GT20 Canada: Rain and Cricket take their love-hate game to Brampton

Of seven matches scheduled for the first four days, two have been hit by rain.

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Rain and cricket are traditional rivals. Cricket which continues to pride itself as an essentially outdoor game has an ongoing battle with Lord Indra. Traditionally, rain has disrupted more games of cricket than any other sport.

And Brampton has been the latest victim. Of seven matches scheduled for the first four days, two have been hit by rain. It may be a mere coincidence that in both the rain-hit games, the team involved has been the pre-tournament favourites, Brampton Wolves.

Chasing a target of  122 in their first match against Mississauga Panthers, Brampton Wolves had to halt their run spree at 91 for one after nine overs on the opening day because of rain.

Today, rain may have come to the rescue of the Wolves as they were struggling at 50 for three in 7.2 overs after losing three of their top batters.

Unmindful of weather pundits warning of showers late in the afternoon, the Sunday cricket revellers turned up in sizable numbers to watch tournament leaders, Brampton Wolves, take on Surrey Jaguars.

They say rain is a good omen as former Indian Test spinner and Rajya Sabha member from Punjab, Harbhajan Singh, joined Brampton Wolves on the field today. Though he was not in the playing XI, he took time to go around various stands to acknowledge greetings and good wishes from his fans. He obliged many with selfies and autographs before rain too forced his hasty retreat to the team’s dressing room.

With thick dark clouds hanging low, portending moderate showers, the toss was taken.  Surrey Jaguars after winning the spin of coin expectedly opted to field first. Their gamble paid rich dividends as they had sent back to pavilion two of the star batters – Aaron Johnson and Mark Chapman – back to the pavilion with the scoreboard reading a dismal 11/2.

Sheel Patel and Mathew Forde did the initial damage before Usman Khan tried to accord some respectability to the Wolves total. One of his mighty swipes landed the ball far beyond the boundary for the first six of the game. He hit three immaculate boundaries before he, too, was shown the route back to the dressing room for a personal score of 29. Colin de Grandhomme, who came next, announced his arrival with a six. Rain was not far behind as the Wolves’ total reached 50 off 7.2 overs, and players were forced off the field.

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Though the wicket and run-ups on either side of the wicket were covered, signs of the game being resumed even with a reduced number of overs, vanished as moderate showers continued. Umpires had no choice but to abandon the game with Wolves struggling at 50 for 3 in 7.2 overs.

Earlier in the first game of the fourth day of the mega event, Montreal Tigers outplayed Mississauga Panthers by seven wickets. It was the third consecutive defeat for the Panthers as they continue to hold their position at the bottom of the table.

Chris Lyne played some superb shots to the great delight of spectators who had started arriving at the venue much before the start of the game. They had come anticipating a great feast of cricket. They had every reason to be pleased as Chris Lyne hit nine fluent boundaries and a mighty six in his innings of 64 of 45 balls. His daring innings scripted seven wickets success for the Montreal Tigers as the target of 141 was achieved in 15.5 overs with seven wickets to spare.

Earlier, when Mississauga Panthers, led by Pakistan’s great allrounder of yesteryears, Shoaib took the field, some good batting was exhibited by both James Neeshan, who remained unbeaten on 54 and local guy Navneet Dhaliwal who made 46. While Neeshan had two sixes and four boundaries in his 35-ball innings, Navneet hit six boundaries from 47 balls he faced during his stay at the wicket.

It was Kaleem Sana, who proved to be the main wrecker of the Panthers’ innings as he returned an impressive figure of three for 8 from his quota of four overs. Carlos Brathwaite (two for 21) and Shakib-Al Hassan (one for 28) also bowled well as the Panthers ended with 140 for six in the stipulated 20 overs.

The GT 20 Canada event had a VIP guest in the Conservative party leader, Pierre Poilievre, who not only met players and officials but also went around the stands where spectators greeted him with the beat of the drum. He was accompanied by Deputy Leader Tim Uppal.

Monday will be a rest day. Matches will resume on Tuesday when Toronto Nationals take on Surrey Jaguars and Vancouver Knights play Montreal Tigers.

Prabhjot Singh


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