New Zealand strolled to a 97 run win against Canada in their Group A encounter of the ICC Cricket World Cup at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium. With the win New Zealand now top Group A once again. Canada can pride themselves in achieving their highest score of this edition of the World Cup.
Ashish Bagai, the Canadian captain, won the toss in the morning and decided to field first. The Canadian seam bowlers were excellent in the first three overs, giving nothing away. But Brendon McCullum and Martin Guptill, the Kiwi openers, then hit at least one boundary off every over from the 4th to the 9th to raise the 50 partnership for the opening wicket. Guptill was dismissed in the 10th over when Bagai took a very good catch standing up to the seamer Harvir Baidwan.
McCullum then added 96 runs for the second wicket with a subdued Jesse Ryder before Ryder gave a catch to the fielder at long on. McCullum got to his century – his first in World Cups –in the 36th over and along with Ross Taylor was preparing to murder the Canada attack when the batting Powerplay was taken in the 37th over. But he perished in the over as he hit straight to the fielder stationed at extra cover. However, Taylor was in a mood to attack as he punished Baidwan for four sixes and a four off one single over.
Taylor blasted a six and two more fours before getting out to a wonderful catch from Jimmy Hansra. The fielder had to dive forward as the ball was about to hit the ground. Scott Styris and Kane Williamson took the score past 300 and a final over onslaught from James Franklin ensured 350. Franklin hit three sixes and two fours as the 50th over yielded 31 runs and New Zealand finished at 358/6.
Canada received early setbacks as Ruvindu Gunasekara and Zubin Surkari were dismissed by outswingers from Kyle Mills. Bagai and Hiral Patel took the score to 50 before the aggressive Patel was given out caught behind. That brought Canada’s most dependable batting pair in the tournament – Bagai and Jimmy Hansra – together. They did not disappoint as they forged a partnership but made no concerted attempt to up the run rate and go for the target.
Bagai was the more attacking of the pair and brought up his fifty in the 27th over. He suffered two bouts of cramps though, and tried to attack Nathan McCullum but only got an inside edge to the wicket keeper Brendon. With Jimmy Hansra too returning to the pavilion due to cramps, the question was whether Canada would be able to bat for 50 overs. And bat they did, scoring 261/9 and keeping their pride intact.
New Zealand will be once again happy with the showing of their batsmen. They did not miss Daniel Vettori today but a more experienced batting line up would have given a harder time for their bowlers. The injury to Kyle Mills was another worry to the Kiwis. With just one game against co-hosts Sri Lanka left, New Zealand will be hoping to hold on to the top position in the group.
Canada’s bowling was below par today after the initial three overs. They lost the plot completely in the batting Powerplay as well as in the final few overs. In just two overs, they conceded 59 of the 358 runs scored by New Zealand which in other words contributed to 17% of the overall total. The batting relies too much on Bagai and Hansra and there does not seem to be any intent in the remaining batsmen which is another aspect they need to sort out.