Canada will be basking in the limelight when it goes in to bat in the Twenty20 World Cup that will be co-hosted by the West Indies and the United States in June.
Canadian captain Saad Bin Zafar and his teammates, who until now operate in obscurity, will instantly jump into the spotlight when Canada faces super powers India and Pakistan in the first round of the tournament.
Millions around the world will have their eyes glued on their television sets, especially when India takes the field to see superstars such as Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma.
In the shortest and most exciting format of the game that has taken the world by storm in recent years, Canada has been placed in Group A with India, Pakistan, Ireland and the United States.
“That group pretty much has the most eyeballs,” Zafar said. “We couldn’t have asked for a better group. That’s huge for us.”
The rest of the 20 teams have been drawn into three other divisions with defending champion England heading Group B with Ashes rival Australia, Namibia, Scotland and Oman.
Group C features New Zealand, West Indies, Afghanistan, Uganda and Papua New Guinea.
Group D rounds things out with South Africa, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Netherlands and Nepal.
Canada also will find itself the centre of attention on June 1, as it has been given the unprecedented honour of kicking off the tournament versus the United States in Dallas.
Normally, the defending champion starts off the championship, but this time Canada and the U.S. have been picked as a tribute to both for playing the first international match in 1844, even though many wrongfully think England and Australia were the first.
In fact, England met Australia 33 years later in a series now known as the Ashes that’s played biennially, alternating between England and Australia.
The two top countries in each group will advance to the Super Eight phase that will be split into two groups of four. The first two in each division will make their way to the semis to be played in Guyana and Trinidad on June 26 and 27, respectively, with the final slated on June 29 in Barbados.
Canada’s second match will be against the Irish on June 7 and, on June 11, it faces Pakistan on the outskirts of New York before wrapping up its group stage against favoured India in Lauderhill, Fla., on June 15.
Thousands of Canadians will shortly start making arrangements to fly in for this encounter that will be played at the Nassau County International Stadium in New York, where a 34,000-seated modular temporary stadium is under construction.
This is the same venue that will host the India-Pakistan clash and, as is usual, ducats for this match will be snapped up within minutes once they go on sale.
Canada will warm up for this tournament by travelling to Hong Kong and then Nepal before heading to Dubai for a 50-over tournament.
INDIA MAKES HISTORY
A Test match is supposed to last five days, but India and South Africa turned the second encounter in Cape Town into a Twenty20 encounter.
The Test ended in a day and a half as India secured victory by seven wickets to tie the series at 1-1, but more importantly South Africa kept its record of never losing a Test series to India intact.
Unbelievably, only 107 overs were bowled across the four innings and, on the first day, a record 23 wickets fell as the home team was bundled out for a meagre for 55.
India started off on fire by hoisting 153 for four, but then came a collapse never previously witnessed in Test cricket. India lost its last six wickets for no runs to claim an unwanted record of losing six wickets in 11 balls.
The damage was done by South Africa’s pace attack of Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi and Nandre Burger, who weighed in with three wickets each.
In the second innings, South Africa was back in the pavilion for 176, thanks to an extraordinary knock of 106 by Aiden Markham. India easily got to its target of 80 runs in only 12 overs.
The hero for India was Mohammad Siraj, with the eye-catching analysis of six wickets for 15 runs off nine overs in the first innings.
In the second innings, the Proteas were brought their knees by fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah, who captured six wickets for 61 runs. It was a disappointing end for South Africa’s captain Dean Elger, who was making his 86th and final Test before retiring.
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WARNER BOWS OUT A WINNER
David Warner bowed out of the Test scene a winner at the Sydney Cricket Ground in his 112th as Test as Australia completed a 3-0 whitewash of visiting Pakistan.
The left-hander played his first international versus New Zealand in 2011 and he will always be remembered for his glittering knocks and also for being a controversial character on and off the field.
Warner went off in style as he scored a half-century in his final at-bat and was then given a standing ovation by the fans and a guard of honour by the Pakistanis.
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