August 2, 2012

“Spin is King” in difficult batting conditions on Day 1 of the inaugural Cricket Canada National Cricket League as the Prairie Fire and Pacific Edge both register wins and qualify for Day 2 Semi-Finals in the 50 over leg of the tournament.

MATCH 1 :: Pacific Edge vs Eastern Fury :: The partnership of Canadian National Team captain Rizwan Cheema (28 from 38 balls including 4 sixes) and Canada u19 all-rounder Nikhil Dutta (22 from 58 balls) formed the only notable partnership as the Eastern Fury struggled to a paltry 85 all out from 27.3 overs.  The Pacific Edge assault was led by a 4 wicket performance from spinner Rashid Masood (4-33 in 9 overs).

The Pacific Edge run chase was not without incident, however, as they lost 7 wickets to reach the low total in 30.4 overs.  Edge batsman Mandeep Rehan occupied the crease in guiding his team home to victory with a cautiously paced 22 runs from 84 balls, which included a single boundary.

The Edge now advance to a de facto Semi-Final matchup with the Prairie Fire, winners of match 2, for an opportunity to enter Sunday’s Final and be crowned the NCL 50 over champion.  The Eastern Fury, by virtue of having a lower NRR than the Western Stallions, losers of match 2, are now relegated to a development match versus a combined Universities XI and look to re-enter the completion in better form during next week’s T20 leg.


MATCH 2 :: Western Stallions vs Prairie Fire :: Paced by an entertaining 77 run performance from Canadian Trevin Bastiampillai, the Fire put up a total of 180 runs from 43.4 overs that remained out of reach for the Western Stallions who only managed 131 from 34.5 overs in response.

The Western Stallions, captained by Canadian seamer Khurram Chohan (0-16 in 8 overs), started well and were treated to a 2nd over run out of national team batsman Hiral Patel (0) by Zahid Chaudhary and coupled with an aggressive spell by Canada A seamer Grant Broadhurst (2-25 in 6 overs) that saw both Harpartap Singh Sandu and the ever dangerous Raza-Ur Rehman dismissed leaving the Fire reeling at 10-3 from 3.3 overs.

The Western bowling, although tidy at times, seemed to lose the plot and allow the Prairie Fire to consolidate and gather momentum around the partnership of Bastiampillai (76 from 108) and Jatinder Mathuru (30 from 45).

The Stallions requiring 3.6 RPO for victory, suffered at the hands of Prairie Fire spinners who did the lion’s share of damage as Junaid Siddiqui (4-32 in 10 overs), Hiral Patel (2-25 in 4 overs), and Raza-Ur Rehman (3-21 in 9 overs) left the Stallions’ innings well short of the required target.

The Fire will now look forward to a one-off show down with the Pacific Edge for a chance to reach Sunday’s final, while the Stallions, although losing the contest, maintained a better NRR than match 1 losers Eastern Fury, will have an opportunity in a Semi-Final knock out with the Central Shield who make their first appearance in the 2012 NCL after receiving a first round bye.