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August 5, 2002
Canada continued to demonstrate that they are a team to be reckoned with after a 5 wicket last-over victory over a West Indies A team containing 6 full internationals.
The West Indies travelled north of Toronto to the rural setting of Maple Leaf CC just outside of King City for the deciding game of a series of three one day matches against Canada. With only 12 fit players the West Indies had few options, but Canada strengthened their bowling by bringing in Sanjay Thuraisingam, one of their more effective bowlers in the ICC Trophy, as well as giving Asif Mulla and Ahmed Panchabhai their first games of the series.
Thuraisingam and Joseph had West Indies A in early trouble, with skipper Ganga caught behind for just 3, continuing a poor run in Canada, Hibbert for 10, and Ruanako Morton for a single. West Indies A were in danger of collapse at 39/3, but sensible batting from Bravo (45) and Breese took them out of danger and eventually to a competitive total. Nick de Groot, familiar with many of these West Indian players from his years with Guyana, took a couple of wickets with his off-spin, but with Reon King contributing some lusty blows, West Indies 'A' totalled 204. Gareth Breese was top-scorer, run out on the last ball of the innings for 68.
Given the fragility of the Canadian batting in the first two games, this was a competitive total, and with Sattaur, Chumney and Billcliff back in the pavilion for a combined 12 runs, things looked grim indeed. Ishwar Maraj (playing his first match of the series) and Nick de Groot steadied the innings with an excellent century partnership. Both bats were patient and although the score was only 56 after 24 overs, they have laid down a solid platform. Maraj went for a fine half-century, and then when de Groot was caught hooking Canada were agonisingly close needing 20 off four overs. The experience gained in winning several close matches at the ICC Trophy and in Namibia paid off as skipper Joe Harris with 32* saw Canada home in the last over. West Indies did not help themselves by conceding 43 extras.
A keen and vociferous crowd gave the home team good support, and also contributed over $600 towards the Canadian training fund. Nick de Groot was named man-of-the match for his all-round performance.
This gave Canada the series 2-1, and this was well earned in a much better all round performance. It is worth remembering that this was a strong West Indies A side, and although perhaps a little jaded after a long tour of England, there were six players with international experience on view. Canada took full advantage of home conditions, bowled tighly throughout the series and were never overawed by their more illustrious opponents.
The teams now move on to the Toronto Cricket Skating and Curling Club for a 2-day match starting on Wednesday. Play starts early and will continue late, with the expectation of maximising the hours of play in the two days.
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