 8 weeks with its final game April 24.

The LSM Insurance Cricket for Haiti at Malvern Community Centre will be
played over 3 weeks with its final game March 7.

The contests over the weekend were exciting and the intensity is expected to

Canada take control on Day 3 of ICC match (CricInfo) -- Posted Monday, February 22 2010
Afghanistan in battle for survival
Cricinfo staff

February 22, 2010

Afghanistan 40 for no loss (Sadiq 29*, Ali 11*) and 264 (Noori 60, Nabi 48*, Nitish 3-58) need another 454 to beat Canada 566 and 191 for 4 decl (Bastiampillai 73, Jyoti 35)

Canada tightened control on an eventful third day against Afghanistan in Sharjah, setting them a mammoth target of 494. Canada's bowlers will hope to replicate their effort, as they bowled out Afghanistan for 264 to secure a first-innings lead of 202. Opting to not impose the follow-on, Canada returned to bat to extend their advantage and declared at 191 for 4, scoring in quick time to leave themselves with more than a day to bowl out the opposition.

Afghanistan would have expected more from their batsman, especially as they promised a far better display. Shabir Noori, the opener, had remained unbeaten on 46 at stumps on the second day, but added just 14 more on the third. The case was similar for the rest of the top and middle order; the first eight batsmen reached double-figures, but, appallingly, only one, Noori, managed to convert that into a half-century. Mohammad Nabi remained unbeaten on 48, but couldn't draw much support from the lower order as the innings folded for 264. Offspinner Nitish Kumar grabbed three for 58, and was backed up by Umar Bhatti and Sandeep Jyoti who bagged two each.

Canada needed quick runs once they decided against the follow-on, and opener Trevin Bastiampillai gave them a sound start, making 73 off 93 and striking six boundaries. Jyoti and Ramesh David then put on a brisk half-century stand in under eight overs to stretch Canada's lead to 493. Their bowlers did take a shot at Afghanistan, but the openers ensured there was no damage, reaching 40 without loss at stumps. The task tomorrow, however, remains stiff.

Sunil Dhaniram puts Canada in control (CricInfo) -- Posted Monday, February 22 2010

Cricinfo staff
February 21, 2010

Afghanistan 110 for 3 (Noori 46*, Stanikzai 24) trail Canada 566 (Dhaniram 130, Bagai 93, Shenwari 4-118) by 456 runs
Canada consolidated their dominant position against Afghanistan by piling on 566, and nipping out three wickets before the close of play on the second day. Canada's was a combined batting effort, led by Sunil Dhaniram's 130, which included 17 fours and a six. His knock was backed up by important contributions; the last four wickets added 221 with each of the last four batsmen managing 20-plus scores. Ten batsmen in Afghanistan's innings reached double-digits, and the extras furthered their tally by 34 runs.

Canada built on a strong performance on the first day by Ashish Bagai, who had helped steer his team to 350 for 6 and Dhaniram, together with the lower order, got them to a score greater than what they would have expected at the start of the second day.

For Afghanistan, legspinner Samiullah Shenwari grabbed 4 for 118, but the bowlers were handled quite comfortably as Canada reached a virtually invincible position. In reply, Shabir Noori held one end together with an unbeaten 46 but lost three partners, including captain Nowroz Mangal, as his side finished on 110 for 3 at stumps.

Cricket Canada/ Cricket BC to install turf wickets at Abbotsford -- Posted Saturday, February 20 2010



Vancouver, British Columbia – February 18, 2010

Cricket Canada in association with Cricket British Columbia is issuing a call for tender for the
installation of turf wicket facilities at the Abbotsford Recreation Ground (ARG) in Abbotsford,
British Columbia.

The Project:
In spring 2010, Cricket Canada and Cricket BC will install a turf square (5 strips) at the existing
facility at the ARG.

Scope of Work and Contractor Responsibility:
1. Construction of four (4) turf pitches (squares) which will include labour, machinery
rental, all required materials and transportation;
2. Soil testing and analysis of the clay % and sand %; Soil content must be approved by
Cricket Canada before proceeding with the further phases of work
3. Digging of up to 5 feet deep or as required to ensure proper drainage system;
4. Disposal of all soil excavated;
5. Practice pitches -digging and removal of soil 50 x 35 x 1 feet deep and infill with pre-
approved clay mixture;
6. Transportation of materials;
7. Transportation of soil to ARG;
8. Purchase of grass seed. Grass type must be approved by Cricket Canada
9. Repair of any damage to the outfield by large equipment, trucks or anything else that
may cause damage to the field or city property at ARG.
10. Training of four (4) grounds-persons on how to maintain the turf wickets. Written
documentation is to be provided to Cricket British Columbia and Cricket Canada.
11. All required permitting as dictated by the City of Abbotsford
12. All necessary insurances for yourself as well as any subcontractors that you may hire to
complete this project.
13. Providing a milestone driven schedule to Cricket Canada for approval prior to the
commencement of the project
14. Provide technical support for up to 24 months following the completion of the project

Tenders should be delivered in hard copy to the Cricket Canada office c/o Chandra Gocool -
Chief Executive Officer no later than noon (12:00 PM E.S.T.) March 1, 2010.

Cricket Canada is the national governing body for cricket in Canada and is dedicated to fostering
the growth and development of cricket throughout Canada. For further information on Cricket
Canada and its initiatives, please review our website www.gocricketgocanada.com
Chandra Gocool
Cricket Canada
416.426.7285 (P)
416.426.7172 (F)

Cricket BC is a member of Cricket Canada and the governing body for Cricket in British Columbia.
It is dedicated to the governance and growth of the game in the province of British Columbia.
For further information on Cricket BC, please contact the undersigned.
Vimal Hardat
Cricket British Columbia
778.242.7653 (P)


Bagai leads strong performance in IC Cup match v Afghans (CricInfo) -- Posted Saturday, February 20 2010

Cricinfo staff

Canada 350 for 6 (Bastiampillai 55, Kumar 74, Bagai 93) v Afghanistan

Afghanistan's maiden first-class game on their now official home ground - Sharjah - got off to a poor start with Canada's top order piling on the runs on the opening day of their ICC Intercontinental Cup match. Ashish Bagai top-scored, but missed out on a century, and there were half-centuries from Trevin Bastiampillai and Nitish Kumar as Canada reached 350 for 6 by stumps.

Canada's openers, Sandeep Jyoti and Bastiampillai, added 61 before Jyoti was dismissed by Mohammad Nabi for 32. Kumar then joined Bastiampillai for another protective stand for the second wicket, worth 50, but the innings' best alliance was between Kumar and his captain Bagai. They added 155 but Canada were jolted when both fell in consecutive overs, leaving the innings on 271 for 4. Bagai had made 93 before he was caught by Samiullah Shenwari off Mirwais Ashraf.

Ramesh David and Sunil Dhaniram were building another useful stand when Shenwari struck two blows late in the day, bowling David and trapping Jimmy Hansra lbw, to raise Afghanistan's spirits. Canada, who were on 266 for 2 at one stage, finished on 350 for 6.

Khurram Chohan leads Canada to victory (CricInfo) -- Posted Thursday, February 18 2010
Afghanistan v Canada, Sharjah, 2nd ODI

Cricinfo staff
February 18, 2010

Canada 178 for 6 (Bagai 52, Nabi 2-23) beat Afghanistan 177 (Nabi 62, Chohan 4-43) by four wickets

Afghanistan's fairytale run of success finally crashed down to earth with a chastening four-wicket defeat to Canada in the second match of the series in Sharjah. They never recovered from a disastrous start that saw Khurram Chohan destroy the top order, leaving Afghanistan floundering at 4 for 3 by the third over, on his way to match-winning figures of 4 for 43.

It was due reward for Chohan who's four wickets in the opening fixture so nearly took Canada to victory. He started the day by claiming Shafiqullah Shafiq and last game's centurion Mohammad Shahzad in his first over, before following it up with Nowroz Mangal and debutant Shabir Noori to leave Afghanistan 38 for 5 and in utter disarray.

He was well supported by Rizwan Cheema and Umar Bhatti, who took two wickets each with their nagging seamers. It was only a 51-run sixth-wicket stand and Mohammad Nabi's well-constructed 62 that gave Afghanistan any semblance of respectability. Nabi played in the way he does best, belting five sixes and three fours during his 57-ball stay. Dominating a last-wicket stand with Aftab Alam, the pair added 49 to take Afghanistan to 177.

It didn't look enough and despite being reduced to 35 for 2 after 10 overs Canada were careful not to undo their good work. Sandeep Jyoti and captain Ashish Bagai, who richly deserved a win after making an unbeaten 91 in the first game, worked the ball around nicely during an 82-run stand that all but sealed the game. Jyoti made a patient 38 before he fell to Aftab Alam, while Bagai continued his good form striking five boundaries during his 59-ball 52.

Nabi threatened to cause a late scare when he took two wickets in the 35th over, reducing Canada to 144 for 6, still 34 runs short of the target, but Jawad Dawood came out and immediately arrested the momentum and any hopes of a fightback. He crashed 25 from 19 balls to give Canada their first win of the series.

Brampton cricket confusion (South Asian Focus) -- Posted Thursday, February 18 2010
Same name causes cricket chaos
Wednesday February 17 2010

GTA cricket players are facing a confusing situation after two different leagues with a similar name are battling to earn the right to host league matches in the upcoming season.
The confusion arose when a group of former board members of Brampton-Etobicoke&District Cricket League (B-EDCL, formerly EDCL) incorporated the same names - both B-EDCL and EDCL - and alleged the old league was operating as an unregistered body for the last 30-odd years.

The new EDCL is now striving to host the upcoming season's league matches, overshadowing more than the decades old and one of the biggest leagues in Toronto.

Led by its CEO James Douglas, the new league's board members were recently thrown out of the B-EDCL over some conflicts with its president, Praim Persaud.

In the current developments, Douglas has not only registered and incorporated both EDCL and B-EDCL, but has also succeeded in acquiring the Ontario Cricket Association's associate membership for EDCL; he has also approached the City of Toronto seeking playing fields in Etobicoke for the upcoming cricketing season.

The OCA president, Mike Kendal, confirmed Douglas' EDCL has acquired associate membership in cricket's governing body in Ontario. "They (the new EDCL) met all the requirements, such as registered and non-profit league, and for now we have given them associate membership.

"We will be reviewing their performance for a certain period before giving them full membership," Kendall told Focus.

Douglas is threatening to take legal action if "the registered names of EDCL or B-EDCL are misused".

"If anybody tries to misuse the names of B-EDCL or EDCL, we will file a lawsuit against him," said Douglas.

Added Dave Simpson, another board member of the new B-EDCL and EDCL: "The league under the leadership of Praim Persaud is not a registered body, and therefore has no legal entity, and has no financial accountability to its members."

Douglas is hopeful of acquiring grounds in Etobicoke as more than 90 per cent of his membership is from that area. He further said his league has no interest in hosting a league in Brampton, but added: "We can't let anybody misuse the name of B-EDCL in Brampton."

On the other hand, the old B-EDCL promises to bring 2010 league matches and is urging its players to ignore misleading information and register their teams as soon as possible.

Asked to comment on these allegations Praim Persaud, without confirming whether his league is registered or not, threatened to take legal action against this scribe if the story is published.

Persaud wrote in an email: "This leagues has been in existence for over 40 Years and for the 20 Plus Years that I have been its president - we have had an ANNUAL AUDIT Financial Statement - every single year - PERIOD (sic).

"It is a NON-PROFIT Organization and will always be (sic)," the email further said in capital letters.

Canada beat Afghanistan in 2nd ODI -- Posted Thursday, February 18 2010
A devastating opening spell by Khurram Chohan led Canada to a convincing win in the second one-day international against Afghanistan in Sharjah. After being 38/5 the Afghans recovered to total 177. Skipper Bagai's half century, well supported by Jyoti and Dawood set up a 4 wicket win with over 10 overs to spare

Bagai won the toss again, and again asked the Afghans to bat but it was a very different story from Tuesday's encounter. The game started quietly as Karim Khan Sadeq took a boundary from Baidwan's opening over but then Khurram Chohan struck twice in his second over. Baidwan clean bowled Karim, and Afghanistan were 4/3 after just 14 balls. Two catches from Bagai behind the wicket gave Chohan his 3rd and 4th scalps, and Afghanistan were 38/5. Asghar Stanikzai and Rees Ahmadzai however stopped the rot with a steady partnership of 51. Mohammad Nabi then played an invaluable innings of 62, hitting out to great effect at the end of his innings. He and Aftab Alam (6*) put on 49 for the last wicket, and the final total of 177, although not challenging, will give the Afghan bowlers something to work with. Chohan gave up runs in his second spell (including three sixes from Nabi) but still had impressive figures of 4/43, and Bhatti and Cheema took two wickets each.

When Canada started their reply, there was the unusual sight of two spinners sharing the new ball. This ploy worked out well, as Cheema, far less comfortable against spin than pace, was bowled by Karim Khan Sadeq for 8. Bastiampillai made a promising start but again fell after being established, caught for 18. Bagai came in and immediately played positively, taking three fours from an Aftab Alam over. Bagai and Jyoti put together a solid partnership, and took the total to 115 before Jyoti (38) was bowled. Bagai reached his fifty in the 30th over, and Canada needed just 52 off 20 overs. However the game got interesting when Bagai was lbw for 52, and Dhaniram and Bhatti fell in the same over- 144/6, and four wickets had fallen for 27 runs. Dawood came in to play his first one-day international innings and showed not a touch of nerves, hitting his second and fourth ball for six. He struck two further boundaries in his 25 from 17 balls, and Canada passed the Afghan total with four wickets and 10.4 overs to spare.

Cricinfo scorecard

LSM Insurance 'Cricket for Haiti' launches Feb 20 -- Posted Tuesday, February 16 2010
Mohan (Mike) Kendall, President, Ontario Cricket Association, will launch the "LSM Insurance Cricket for Haiti" tournament Saturday February 20, 2010 at 12 Noon at North Albion Collegiate Institute, 2580 Kipling Ave, Toronto, ON M9V 3B2

LSM Insurance (www.lsminsurance.ca), the prime sponsor will be represented at the launch by President Lorne Marr and Senior Insurance Consultant Aman Kapur. The tragedy in Haiti has hit close to home at LSM with key personnel being from Haiti.

The Cricket Champions League (Affiliate Member: Ontario Cricket Association) will be hosting the "LSM Insurance 'Cricket for Haiti", commencing Saturday February 20, 2010. The league tournament will feature 6 teams playing over 8 weeks to raise awareness and funds for the disaster relief effort in Haiti.

"LSM Insurance Cricket for Haiti" League dates: Feb. 20, Feb. 27, March 6, March 27, April 3, April 10, April 17, April 24).

Location: North Albion Collegiate Institute, 2580 Kipling Ave, Toronto, ON M9V 3B2

For information, please contact haiti@cricketchampions.ca or call 416.898.7989

Last-ball heroics take Afghanistan home (CricInfo) -- Posted Tuesday, February 16 2010

Cricinfo staff
February 16, 2010

Afghanistan 289 for 6 (Shahzad 118, Ali 114, Chohan 4-39) beat Canada 288 for 8 (Bagai 91, Cheema 61, Shenwari 4-31) by one run

Afghanistan needed a dramatic last-ball run out to edge a thriller against Canada after Ashish Bagai almost carried the underdogs to victory. The packed crowd of Afghanistan supporters, still in full voice following the team's triumph in the World Twenty20 qualifiers, were treated to a fluctuating spectacle of 50-over cricket at its clammy-palmed best as a spirited Canada side came within a whisker of causing an upset.

Chasing an unlikely 289 to win, Canada had timed the chase superbly, needing 38 from the final six overs with captain Ashish Bagai well set on 70, four wickets intact and a Powerplay still in hand. They took full advantage of the first over of fielding restrictions, with Bagai clubbing Shapoor Zadran for two fours and a two to take the equation to 25 from 30 balls.

But the 46th over proved a dramatic turning point as Samiullah Shenwari targeted the tail-ender Umar Bhati and pulled off a crucial maiden, conceding just two leg byes. Karim Sadiq and Mohammad Nabi restricted the next three overs to just 15 to leave a tantalising eight required from the final six balls.

Khurram Chohan managed to get Bagai on strike with a single from the first ball, but Nabi held his nerve and conceded just three of the next four. With four runs needed for victory from the last ball Chohan managed to force it away and scamper two but Bagai was run out by attempting a match-levelling single in a thrilling climax to the game.

It was a cruel end for Bagai who made 91 and, alongside fifties from Rizwan Cheema and Sunil Dhaniram, threatened to carry Canada to victory. Bagai only hit five boundaries as he instead worked the ball around cleverly and ran hard during his 99-ball stay. It was in sharp contrast to Cheema who launched the run chase with a series of boundaries. He butchered Afghanistan's opening bowlers, blazing 11 fours and two sixes on his way to 65 from just 35 balls.

His dashing half-century arrested the momentum which looked firmly Afghanistan's after Noor Ali, the hero from the crucial qualifying game against UAE, and Mohammad Shahzad made rapid hundreds to set up the game for Afghanistan. Shahzad followed up his sterling performance in the final of the World Twenty20 Qualifier with a Man-of-the-Match-earning 118, batting at No. 3 after Sadiq was defeated by Chohan in the third over for a duck.

Together with Ali the pair added 205 in 36 overs as they punished the Canada bowlers. Ali ended up with 114, and in contrasting style to some of his more stodgy knocks in the Twenty20, he was in full flow, stroking two sixes and 11 fours in his 127-ball stay. Chohan was the only Canada bowler to end with any real credit finishing with 4 for 39 from his 10 overs.

Afghanistan, it seems, are irrepressible at the moment but Canada will take great heart from this performance going into the next game on February 18.

Canada lose to Afghanistan in thrilling finish -- Posted Tuesday, February 16 2010
Canada's less than successful tour of the Middle East continued with a 50-over loss to the rapidly improving Afghans. Twin centuries from Noor Ali and Mohammad Shahzad allowed Afghanistan to post a big total, and despite a fine innings from skipper Bagai, Canada fell agonizingly short. Bagai was run out for 91 from the last ball of the 50th over, trying for the run that would tie the match.

Canada fielded a side with two debutants, Jimmy Hansra and Usman Limbada making thier first appearances.

Canada put the Afghans in to bat, and Chohan made the first breakthrough with the score on 6. That was Canada's last success for a while as Noor Ali and 18 year old Mohammad Shahzad built a big partnership. Bagai tried nine bowlers but no-one made much of an impression on the young Afghan pair. Both completed half-centuries as the runs began to pile up and the hundred, then the 150 partnership went by. Mohammad Shahzad's hundred came off 107 balls with 8 fours and two sixes- his second century in just his third one-day international. The partnership reached 205 before Mohammad Shahzad was caught for 118. Noor Ali also reached his century before Karram Chohan had him caught for his third wicket, and Canada did well to restrict the Afghans to 27 from the last five overs. Karram Chohan's figures of 4/39 were excellent in the circumstances.

In reply Canada got off to a bright start with surprisingly Bastiampillai outscoring Cheema and contributing 33 to an opening partnership of 59 in just 6.5 overs. He was lbw to Samiullah Shenwari, but Cheema took up the charge, as Canada kept up a run rate of 9/over. Cheema reached his half century from 30 balls, with 9 fours and two sixes. Patel contributed just 3 to a 36 run partnership before he was bowled by Mohammad Nabi. Cheema reached 61 from 35 balls before being bowled, leaving Canada at 105/3 after 12 overs. Jyoti contributed just 1, but with such a rapid start, Bagai and Dhaniram had the liberty of playing with a degree of caution and took the total to 158 without further loss after 25 overs. The partnership passed 100 and Dhaniram reached his sixth one-day international 50 in the 33rd over. When Dhaniram was dismissed, Canada needed 74 runs from 15 overs with 5 wickets remaining. Limbada joined Bagai and they made steady progress towards the target, with the run rate required around a run/ ball as the final 10 overs started. Limbada fell for 12 setting up the prospect of a close finish.
Bhatti helped Bagai take the total to within 22 runs of victory when he was unfortunately run-out and from the last over Canada needed 8 to win. With Bagai failing to score from the third and fourth balls, and taking a single from the fifth, Canada needed three to tie, four to win off the last. Chohan did his best but failed to find the boundary, and Bagai was run-out for a superb 91 trying for the tying run. Samiullah Shenwari was the pick of the Afghan bowlers, taking four wickets with his leg-breaks.
CricInfo scorecard

Defeat to UAE ends Canada's disastrous 20-20 campaign -- Posted Thursday, February 11 2010
Canada's batting failed chasing a modest target set by UAE giving them a 0-3 record in the Associates 20-20 qualifier. A better bowling performance is some consolation but this loss to the weakest of the three opponents was highly disappointing.

UAE were restricted to 142/7 off their 20 overs, with Kharram Chohan leading the way with 3 wickets, and Dhaniram bowling his four overs for just 17 runs. A target of just over 7/ over was modest but Canada only lasted 16 overs, all out for just 100.
The pattern of poor starts continued when Cheema was run-out in the first over, and Davison followed in the next. Barnett, perhaps the one bright light in the Canadian batting this tournament made 19, and Bagai 21, but Bilcliff and Dhaniram went for ducks. Only contributions from Bhatti and Saad Bin Zafar helped the total to three figures. Saqib Ali took 2/9 from 3 overs, and Silva 2/7.

Canada now have to some time to re-build and consolidate before taking on an improving Afghan side in the Intercontinental Cup.

CricInfo scorecard

York University to take part in American College Championship -- Posted Wednesday, February 10 2010
This year's tournament will take place near Fort Lauderdale, Florida and will feature 19 teams from colleges and universities across the US playing in a T20 format. York University will be the only Canadian university in the competition.

‘The American College Cricket Spring Break Championship is scheduled for March 17-21 2010, at the Central Broward Regional Park (CBRP) near Ft. Lauderdale. The CBRP features an International Cricket Council ODI-certified cricket stadium. The Semis and the Finals will be played March 21 at the Stadium and be webcast live.’ Source: USA Cricket Association

If you’re interested in helping sponsor the York University students, please contact Mahjuj Jasim Sourav by email (mahjuj@gmail.com) or call 416 830 2636.

Canada out of 20-20 qualifiers after Kenyan rout -- Posted Wednesday, February 10 2010
Canada crashed out of the Associates 20-20 qualifiers after their sub-par total of 138 proved woefully inadequate as the Kenyans smashed the Canadian bowling to all corners of the ground, winning by 9 wickets in just 15 overs .
Canada batted first in their second match of the 20-20 qualifer, a must-win encounter with Kenya. They again got off to a pooor start as Davison fell for a golden duck in the first over. Cheema, thankfully recovered from yesterday's injury ,was aggressive as usual, hitting three sixes and two fours in a 22 ball innings of 32. Barnett (30) played another useful innings and put on 58 with Bagai (36). However the run rate never got much above 7/ over, and the last two overs were disastrous with 4 wickets in 8 balls.

The match seemed almost a carbon copy of yesterday's as the Kenyans got off to a flying start, hitting 64 off the first five overs, setting them well on their way to overhauling what quickly seemed to be a very modest target. Obanda reached a half century that included 9 boundaries off just 23 balls. He and Tikolo put on 124 runs before he was lbw to Dhaniram for a superb 79 off 48 balls. Dhaniram was the only bowler who was able to stem the torrent of runs and his figures of 1/16 off 4 overs were excellent in the circumstances. Tikolo reached his fifty and completed the Kenyan victory with a drive for four.

Canada now are out of contention for the next round, and will play UAE in their final match.

Cricinfo scorecard

Netherlands ease to 6 wicket win (CricInfo) -- Posted Tuesday, February 9 2010
(Zuiderent 43*, Kervezee 39) beat Canada 142 for 7 (Billcliff 37, Seelaar 2-18) by six wickets

Netherlands began their campaign at the World Twenty20 Qualifiers with a six-wicket win over Canada at the Dubai International stadium. Netherland's batting echoed their strong allround bowling performance, as Bas Zuiderent built on a solid 57-run opening partnership to guide his side home in the 20th over with an unbeaten 43.

Canada soon had reason to rue their decision to bat first this afternoon, as John Davison drove Edgar Schiferli uppishly and into the hands of a diving Tom de Grooth at cover in the first over. Rizwan Cheema then edged Mudassar Bukhari onto his own helmet attempting a pull and was forced to retire injured.

After these early setbacks, Hiral Patel - the 18-year-old batsman whose unbeaten 88 powered Canada's win over Ireland in the Associates T20 Series prior to this tournament - combined well with Geoff Barnett, adding 60 in quick time to steady the Canadian innings. Barnett, who was particularly strong off the front foot today, opened his innings with three fours off Schiferli and dominated the partnership with some aggressive strokeplay.

Barnett was unafraid to loft anything pitched up to him over the off side, but ultimately paid the price for his confidence as he picked out de Grooth on the cover boundary off the left-arm spin of Pieter Seelaar. Patel fell in the very next over to a stunning catch by Daan van Bunge off his own bowling, but Ian Billcliff carried on the momentum with a belligerent 37 on Twenty20 debut. Canada's innings fizzled out after his dismissal, and they will have been disappointed to have scored only 142 after an enterprising effort from their middle order.

Alexei Kervezee and Eric Szwarczynski smashed six boundaries between them in the first 13 balls of Netherlands' chase, and had raced to 50 in the first five overs before Khurram Chohan clung on to a chance at mid off to get rid of Szwarczynski. Kervezee then failed to pick up John Davison's doosra and was neatly stumped by Bagai, but with the required run rate under a run-a-ball, Zuiderent and Peter Borren had time to play themselves in.

After Borren's run out, Ryan ten Doeschate gave Zuiderent admirable support with a breezy 17, and though he fell off the final ball of the penultimate over, Zuiderent sealed the win by lofting a full toss from Chohan to the long off boundary. After a day of upsets in which USA and UAE prevailed in their games against more experienced opposition, the result here was the expected one and Netherlands will take some confidence into their fixture tomorrow.

Canada lose 20-20 qualifier opener -- Posted Tuesday, February 9 2010
As the Associates 20-20 qualifier opened, there were upsets across the board, with USA beating Scotland, UAE beating Kenya, and Afghanistan defeating Ireland. A Canada win over the Netherlands might be less of a surprise but an average batting performance from Canada condemned them to a 6 wicket defeat.

Canada got off to a dreadful start, with Davison falling in the first over, and then more worryingly Cheema retiring hurt after edging a short ball onto his head. Barnett and Patel made a spirited response, Barnett hitting six boundaries in his 36 from 20 balls, but both fell before the half way point when Canada were 73/3. Billcliff (37) and Bagai (14) made useful contributions, but Canada could not raise the tempo as wickets fell, totaling 142/7 from their 20 overs.

In reply the Dutch got off to a flying start, smashing 51 from the first five overs. From that point on, the Netherlands were well ahead of the run-rate, and despite good spells from Davison and Bhatti passed Canada's total with ease. Zuiderent top-scored with an unbeaten 43.

Canada now face Kenya in a must-win game tomorrow, whilst the Dutch play UAE.

CricketEurope photo gallery
Cricino scorecard

Associate nations eye Caribbean prize (CricInfo) -- Posted Monday, February 8 2010
Andrew McGlashan and Sahil Dutta
February 8, 2010

Two places are up for grabs the ICC World Twenty20 in West Indies when the qualifying tournaments gets underway in UAE on Tuesday. It is a major prize for the successful sides and Cricinfo takes a look at the eight teams chasing glory.

Group A
As the leading Associate nation, Ireland start the qualifying tournament as clear favourites and such has been their success in recent years that it would class as a shock if they didn't reach West Indies. At the last World Twenty20 in England they secured a Super Eight berth to follow their similar success at the 50-over World Cup two years previously. However, their production line of impressive players has come at a cost and they are suffering a drain towards county cricket and, ultimately, the England side which is a major hindrance to their future development. They have big plans for the future with an ambitious plan to become a Test nation, but that is a long way away and the Twenty20 arena (coupled with increasing exposure in one-day internationals) as their best route to firmly establishing themselves as the next-best outside the top nations.

One to watch Niall O'Brien - the hard-hitting wicketkeeper will open the batting and has the ability to launch the innings in style.

As one of the most experienced sides in the tournament Scotland will be hoping they can challenge fellow frontrunners Afghanistan and Ireland for the trophy and secure a third consecutive place at the World Twenty20. After a tough year in 2009 where they missed out on qualification to the 50-over World Cup, they have been in good form in the four-day Intercontinental Cup competition, where they top the table. They can draw on a wealth of experience in the squad and memories of last year's World Twent20 in England where they smashed 89 in seven overs to give New Zealand a scare in a rain-reduced fixture at The Oval. Led by Gavin Hamilton, who played a Test for England, they have a host of full-time professionals on their books who need to prove to a football-mad nation they are worth every penny.

One to watch Kyle Coetzer - He showed his potential when he butchered 33 off 15 balls against New Zealand and followed it up with 42 off 32 balls against South Africa a game later in the World Twenty20 last year. He has developed his game with County Champions Durham and will be key to Scotland's hopes of posting big totals.

Afghanistan are the romantics choice for the tournament and, after a sterling rise in international cricket over the last year, start with a strong chance of qualifying for the World Twenty20 which would continue their extraordinary story. Despite being mired in domestic turmoil the country has developed an insatiable taste for cricket and have enjoyed a superb start in the Intercontinental Cup, beating both the Netherlands and defending champions Ireland. They will take on USA on February 11, in an intriguing fixture that will reverberate throughout and beyond the cricketing world. They will start as favourites for that game but are placed in the difficult Group A and will also need to beat one of Scotland or Ireland to keep their dreams of playing in an international tournament alive.

One to watch Mohammad Nabi - His allround ability will be key to Afghanistan's chances. His hard-hitting approach in the middle order usually lifts the total and momentum for his side and his miserly, clever offspin bowling can strangles opposition line-ups.

USA remains one of the great untapped markets for cricket and Twenty20 offers the best route for the game to take hold, but the national team needs to play their part by performing which it hasn't often done. The ICC clearly see the potential if the game can spread in the USA and fast-tracked the team in the qualifying tournament when on purely cricketing terms they barely deserved to be involved. Their one appearance on the global stage was at the 2004 Champions Trophy when an ageing team was humbled and since them the game has gone backwards in the states largely due to poor administration, but Don Lockerbie, the new chief executive, has bold plans for Twenty20 tournaments, international matches in the States and even professionalism. To be taken seriously, though, they need to qualify for a major tournament and that is unlikely this time.

One to watch Lennox Cush - A former first-class cricketer with Guyana, Cush has come to fore in the world of Twenty20 and earned a place in the Stanford Superstar team and is now an important cog with bat and ball for USA.

Group B

The Dutch produced the shock result of 2009 - and one of the biggest upsets of all time - when they beat England in the opening match if the ICC World Twenty20 at Lord's. When Stuart Broad missed his final-ball run-out chance Netherlands secured the most famous victory in their history. With qualification secured for the 2011 World Cup, success in this tournament would make it a notable double for Netherlands and keep them firmly on the world stage. They probably find themselves in the slightly easier group and have the experience to keep themselves in contention. Following the retirement of Jeroen Smit the side will led by Peter Borren.

One to watch Ryan ten Doeschate - Netherlands' key player in both disciplines he brings with him a wealth of county experience and one of finest Associate cricketers in the world.

The previous powerhouse of Associate cricket, Kenya have slipped down the pack in recent years with off-field political issues coupled with a declining team on it. From their peak in 2003 when they reached the semi-final of the World Cup in South Africa, and had a chance to become the second-best side in Africa, it has been a steady decline. They failed to qualify for last year's World Twenty20 and controversy never seems to far away. However, they remain a talented team and have shown impressive form during the warm-up period with convincing victories against Scotland and Uganda during the recent tournament in Nairobi. The short nature of the qualifying event could suit Kenya as they only have to sustain their skills for a brief period. Expect them to be in the mix.

One to watch David Obuya - Kenya aren't short of shot-makers and Obuya leads the charge at the top. His recent form has been strong with two fifties in the tri-nations tournament and he averages 42.50 in T20 internationals.

Having secured a spot in the 50-over World Cup with an impressive display in the qualifiers last year, Canada will be hoping to continue their good form in the shortest format, and qualify for a tournament they are yet to compete in. They had a surprise win against tournament favourites Ireland in the Sri Lanka Associates T20 series, when 18-year-old debutant Hiral Patel clubbed an unbeaten 88 off 61 balls to set up victory. The side has a good blend of old heads and youngsters and could spring a surprise in Group B.

One to watch Ashish Bagai - Captain and wicketkeeper, Bagai was the player of the tournament in ICC World Cricket League Division One in 2007 and has two one-day international centuries to his name, against Scotland and Ireland.

Hosts and wildcard entrants United Arab Emirates (UAE) will be praying home advantage and an enthusiasm for the game can help them cause the odd upset or two when things get underway. They have been competitive in the 50-over game, reaching the super-eight stage of the World Cup qualifying tournament. Their most notable appearance in a global event came at the 1996 World Cup, but they also faced Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup.

One to watch Saqib Ali - He was named in 2007-08 Intercontinental Cup Team of the Year, and was the only player to score a century for his country at the ACC Trophy Elite event in 2008. With 326 runs, he was also the top run-scorer for the UAE at the Cricket World Cup Qualifiers in 2009 and will be the man UAE's batting will pivot on.

Twenty20 qualifier could pitch Dhaniram against brother (The National, UAE) -- Posted Monday, February 8 2010

Paul Radley

DUBAI // Dismissing Kevin Pietersen in a World Cup match would represent the pinnacle of achievement for many an international bowler, let alone one who only took up cricket late in life, having originally planned to earn his money as a welder.

Yet for Sunil Dhaniram there is one scalp still out there which might give him even greater satisfaction than that of England’s finest, whom he picked up in St Lucia in 2007.

If the fates allow it, the United States and Canada could advance from their groups to meet each other in the Super Four of the World Twenty20 qualifier, which starts in the UAE tomorrow.

Which would mean Dhaniram, Canada’s canny spin-bowler, will come into direct conflict with his brother, America’s opening batsman, Sudesh Dhaniram.

There will be no quarter given between them if the two players line-up against each other, even though Sunil admits he owes his elder sibling a large debt of gratitude.

“He was the one who really got me into cricket,” said Sunil, a 41-year-old left-arm spinner who earned Canadian citizenship in 2005.

“I wanted to go out all the time, but he was always very focused on his cricket training.

“He always used to tell me: ‘Cricket likes you, not the other way round’. I played for my under 15 side at school, then stopped as I wanted to learn a trade.

“I only started playing seriously again when I was 18. I used to have to bowl at him for hours and hours.”

Brother Sudesh, two years Sunil’s senior, was already carving out his own successful first-class career for Guyana, which later brought him a call-up to the West Indies A side.

“We never played against each other at school, as he only started playing cricket quite late,” added Sudesh, who opened the batting for Guyana alongside Clayton Lambert, who is now his coach in the US national team.

“I used to take him around with me when I played for Guyana. We went to Canada together for a year. He stayed but I preferred America and wanted to go and live there.”

Sudesh now lives in Queens in New York. He remains so focused on excelling at the sport he loves that even the inclement winter weather has not managed to stop him from preparing for his adopted nation’s trip to the emirates.

“There are quite a few indoor nets in the area,” added Sudesh, who has two other younger brothers – “they carry the bags” – as well as two sisters.

“You would be surprised how popular cricket is in America.”

The two nations which reach the final of this competition will advance to the main event in the West Indies, with some group matches set to be staged in the brothers’ native Guyana.

“That would be so great, having the chance to go back and see my old crowd and play in front of them,” said the Toronto-based Sunil.

He already has happy memories of playing on the world stage. At the 50-over version of the World Cup, which was also staged in the Caribbean three years ago, he was Canada’s star when they faced the professionals from England.

“I remember it clearly, First I got Ian Bell, then Ed Joyce. Then it was the big one, Kevin Pietersen. He was the No 1 player in the world. I was over the moon.”

Next victim: Sudesh Dhaniram. “Hopefully I will get to bowl at him.

“We started out together, and I always want to get the better of him.”

Canadian cricket blossoming (Sri Lanka Sunday Times) -- Posted Sunday, February 7 2010
By David Stephens

In Canada the sport of cricket enjoys a popularity which fluctuates geographically. In cities like Montreal and Vancouver, it has to play poor cousin to the county's other popular sports such as Ice Hockey, Baseball and Basketball. However in cities where there is a sizable Asian population, the sport is played passionately and continues to grow.

The Canadian national team has spent the latter part of January and the beginning of February battling the squads of Sri Lanka 'A, Ireland and Afghanistan in a number of One Day International and T20 matches held here in Sri Lanka.

Although they have suffered three heavy losses to a talented Sri Lankan 'A' team shouldering the likes of Farveez Maharoof, Tharanga Paranavithana and Chamara Kapugedera, their solitary loss to Afghanistan was likely to be a closely contested affair had the rain not arrived to award the Afghans victory via the Duckworth/ Lewis method.

The Canadians gave their best performance on this tour of Sri Lanka during a 50 over match against the Sri Lankan 'A' side, played at the Colts Cricket Club grounds in Colombo. During this 45 run Canadian loss, Pakistani born medium pacer Umar Bhatti displayed his abundant talent by capturing 3 wickets for just 22 runs. Moreover he scored a fighting 51 including 4 fours and 1 six which bolstered the Canadian innings.

Joining Bhatti on the wickets and half century list from that match were fast bowler Khurram Chohan, who gathered figures of 3-57, and right handed batsman Ashish Bagai, who scored a resilient 75.
Another player who is likely to stir reader interest is 24 year old Trevin Bastiampillai, who opened for Canada during this tour. Born on the sunny sands of Sri Lanka, this prodigious talent went on to represent Canada in the 2004 edition of the Under 19 World Cup. In 2005 during the ICC Americas under 19s tournament he bludgeoned 110 runs against a Bermuda side who sported a number of players who would later represent their country in the 2007 World Cup.

Two players within the Canadian ranks also play their cricket here in Sri Lanka. Medium pacer Henry Osinde represents Tamil Union Cricket and Athletic club and Harvir Baidwan, another medium pacer, plays for Colts Cricket Club.

Former Sri Lankan International, Pubudu Dassanayake, who has been coaching the side since 2007, says Canada is one young cricketing nation that does not suffer from a lack of infrastructure back home.
"We have 11 turf grounds and an indoor facility for when the winter season comes round. Right now it is winter actually, that is why we are touring in Sri Lanka at the moment," Dassanayake explained
Canada also has a well formulated club system for its club cricket. It has leagues for cricketers coming up from the under 13 age group right up to the professional level. Toronto houses the bulk of the country's cricket clubs but every province in the country does have a major cricketing league*.

Dassanayake expressed his gratitude to the Sri Lankan officials for organizing this tour saying it gave his players a chance to play against solid opposition. Canada will next head to Dubai to qualify for the T20 World Cup. Only the top two teams from their group will secure qualification.

* Canada Cricket online comment; every province excluding Newfoundland and Labrador and the Territories might be more accurate...I'd also be interested to see the 11 turf wickets the national coach talks of...

Canada loses to Irish in 20-20 warm-up -- Posted Sunday, February 7 2010
Canada were bowled out for 127 in response to Ireland's 138 in a pre-tournament fixture in Sharjah.
The match saw the return of veterans Davison and Billcliff to the team as well as Geff Barnett. Khurram Chohan (3/23) and Bhatti (2/17) were the best of the bowlers, as Ireland posted a modest total.

Barnett top scored with 21 in Canada's reply and Bhatti was unbeaten on 19 when the final wicket fell.

CricInfo card

Afghans squeeze a win over Canada -- Posted Thursday, February 4 2010
Afghans squeeze a win over Canada - just one ball to spare

Associates T20 Tournament in Sri Lanka
Feb 4, 2010:
Canada 140 for six wickets (20 overs) lost to Afghanistan 143 for five wickets (19.5 overs)

Afghanistan pulled off a five wicket win with just one ball to spare against Canada on Thursday in Colombo. Chasing Canada’s 140 for six, the Afghans began well, opener Karim Sadiq striking 42 runs in a first wicket stand of 66. Fellow opening bat Noor Ali departed for 31 in the fifteenth over, which brought Mohammad Nabi to the crease. He struck four boundaries in reaching 23 runs from 11-balls. Samiullah Shenwari brought home the Afghan win with 8 runs from 3 balls.

Umar Bhatti took one wicket for 19 runs in his four overs.

Hiral Patel, hero of the previous day’s win over Ireland, made a brisk 11 before being run out in the third over. Rizwan Cheema departed for 26 in the fifth over. Abdool Samad and Ashish Bagai joined in a stand of 73 for the third wicket, before Samad departed for 26 (37 balls). Bagai fell after making 53 from 42 balls, including seven boundaries. Both Samad and Bagai were bowled by Hameed Hasan.

Canada and Afghanistan both close with one win and two defeats.

CricInfo scorecard

Eddie Norfolk

Atul Ahuja (CEO, Cricket Champions League) interviewed on Omni -- Posted Wednesday, February 3 2010
Atul Ahuja, CEO, Cricket Champions League was interviewed by Omni TV
January 28, 2010 on wide-ranging issues, including the exclusion of Pakistan
players from the IPL and "Cricket for Haiti".

To see the interview click here and scroll to 18 mins 33 secs to go
straight to interview.

Ireland hit heights but fall short (Irish Times) -- Posted Wednesday, February 3 2010


Cricket: Ireland scored their highest total in Twenty20 cricket here at the SCC ground this morning but it still wasn’t enough as Canada won this Quadrangular series clash by four runs in a high-scoring affair.

Ireland’s bowlers toiled in the early morning heat to little avail as Canada racked up 176 for three in their 20 overs.

Andre Botha was the only wicket-taker for Ireland, and even his return of three for 35 was helped by two wickets in the final over.

In fairness, it was a belter of a track at the former home of Sri Lankan Test cricket, with Canada’s batsmen adapting an aggressive stance from the off.

Opening batsman Hiral Patel was the star performer, finishing unbeaten on 88 from 61 deliveries, with eight fours and two sixes. Ashish Bagai clubbed 42 from 27, while pinch hitter Rizwan Cheema made 34 at the top of the order.

William Porterfield and Niall O’Brien ensured Ireland were ahead of the rate in the early overs, before Porterfield fell for 19 in the fifth over with 51 already on the board.

Paul Stirling hit a beautiful straight six in his knock of 22, but his departure signalled a mini collapse.

Kevin O’Brien was run out by a direct hit after making five, while older brother Niall went after making 50 from 34 balls when he was trapped leg-before by Khurram Chohan.

Gary Wilson chipped in with 22 and Andre Botha made 11 but regular wickets gave Canada the edge in the closing overs.

Ireland entered the last over requiring 12 runs to win with Andrew White and John Mooney at the wicket. But the boundaries wouldn’t come and once Mooney was run out with two balls to come, Ireland’s hopes evaporated.

Phil Simmons’s side finish their series tomorrow against Sri Lanka ‘A’, where a victory may still be good enough for them to win the competition.


At SCC, Colombo: Canada: 176-3 (20 ovs) (H Patel 88no, A Bagai 42, R Cheema 34; A Botha 3-35), Ireland 172-8 (N O’Brien 50, G Wilson 27, P Stirling 22, W Porterfield 19, A White 14no; U Bhatti 3-26). Canada won by 4 runs.

Hiral Patel knock leads Canada to win over Ireland -- Posted Wednesday, February 3 2010
Eddie Norfolk

Associates T20 Tournament in Sri Lanka
Feb 3 at the Sinhalese Sports Club, Colombo
Summary score: Canada 176 for three wickets (20 overs) beat Ireland 172 for eight wickets (20 overs) by 4 runs

Hiral Patel hit 88 not out, sharing stands of 68 with Rizwan Cheema and 101 with Ashish Bagai, as Canada pulled off a four run win over Ireland. Umar Bhatti bowled a crucial seventeenth over that turned the tide in Canada’s favour, bowling Gary Wilson, having Andre Botha run out and seeing the potentially dangerous Trent Johnston caught. The challenge of scoring twelve runs from the final over proved too much for the Irish.

The 18-year old Patel struck eight fours and two sixes in his 61-ball knock. The opening stand of 68 ended in the tenth over with Cheema’s dismissal for 34, made from 30 balls. Bagai joined Patel in a century partnership that ended in the final over. Bagai struck six boundaries in making 42 from 27 balls.

Niall O’Brien struck 50 from 34 balls when Ireland batted. His partnerships with William Porterfield (19) and Paul Stirling (22) took the Irish to 90 for two wickets in the tenth over. Gary Wilson made a useful 27 from 22 balls, before being bowled by Bhatti in what proved a pivotal seventeenth over. Khurram Chohan took one wicket for 25 runs in four overs, trapping O’Brien leg-before wicket. Patel also was responsible for two run-outs.

Canada closes this tournament with a match against Afghanistan on Thursday.

CricInfo scorecard

Canada plan schools cricket expansion (CricInfo) -- Posted Tuesday, February 2 2010
It seems as though the lines of communication between CricInfo and Cricket Canada have suddenly been opened as the latest in a series of articles from Sahil Dutta provides further insight into the interim President's thoughts on cricket in Canada...

"Ranjit Saini, Cricket Canada's interim president, has told Cricinfo of his board's plans to expand cricket across schools to reduce the senior side's current reliance on ex-pats.

"We want it to become huge, much bigger than it was - 150 schools are currently involved and over the next couple of years we would want 1000 to 1500, we want a wider pool of player to pick from and identify and channel into an elite order.

"To get up to 1500 schools we would need $100,000 to $150,000 a year and I think that's realistic. We could get many sponsors involved, in each local area and make the programmes a real community event, which could attract community sponsors."

Saini's ambitions could stumble on the board's finances which are already under strain following the loss of a major sponsor late in 2009 but he remains confident.

"We are in talks with many agents, and what comes out of that we don't know yet, but schools will be a major focus. This is a new time for cricket here and we are a new Cricket Canada."

CC online comments...Great to see a strong grass-roots initiative being proposed, but putting this plan into action will be challenging to say the least...

Canada start 20-20 tournament with big defeat -- Posted Monday, February 1 2010
Canada 93/6 v Sri Lanka A 94/1 (13/20 ov)
Sri Lanka A won by 9 wkts (with 42 balls remaining)

As the Sri Lanka Associates T20 Series got under way, Sri Lanka A hardly broke sweat passing a distinctly average Canadian total with 9 wickets and 42 balls to spare.

Canada got off to a reasonably start, reaching 40 with only the loss of Jyoti, run out for 5, but this took 7.4 overs, far below the run rate required to build a decent total. Samad made 24 from 30 balls, Cheema just 1, and Bagai 25 from 29 balls. Canada managed just three fours and a solitary six in the innings. Fernando bowled 3 overs for just 7 runs and Prasanna took 3/13 from 4 overs.

In reply Chohan had Udawatte caught for 5, but Siriwardana (54*) and Silva (35*) had little trouble knocking off the runs.

In today's other match Afghanistan take on Ireland.

CricInfo scorecard