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USA v Canada

USA beats Canada in low-scoring thriller

ICC U19 CWC Americas Qualifer

USA triumphs over Canada in the second match of the ICC Americas U19 World Cup Qualifier.

In an extraordinary, low-scoring (and slow-scoring) thriller, the United States secured its second victory of the ICC Americas U19 World Cup Qualifier, with a four-wicket win over Canada in Toronto.

Having defeated Bermuda by six wickets in a rain-affected encounter a day earlier, the USA bowled out Canada for just 63, despite occupying the crease for 47.5 overs – a run-rate of 1.31 per over. Rather incredibly, Canada’s batsmen failed to hit a boundary during their innings.

In reply, the USA lost its first wicket after 5.5 overs with 20 runs on the scoreboard – a blistering start in the context of the match. When USA opener Mohak Buch dispatched off-spinner Rommel Shahzad for six during the third over, things looked bleak for Canada.

Even when Shahzad had opener Harish Easwaraiah trapped in front, the USA was still strong favourites, before a flurry of wickets gave Canada hope; 20/1 turned into 24/3, before 37/4 became 38/6.

After 20 overs, USA was 46/6 (Canada had been 34/4 after its first 20), requiring another 18 runs with four wickets and 30 overs remaining. At that stage, Buch was the game’s joint top-scorer with 14, having matched Akash Gill’s total in Canada’s innings.

USA’s No.4 Raymond Ramrattan hit a precious boundary off the fourth ball of the 20th over – a four became priceless in a match starved of hits – before delivering a fatal blow in the 25th, which secured victory for the United States.

In the context of this extraordinary encounter, Ramrattan’s 27 from 54 balls was a mammoth total scored at an electric rate; he nearly doubled the next highest score and matched Buch’s strike-rate of 50.00.

Earlier, the USA had starved Canada’s batsmen for runs after winning the toss and inserting the hosts. Extras (15) top-scored with No. 3 Akash Gill the only Canada batsman to reach double-figures; he scored 14 from 102 balls. Gill had retired hurt on 1* when his team were 16/2 before returning to the crease at 34/5.

Canada’s highest partnership of the game was the eighth-wicket stand of 18 runs in 12.2 overs. Earlier, Canada had faced 45 balls without a run off the bat. At the 20-over mark, Canada was 34/4. At 30, it was 39/7, as slow left-arm bowler Mohak Buch, medium-fast bowler Gaurav Patanker and off-break bowler Sahil Patel delivered six maidens in 10 overs – quite incredible for a one-day match.

The Canada batsmen’s strike-rates make for fascinating reading. Opener Emanuel Khokhar was Canada’s most hurried batsman with a rate of just 40.00, with seven of its batsmen striking between 0.00 and 25.00 in a match which proved difficult to find runs.

With no boundary conceded, USA’s bowlers walked away with spectacular economy rates. It’s first three bowlers – the medium-fast Keshav Pabbisetty (3/10 at an economy of 0.90), Aravind Patnam (2/7 at 0.89) and Patanker (1/8 at 0.88) all went for less than one run an over, while third-change Buch claimed 3/15 at 1.50 runs per over. Awais Mubarak was USA’s most expensive bowler with an economy rate of 2.33.

The USA’s second victory of the double round-robin regional qualifier has given it a great chance of proceeding to the 2018 ICC U19 Cricket World Cup which begins in New Zealand in January.

Canada, meanwhile, have a chance to redeem themselves when it plays the third match of the U19 CWC Qualifier tomorrow in Toronto.

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