160 years of USA-Canada cricket rivalry continues
In a revival of one of the world's oldest sporting rivalries, Canada and the USA will play each other in their opening match of the ICC Intercontinental Cup - a new tournament giving leading Associate Member countries exposure to the longer version of the game.
The long standing rivalry between the nations - which began in New York in 1844 - will resume in a three-day game at the Brian Piccolo Park in Florida beginning on May 28.
The 12-match ICC Intercontinental Cup is being played across four continents between March and November 2004. It is the first time a first-class competition has been staged for countries below Test-match level.
The USA and Canada have previously met on four occasions in major ICC tournaments - at the 1982, 1986 and 2001 ICC Trophy competitions, and the recent ICC Six Nations Challenge in March - with the record standing at 2-2.
The contest at the ICC Six Nations Challenge in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) saw the USA prevail by six wickets before going on to win the tournament and qualify for the ICC Champions Trophy in England this September.
USA captain Richard Staple said his team was looking forward to renewing the rivalry and gaining experience in a first-class competition. "The ICC Intercontinental Cup is a tremendous opportunity for the game to excel among the associate membership of the ICC," said Staple. "Being exposed to playing in a first-class atmosphere can only improve the status of the sport as well as the players.
"Canada is always a challenge for us and on this occasion, they will have a more experienced and rounded complement of players than they had when we last played in Sharjah in March. There is now a little more focus on us because of our recent results so we will have to be ready physically and mentally to play and win."
The ICC Intercontinental Cup sees the top-ranked team from the matches played in each of the four regions (Asia, Africa, Europe and America) progress to the semi-finals and finals in the UAE in November.
The chance for teams to play three-day matches is a major development opportunity for players to improve and become better equipped to handle the progression to the next level of competition.
The ICC Intercontinental Cup features innovative playing conditions including a points system specifically created for the event.
Teams receive 14 points for a win plus any bonus points accumulated, while teams that draw or lose a match receive only their bonus points. Only in the event of a tie will teams pick up seven additional points.
Bonus points can be accumulated in both innings with a maximum of six batting points per innings awarded on the basis of 0.5 points for every 25 runs scored up to 300 runs. A maximum of five bowling points are available per innings allocated at 0.5 points per wicket taken.
To encourage teams to play for a result, the first innings of each side is restricted to 90 overs unless the team batting first does not use its 90 overs in which case the team batting second can bat for its 90 overs plus the overs short of 90 not used by the team batting first.
A minimum of 105 overs must be bowled on the opening two days of the match.
Three matches have so far been completed in the ICC Intercontinental Cup. Nepal drew with hosts the UAE in March, with the home side earning 18 points to Nepal's 14.
In April, Nepal bounced back from its first-up loss to defeat Malaysia by nine wickets and receive 27.5 points, while Malaysia earned 9.5 points.
Uganda collected 32 points to lead the African regional table after defeating Namibia by five wickets, while the hosts received 16 points.
The ICC Intercontinental Cup is part of the High Performance arm of the ICC's Development Program launched in 1997 to develop cricket as a global sport.
Since its inception, the Development Program has helped the number of ICC members increase by over 40 in the past seven years. The ICC now has 89 member countries; 10 Full, 27 Associate and 52 Affiliate members.