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November 26, 2008
The opening day of the Americas Division 1 Championship brought wins for tournament favourites Canada and Bermuda but one team had to work very hard for their victory.
At Piccolo Park Argentina pushed Canada all the way with an excellent all-round performance and came within touching distance of a famous victory. Argentina were outstanding in the field with a succession of brilliant catches, but Henry Osinde launched a huge six to rescue Canada after a lackluster display.
Argentina posted a respectable 191 for 7 in their 50 overs, thanks to the efforts of their player-coach Hamish Barton, the former Auckland batsman. He remained unbeaten throughout the innings but was left stranded on 99 when the overs ran out. In reply, Canada seemed to be in control of the run-chase, but slumped to 148 for 7 and suddenly the pressure was on. The equation came down to eight needed with the final pair together and Osinde finally settled the nerves with his timely blow.
"The positive attitude of the boys throughout was amazing," Derek Culley, Argentina's team manager, said. "We will keep looking to improve, especially in reducing the bowling extras, and trying to generate more batting support from the middle order."
Canada captain Umar Bhatti, was relieved to have escaped with the win, and said they would be looking for strong improvement in the games ahead: "Our performance today was below par in all departments and needs immediate improvement if we are to challenge for the title. Chasing low totals is always tricky, and lack of application from our batsmen made it difficult in the end, but credit to Argentina for a great game."
At Central Broward Regional Park, Bermuda proved too strong and too experienced for Cayman Islands, and registered a comfortable 73 run victory. Batting first, Bermuda posted 220 for 7 with former Glamorgan batsman David Hemp showing his class with 51 off 59 balls.
Cayman Islands never got to grips with the run-chase and limped to 147 for 9. Christopher Douglas caused plenty of problems with 4 for 18. Bermuda coach Gus Logie was satisfied with his team's opening performance. "Today I think we played as well as we could considering the slow nature of the pitch, and I was pleased with the way the players adapted to the conditions during the game."
Suriname, the tournament minnows, were given a tough early lesson as they crashed to a massive 297-run defeat against USA. The match brought the day's most eye-catching innings as Sushil Nadkarni cracked 197 off 132 balls with 22 fours and nine sixes as Canada piled up 353 for 9. In reply Suriname fell apart for a paltry 60 with Timroy Allen claiming 5 for 7.
However, despite the thumping win USA team manager Imran Khan wasn't getting carried away. "We played very well today and executed our strategy to perfection. Sushil played an outstanding innings that set the tone for the match. Still, it is a given we have to improve with every match, and we need to continue to raise our game and come at the opposition hard as we did today."
Cyrill Bonar, Suriname's manager, tried to sound positive about the thrashing. "We definitely remain optimistic that if we can play to the standards we know we are capable, we will be more competitive in the games to come."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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