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Canada cricketers miss out on marquee matchup with India due to wet ground conditions

LAUDERHILL — Canada's first trip to the ICC Men's T20 World Cup ended prematurely Saturday with its final game against top-ranked India abandoned without a ball bowled.

The match, due to start at 10:30 a.m. ET, was delayed due to wet ground conditions at Central Broward Park & Broward County Stadium. The umpires called off the contest after inspecting the pitch an hour later.

"Both teams wanted to play," said Canada coach Pubudu Dassanayake. "And I think even the officials really wanted to play. They worked very hard to get the game going. But there are areas on the ground that is not improved from (Friday). There's a few water puddles still there so basically the game is called off due to the damp outfield.

"Nobody wants to get injured, especially the (India) team (that) is moving forward into the next stage. That's the only reason and it was totally the officials' call."

Canada's fate at the tournament had been determined Friday when the U.S.-Ireland game was washed out at the same venue.

That earned the 17th-ranked Americans a single point that increased its total to five behind unbeaten India in Group A. And it meant that No. 23 Canada and No. 6 Pakistan, both on two points with one game remaining, couldn't catch the U.S.

Only the top two in each of the 20-country tournament's four groups advance to the Super-8 stage.

The Canadians would have needed to upset India, radically improve its net run rate and hope that the U.S. and Pakistan both lost to Ireland to have any chance of advancing. Even then, that scenario would have left the Canadians and 11th-ranked Irish tied on four points with run rate coming into play.

Friday's washout made it all moot, leaving the Canadians crossing their fingers that Mother Nature would not interfere with their finale against India.

"We as an associate country, look forward to play against India, but I think sometimes we cannot do anything against nature," said Dassanayake.

Games with cricket's superpowers are rare for ICC associate members like Canada. India beat Canada by 128 runs when they met in one-day play at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur.

India won the T20 tournament in 2007, was runner-up in 2014 and made the semifinals in 2016 and 2022.

Canada lost its opening match to the U.S. by seven wickets on June 1 in Texas before bouncing back to upset Ireland by 12 runs on June 7 in suburban New York.

"Coming into the World Cup is a real big thing for Canada," said Dassanayake, a former Sri Lankan and Canadian international player.

"Performance-wise, as a coach, I always want to improve in every game but I'm happy how all the games went through," he added. "I also think the fans are also happy how the team fared this whole World Cup. I think this last two, three weeks will boost cricket in Canada."

India defeated Ireland by eight wickets, Pakistan by six runs and the U.S. by seven wickets.

The final Group A game is Pakistan-Ireland on Sunday in Lauderhill.

Canada sits third in the group standings with three points, behind India (seven) and the U.S. (five). Pakistan has two points and Ireland one.

The 20-team tournament is being co-hosted by the U.S. and the West Indies. The Super-8 stage splits into two groups, with each team guaranteed three games to try and reach the semifinals.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 15, 2024

The Canadian Press