From Eddie Norfolk
Canada Under-19’s beat Kenya in a warm-up game against Kenya U19s on January 8 before the 018 ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup tournament begins in earnest on January 13. The Canadian squad had participated in the opening ceremonies at the Hagley Oval, Christchurch New Zealand on Sunday (January 7) and is due to play a second warm-up game against Ireland on Thursday (January 11). Canada qualified for the tournament by winning the ICC Americas Qualifier in July 2017; a double round-robin event involving Bermuda U19s, Canada U19s and USA U19s. Canada came from behind after an opening game loss against the USA to top the standings on net run rate after beating the USA in the closing game at Toronto Cricket Club.
Canada U19s bowled out Kenya U19s for 164 runs (49.1 overs) on Tuesday
on the Hagley Oval ground #4, then made steady progress to reach a winning 168/2 after 32.1 overs. Opener Emanuel Khokhar stroked 23 runs and captain Arslan Khan made 30 before being caught to leave Canada on 101/2
after 20.1 overs. Akash Gill scored 21* from 28 balls as opening bat Ravi Sandhu produced a trio of boundaries in over over and two sixes to lead Canada to victory with 78* from 102 balls.
Left-arm pacer Rishiv Joshi took 2 early wickets and right-arm seamer Faisal Jamkhandi took a wicket as Kenya was restricted to 22/3 from 7.3 overs. The spin/pace combination of Tiaan Pretorius and Akash Gill kept the pressure on the Kenyan batsmen. Pretorius had Thomas Ochieng caught at the wicket for 10 to leave Kenya on 45/4 at the start of the 17th over. Aveet Desai (40), Jasraj Kundi (39) and captain Sachin Bhudia (22) helped improve the Kenyan scoring but Canada did a good job to restrict the Kenyans to 164.
Canada plays Ireland U19s in a second warm-up game. Ireland U19s lost to England U19s on Tuesday. Two England batsmen, Harry Brook and Will Jacks, scored an even 100 then retired out against the Irish. Brook and Jacks carried England from 49/2 to 228 after 31.1 overs when Brook retired Jacks retired with England on 274 (39.6 overs). Fin Trenouk pumped 73 runs from 41 balls as England reached 372/8 after 50 overs. Ireland captain Harry Tector made 104 from 118 balls, adding 67 for the 7th wicket with Joshua Little. Little hit 55 from 36 balls after capturing the two early wickets in the England innings. Little ended with 3/50 from 9 overs.
Ireland U19s had seen two warm-up games against local opposition washed out without a ball bowled before playing England on Tuesday. Ireland should provide an interesting test for Canada U19s on Thursday as Canada’s group matches include a game against England.
Canada U19s World Cup Group
Canada is drawn in Group C together with England, Bangladesh and Namibia. England and Bangladesh qualify as full members of the ICC. Namibia qualified as the highest placed ICC Associate country in the 2016 ICC U19 Cricket World Cup C hosted by Bangladesh and won by the West Indies. Canada placed 15th in the 2016 tournament.
Canada U19s faces Bangladesh on January 15, Namibia on January 18 and England on January 20.
The three other groups in the 2018 ICC U19 CWC are:
Group A: West Indies, New Zealand, South Africa and Kenya;
Group B: Australia, India, Papua New Guinea and Zimbabwe; and
Group D: Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Ireland.
The top two teams in each group advance to the Super Eight quarter finals. The lower two teams in the group compete in the Plate competition to decide the lower placings. The final is scheduled for February 3, 2018 at Tauranga.
The Canadian squad gathered at Yashi Sports, Toronto just after Christmas for three days of indoor fitness and net sessions before flying to Sydney, Australia for outdoor preparations. Canada’s stay in Sydney included three practice games. Canada U19s lost to a New South Wales U19 XI on January 4 and to Kenya U19s on January 6.
Indoor net and fitness sessions had been taking place in Toronto since the outdoor season ended.
Canada’s success in the ICC Americas Under-19 Championship resulted in the Canadian players participating as ICC Americas Under-19s in the West Indies Regional Under-19 One Day Championships in St. Kitts. A tournament that took place in August 2017.
ICC Americas U19s beat the Leeward Islands U19s (by 15 runs) and Barbados U19s (by 48 runs) but lost to Guyana U19s (by 148 runs) Jamaica U19s (by 4 wickets), Trinidad & Tobago U19s (by 9 wickets) and Windward Islands U19s (by 50 runs).