The left-arm spin duo of Nosthush Kenjige and Nisarg Patel took three wickets apiece in USA’s animated defense of 178 to rally their side past Canada by 23 runs. The win secured the Auty Cup for USA – for the first time in 26 years – with a 2-1 series victory at Maple Leaf Cricket Club.
Canada were 77 for 3 in the 23rd over of the chase before USA roared back into the match behind Nisarg’s match-turning spell. Nisarg’s first blow was struck with the dismissal of Usman Limbada for 24, who fished at a wider ball and fended an edge behind to captain Ibrahim Khaleel. As Nisarg’s spell continued, the third-day pitch showed progressively more turn as well as variable bounce that was fully exploited.
Nisarg continued to attack the stumps with a series of strong lbw shouts denied to the frustration of Khaleel, who received a series of warnings from the on-field umpires for excessive appealing and dissent after the not out decisions. Nisarg struck again in the 25th, bowling Mark Montfort for 19 with a good length ball that kept low. After two massive shouts for lbw on Navneet Dhaliwal were denied in the 27th off Nisarg, the bowler nabbed him leg before in the 29th to make it 94 for 6 on a ball that appeared to hit Dhaliwal very high and may have been going over the stumps.
Kenjige plugged away at the opposite end refusing to let the pressure break. Having already nabbed Dhanuka Pathirana in his initial spell, Kenjige had the dangerous Rizwan Cheema caught slogging at long off for 17 before Shahid Ahmadzai mistimed a flick to midwicket to put USA two wickets away from the Auty Cup.
Saad Bin Zafar, who produced an unbeaten 41 to get Canada over the line on Wednesday, inched Canada closer to the target. After Nisarg’s spell ended, Silva’s introduction into the attack for the first time broke Zafar’s resistance, poking outside off stump for another edge behind to wrap up a wicket maiden in the 41st. It meant Canada needed 32 from the last wicket pair of Nikhil Dutta and Cecil Pervez to retain the Auty Cup.
Dutta went the aggressive route and drove Timil Patel’s legspin for six in the following over. However, he perished trying to repeat the shot in the 44th and was beaten in flight to be stumped for Khaleel’s fourth dismissal of the day to spark raucous celebrations from USA.
Timil securing the final wicket was a fitting ending to the day after he helped set up a defendable target by top-scoring for the second day in a row. Entering at 73 for 6 in the 28th over in an almost carbon-copy situation as he had a day earlier, Timil maneuvered Canada’s spinners while compiling a top-score of 44 to help justify Khaleel’s decision at toss to bat first. Mrunal Patel played a key supporting role, scoring 31 in a 68-run seventh wicket stand before holing out to long-on in the 43rd over off Ahmadzai’s left-arm spin.
With Timil looking comfortable against slow bowling, Dhaliwal was brought back for another spell of medium pace in the 44th but Timil carved him for two boundaries in a crucial 10-run over, to take USA past 150. He fell in the following over to Pervez for the eighth wicket at 153.
Pervez struck with a pair of yorkers in the 49th for the last two wickets of Elmore Hutchinson and Ali Khan but not before Hutchinson struck a vital 20 off 15 balls to get USA to give USA a fighting chance. The second innings resembled a bare-knuckle brawl on a wearing pitch and by the end USA put Canada down on the mat in the cross-border rivalry series for the first time since 1991.