KING CITY, Ont. — Nicholas Kirton scored 108 not out as Canada recovered from a slow start at bat to overwhelm Vanuatu and win by 204 runs in ICC Cricket World Cup Challenge League A play Friday.
Vanuatu won the toss and elected to field in a match shortened to 38 overs from the normal 50 after overnight rain.
The Canadians finished at 246 for four. Vanuatu managed just 42 runs for nine wickets in response with Canadian spin bowler Rommel Shazad taking four wickets.
The Canadians has a rough start, losing openers Rayyan Pathan for seven and Dhaliwal for 10. Matthew Spoors and Shreyas Movva followed, both exiting on four runs to leave Canada at 34 for four.
Kirton, batting fourth, and No. 6 Salman Nazar steadied the ship. Nazar had to retire injured after scoring 55 runs to bring Canada to 188 for four.
Ravinderpal Singh followed, slugging 42 runs off just 17 balls with two fours and four sixes. Kirton finished with seven fours and five sixes in his 95-ball knock.
Vanuatu opener Joshua Rasu had a rocky start to his innings, taking a ball from fast bowler Jeremy Gordon on the helmet. His 10 runs led all Vanuatu batsmen.
The six-team tournament, which runs through Sunday at the Maple Leaf Cricket Club, is part of the World Cup qualifying process. The Canadians were coming off wins over Denmark, Singapore, Malaysia and Qatar with captain Navneet Dhaliwal hitting a pair of centuries.
The Challenge Leagues are a 2 1/2-year competition involving 12 teams considered three steps away from the 2023 World Cup. The King City event was originally slated to be held last August but was pushed back due to the pandemic.
There are two Challenge Leagues, A and B, each comprising six teams that play 15 matches each over two years. Canada is in Group A while Group B is made up of Bermuda, Hong Kong, Italy, Jersey, Kenya and Uganda.
Canada leads Group A at 9-1 with the lone loss by four runs to Singapore in Kuala Lumpur last September. It will play five more matches in the next league session later this year.
Vanuatu dropped to 2-7.
The top team in each league at the end of the competition will secure two of the six places in the Men’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier Playoff to be held later in 2022, alongside the bottom four of Men’s CWC League 2. The top two teams from the playoff continue in the hunt to participate in India 2023.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 5, 2022