Leewards beat Canada by 8 wickets
NORTH SOUND, Antigua– Their bowling, spearheaded by birthday boy Gavin Tonge, set things up and their batting, led by Kieran Powell, helped Leeward Islands to a morale-boosting, eight-wicket victory over Canada in the Caribbean Twenty20 tournament on Friday.
Tonge, celebrating his 29th birthday, grabbed three wickets for 23 runs from four overs, as Leewards dismissed Canada for a modest 108 in 19.3 overs in their Group-A match at the Vivian Richards Cricket Ground.
Leewards captain and West Indies leg-spinner Anthony Martin, as well as Justin Athanaze and fellow off-spinner Larry Joseph collected two wickets apiece to complete the demolition job.
Raza-ur-Rehman hit the top score of 30 and opener Hiral Patel made 30 for the Canadians, whose batting fell to pieces after an enterprising start.
West Indies opener Powell then struck four fours and one six in 47 not out from 42 balls, sharing a 51-run, second-wicket stand with Javia Liburd that helped to propel Leewards to a facile victory with 38 balls remaining.
Liburd supported with a solid 33 from 25 balls that included five fours and one six before he fell in the 11th over, leaving Powell to formalise the result.
Powell, a left-handed opener from Nevis, drove leg-spinner Junaid Siddiqui to long-on for a single to give Leewards their first victory in three matches in the tournament.
The result earned Leewards four points and Canada remained rooted at the foot of the ladder without a point in their two matches.
Leewards, looking to rebound from the heavy loss in their previous match against Trinidad & Tobago, seemed under pressure when Patel and fellow opener Zubin Surkari started in a blaze.
Kelbert Walters conceded two boundaries in the first over, when Patel square drove the first ball and drove the final delivery through cover for another boundary.
Walters leaked another two boundaries in his second boundary and Canada seemed in full flight, when Surkari took a six and four from Tonge’s first over.
Off-spinner Justin Athanaze made the breakthrough, when he had Surkari caught at backward point for 19 in the sixth over, leaving Canada 33 for one.
Tonge added the scalps of Ruvindu Gunasekara for four and Canada captain Jimmy Hansra for a second-ball, leaving the visitors 39 for three in the seventh over.
In his over, Tonge had Rizwan Cheema caught behind for two before Athanaze had Patel stumped sinking Canada to 60 for five.
Leewards met resistance, when Hamza Tariq joined Raza-ur-Rehman, adding 30 for the sixth wicket before the Canadians lost their last five wickets for 18 runs from 22 deliveries.
Powell got Leewards off the mark early, striking the first two balls of the chase for fours before fellow opener Austin Richards smote two more boundaries from the first two deliveries of the next over.
Richards was caught behind, chasing a wide delivery from Henry Osinde however, paving the way for the partnership between Powell and Liburd that put Leewards firmly on track for victory.
Liburd was caught at backward point off Rizwan Cheema in the 11th over with Leewards needing 20 to win.
Leewards face Windward Islands in their final match next Tuesday at Kensington Oval in Barbados, where Canada meet Guyana in their penultimate match on the same day.