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(Above) Victorious Canadian team, (below), Nitish Kumar of Canada collects the winning trophy from Martin Vieira, ICC Americas Development Manager. (Photos by Shiek Mohamed)

Nitish Kumar displays his collection of awards for the tournament, while Steven Taylor (below) receives his award for the most runs from Chandra Shivnarain.

Selwyln Ceasar presents Kaman Leverock with the most wickets award. (Below) Christian Burgess accepts the best wicketkeeping trophy from Paul Da Silva.

Bermuda's manager presents Vidura Ratnayake with the best fielding award.
ICC Under-15 Tournament
Canada Are Champions Again!

By Sam Sooppersaud
August 24th, 2009
| Gallery
For the second time in a row Canada became the ICC Americas Under-15 champions when they easily defeated the USA on Saturday, August 22, at Erskine Cricket Ground at Gateway Plaza Mall in Brooklyn, New York. It was a low scoring match one in which Canada had the upper hand throughout the entire game. Again, like in the other games which the USA played, their fielding was not up to standard. Their batting failed and their bowling lost that "zip' which was there in their previous games. The USA did not "rise to the occasion' and as a result their northern neighbors got the better of them.

Rain had fallen the previous day and the outfield was wet. The playing strip had also gotten some water before it was covered. The start of play was delayed so that the playing area could dry out. About an hour after the scheduled start of play the umpires deemed the conditions favorable and the match started about 11:10 AM.

The USA won the toss and surprised all when they decided to bat first. One would have thought that with the pitch getting some water and then remaining under the covers overnight, that this would definitely help the bowlers, however, the USA team management thought otherwise. Canada was visibly overjoyed when told that USA would take first knock. Vickram Valluri and Rishi Patel opened the USA inning with Stephan Rajasingam and Vidura Ratnayake sharing the new ball for the Canadians. In the second over Valluri was adjudged LBW to Singham and with the score on three. Skipper Steven Taylor replaced him at the batting crease and started off "like a man on fire." He hit the second ball he faced for a six. He scored a quick 12 runs before he was out attempting to push the ball through mid-wicket. He was early on his shot and the ball took a leading edge offering a simple catch to point. Two wicket fell in the same over; the score 16 for 3.

Arsh Buch and Travis Ross set about to repair the damage. They batted together for 10 overs during which time they added 25 runs to the total. Ross was then out caught off the bowling of Michael Jansz for 14. Amarnauth Persaud and Arsh Buch then contributed 43 runs in a fourth wicket partnership. Buch was out after anchoring the inning, during which time wickets were falling, for 20 runs. The USA slipped to 84 for 5, trying their best to gradually play themselves out of the hole they had dug themselves through some irresponsible batting. They were scoring in singles. Boundaries were scarce as none was hit between the 9th and the 28th overs.

The 100 came up in the 34th over with the USA still having five wickets in hand. A projected score of at least 150 runs was on the horizon. However, the USA fell short of this score. In the last six overs they scored only 27 runs and lost a further four wickets. Very poor batting, indeed! Their inning ended at 127 for 9 in their allotted 40 overs, and quite a manageable total for the strong Canadian batting side.

For Canada Stephan Rajasingam got two wickets while Michael Jansz, Vidura Ratnayake, Nitish Kumar, Amanpaul Gillar, and Trevor Manoosingh got one wicket apiece.

Chasing after a rather modest score Canada set about it in a sedate manner realizing that they needed a run rate of only 3.2 runs per over. They opened with their most dependable batsmen, skipper Nitish Kumar and Stephan Rajasingam. With the score on 7 they lost Rajasingam caught in the cover off a full length ball. The next man in Talha Sheikh was soon out caught by Rishi Patel off the bowling of Krishneal Goel. Canada was now 29 for the loss of two wickets. Canada lost their 3rd wicket in the 14th over when Nikhil Dutta was smartly stumped by wicket-keeper Taylor off the bowling of Travis Ross. Trevor Manoosingh became Taylor's second stumping victim. With Canada now 41 for 4 wickets the match was evenly poised. This became 62 for 5 when Ahmed was caught by Roshan Varadarajan diving full length to his right and plucking the ball inches from the ground.

In the meantime skipper Nitish Kumar was standing at the other end and looking on as his batsmen were getting out one after another. His answer was to 'turn it on'. He sort of came out of his shell and began stroking the ball with confidence all over the field. His 50 came up with a lofty drive through mid wicket - his favorite shot. Vidura Ratnayake came in at the fall of the 5th wicket with the score on 62 and within the next two overs the score had climbed in the 90's as he scored a quick fire 21 runs in 11 deliveries. Canada was well on their way to victory at this stage. Two more wickets fell before Canada finally reached the coveted score of 128 runs for the loss of 7 wickets. Fittingly Skipper Nitish Kumar, who played the proverbial "captain's inning," hit the winning run, a shot through mid-wicket - where else! Canada came from behind during the tournament to win the championship.

Sharing the wickets for USA were Pranav Pradhan 2 for 15, Krishneal Goel 2 for 26, and Rishi Patel 2 for 22, with one batsman being run out.

After the game a presentation ceremony was held in which the players and various individuals were recognized.

First of all Mr. Krish Prasad, New York’s Regional Representative to the USA Cricket Association and chairman of the tournament’s Local Organizing Committee, thanked all those who worked so tirelessly and se lflessly to make the tournament a successful one. Among those were Clifford Hinds, Lloyd Dixon, Hugh Pitter, Carl Patrick, Sew Shivnarain, who along with his wife, Chandra and Krish's wife Dolly, furnished us with those delicious meals, Lester Hooper, Zamin Amin, Deryck Kallicharran, Zaffie Khan, Bhola Rammsundar, Sam Sooppersaud, official scorers Maggy Jolly and Margaret Wiltshire, along with newyorkcricket.com’s Sheik Mohamed and dreamcricket.com’s Peter Della Pena. The President of the United States of America Cricket Umpires Association (USACUA) Mr. Fitzroy Hayles was acknowledged for the work he had done with the umpires for the games. The grounds men and the many, many volunteers were also not left out in the Tournament Chairman's remarks.

Mr. Martin Vieira, ICC Americas Development Manager thanked Krish Prasad for a well-done job. Addressing the youngsters he stated that winning or losing is not the most important component of a contest, but the perseverance demonstrated. Canada, he said, was bowled down for 82 runs in their first game, but with determination, they came back to score enough runs to win the tournament. He pointed out that a bad beginning does not necessarily mean a bad ending, as was evident by Canada’s performance. Messrs. Clifford Hinds, Tournament Director, and John Aaron, USACA's Executive Secretary also addressed the gathering at the presentation.

Trophies were awarded to the following players.

Man-of-the-Match Awards

1st game - (USA vs. Canada) - Stephen Taylor (USA)
2nd game - (Bermuda vs. Canada) Kaman Leverock (Bermuda)
3rd game - (Canada vs. Bermuda) Nitish Kumar (Canada)
4th game - (USA vs. Bermuda) Steven Taylor (USA)
5th game - (Canada vs. Bermuda) Nitish Kumar (Canada)
6th game - (USA vs. Canada) - Nitish Kumar&nb sp; (Canada)

Best Fielder Award
Vidura Ratnayake (Canada)

Best Wicketkeeper
Christian Burgess (Bermuda)

Cricket bats given for the following awards:
Most Runs
Steven Taylor (183 Runs - USA)

Most Wickets

Kaman Leverock (9 Wickets - Bermuda)

Gold, silver and bronze medals were also given to the players of the respective teams.

Plaques were presented to Mr. Krish Prasad and Mr. John Aaron by Mr. Martin Vieira in the names of all those who worked towards making the tournament a success, and the host organization (USACA), respectively.

Following the awards ceremony, everyone was invited to refreshments.
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