The U.S. made history in defeating Canada on its home turf to become the sixteenth and last team to qualify for the ICC U19 Men’s World Cup Cricket Tournament to be played in Sri Lanka early next year.
It is the first time since 2010 that the U.S. has made the World Cup round. It will also be for the first time since 2014 that Canada will miss playing in the World Cup.
Both Canada and U.S. cricket teams are dominated by immigrants from South Asia “It is a big heartbreak for this Canadian team as it had prepared hard for its sixth consecutive and ninth qualification to the Under 19 World Cup. Luck eluded it at the last minute,” Jagjit Singh Deol, father of DilrajDeol, the highest run getter for the home team, told New Canadian Media.
Jagjit Deol and his family, including his old mother and wife, accompanied the Canadian team to all games.
Speaking after the win, U.S. captain Rishi Ramesh was all smiles.
“It’s been a long journey for us in the U.S. and we’re finally here. We’ve made history and are proud to represent our country,” he said after the game.
The U.S. will be playing in the U19 World Cup for the third time, earlier being in 2006 and 2010. Before the last game, Canada was leading the table with 10 points from five games while the U.S. had eight points from the same number of games.
Had the game been cancelled or abandoned because of the rain affected playfield, Canada would have sealed a place in the finals.
“If the second game between Bermuda and Argentina on the adjoining ground was cancelled because of poor ground conditions, why did they insist on the Canada-U.S. match,” Navrattan Paul Singh, a sportswriter, asked New Canadian Media as he followed most of the matches of the ICC U19 Men’s Qualifier for Americas played in Toronto.
U.S. became the sixteenth and last team to qualify. The 15 teams already confirmed for the Sri Lanka event are Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, Ireland, Namibia, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa, Sri Lanka, U.S., West Indies and Zimbabwe.
Both Canada and U.S. put up excellent performances against the other competitors Argentina and Bermuda earlier in the week, as they headed into the final showdown at the Maple Leaf Cricket Club in King City, Ontario knowing that a win would see them book their tickets for Sri Lanka in January.
Canada led the standings, enjoying an unbeaten campaign which involved a close-fought victory over the same opposition earlier in the week, but the seven-wicket triumph in the last game of the event meant that the U.S. advanced by virtue of a higher net run rate as both teams had aggregated 10 points from five wins each.
It was a winner-takes-all match when the U.S., after winning the toss, put the home team to bat first. Having enjoyed strong performances against the other competitors Argentina and Bermuda earlier in the week, both teams headed into Friday’s showdown at the Maple Leaf Cricket Club in King City, knowing that only a win would see them book their tickets for Sri Lanka in January.
Canada led the standings before Friday’s play,but the seven-wicket defeat meant that Canada would not advance to the finals.
Batting first in conditions made difficult by the overnight thunderstorm and rain, Canada lost early wickets and slumped to 15 for three in the first six overs. After a brief recovery by Ajayveer and skipper Jai Singh, the U.S. bowlers again blew a couple of lethal strikes, eventually restricting the home side to a modest 92 for 9 from its allotted 22 overs. Yash Mondkar (22) top-scored for Canada, while Utkarsh Srivastava (2 for 16) and Parth Patel (3 for 17) did the damage for the U.S.
Needing 93 from 22 overs, the U.S. batsmen started aggressively. Opener Prannav Chettipalayam led from the front, hitting two towering sixes in scoring a valuable 36 runs from 39 balls. Even though they lost wickets of Bhavya Amit Mehta (17) and skipper Ramesh at the other end to stutter in the middle overs to 58 for three, Utkarsh Srivastava was all support for Pranav with 25 not out to see the visitors over the line with four overs to spare. The win saw the U.S. ending the Canadian dominance at U19 regional qualification stages, besides ensuring its return to the World Cup for the first time since 2010.
Prabhjot Singh, an award-winning journalist recognized for investigative journalism, environment and business reporting, sports and feature writing. He joined The Tribune, the oldest and largest circulated English daily in North India, in 1976 and continued working for it in various capacities for almost four decades. Currently, a Media Consultant based in Toronto/Chandigarh, he has also remained associated with various news agencies, including Reuters, and media houses like PTC News (India/Canada), Parvasi Media (Canada) and the Liberal World (India). He is particularly interested in Indian Diaspora and Sikh Diaspora in particular. His work has also appeared in various international and national newspapers, magazines and journals.