Canada 239 for 8 (Wijeratne 66, Kumar 60, Taylor 5-47) beat United States of America 205 (Babar 63, Pervez 3-38) by 34 runs
Nitish Kumar's half-century and two wickets in a momentum-shifting bowling spell led Canada past USA by 34 runs in the opening 50-over contest of the 2016 Auty Cup in Woodley Park on Thursday. In his first match as Canada captain, Kumar arrived in the fourth over with the side at 20 for 1, after being put in to bat on a moist pitch, and teamed with Srimantha Wijeratne for a 104-run second-wicket partnership that laid the platform for the score of 239 for 8.
Kumar had some help from USA's poor fielding performance that allowed the side to flourish early. Kumar was dropped twice - on 2 and 11 - by wicketkeeper Akeem Dodson in his innings of 60, while Wijeratne, who top-scored with 66, enjoyed three lives - he was put down by Steven Taylor at slip on 28 and 45, and then Dodson missed a stumping on 59.
Taylor did his best to stall Canada's momentum with the ball and, after nabbing Kumar and Wijeratne, he burrowed through Canada's middle order to claim a career-best 5 for 47. Shehan Kamileen was teased into a edging a wider delivery, while Nikhil Dutta and Junaid Siddiqui were both given out leg before playing across the line.
Legspinner Timil Patel built pressure at the other end to aid Taylor, ending with 2 for 35. Both strikes came in the 37th over - a double-wicket maiden - that swung the momentum USA's way. Hamza Tariq sent a leading edge back for a return catch off the second ball before Dilon Heyliger fell three balls later, flicking around his pads.
Canada slipped from 152 for 2 to 183 for 8 by the time Taylor and Patel had ripped through the line-up but USA's inability to see off the tail cost them badly. Varun Sehdev and Satsimranjit Dhindsa added an unbeaten 56-run stand for the ninth wicket. An injury to Srini Santhanam, who had consistently troubled Canada and had two chances put down off his bowling, also dented USA's bowling effort. Santhanam hurt his shoulder throwing in a relay from the boundary in the 20th over, having just finished his sixth over in a spell of 0 for 30. He was off the field for the rest of the innings.
USA sprinted toward the target early on thanks in part to Canada's wayward start with the ball - four leg byes and five wides in the first over - an early sign of things to come. The 32 extras bowled by Canada ended up as the second-highest contributor to USA's score. USA reached 45 in the fifth over as opener Abdullah Syed began by driving Dhindsa to the cover rope, then slashed him over third man for six in the second over before being caught down the leg side off Cecil Pervez for 12.
Opening batsman Fahad Babar motored along to 35 off 32 balls before the introduction of spin halted his and USA's overall progress. While Babar managed to keep Canada's spinners out, his middle-order partners could not. Kumar brought himself on in the 14th over and clogged up runs at his end. The pressure saw USA add 10 runs and lose three wickets over the next seven overs to slip from 80 for 1 in 13 overs to 90 for 4 in 20 overs.
Alex Amsterdam played down the wrong line and was pinned lbw by Kumar for 14. Taylor ran himself out for 1, with Babar on strike, as Kumar made a diving stop at midwicket off Dutta and then calmly threw to the bowler, with the batsman giving up. Dodson then edged Kumar to Siddiqui at slip for 5, giving the Canada captain figures of 2 for 6 with two maidens in his first five overs.
Babar eventually brought up his half-century off 71 balls in the 27th over and appeared to have found a willing ally in Nicholas Standford to get USA's chase back on track. Standford slammed Siddiqui's legspin over the on side for six and four in the 23rd over but, five overs later, he edged behind off Dhindsa while attempting a cut.
Babar's patience ran out, too, and he gave his wicket to Siddiqui, charging down the track for the first time in the 38th over and edging a slog to Tariq for 63. USA needed 74 off the last 12 overs but that was too much for the tail. Jessy Singh and Danial Ahmed were both caught on the boundary to wrap up the innings in 47.2 overs. Pervez was brilliant in his second spell, taking 2 for 11 and two maidens in five overs to finish with 3 for 38 in 10.