The ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup Americas Qualifier witnessed a dramatic conclusion on Friday, as USA emerged victorious, defeating Canada by seven wickets in a rain-affected winner-takes-all matchup to seal the 16th and final qualification spot at next year’s U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup.

Having enjoyed strong performances against the other competitors Argentina and Bermuda earlier in the week, both teams headed into Friday’s showdown at the Maple Leaf Cricket Club in King City, Ontario knowing that a win would see them book their tickets for Sri Lanka in January. 

Canada led the standings before Friday’s play, enjoying an unbeaten campaign which involved a close-fought victory over the same opposition earlier in the week, but the seven-wicket triumph meant that the USA advanced by virtue of a higher net run rate.

The start was delayed following heavy rain the previous night and despite the other fixture in the group being abandoned, play went ahead with the match eventually reduced to 22 overs per side as more rain fell during play.

Batting first in difficult conditions, Canada lost early wickets and fell to 15 for three within the first six overs. After a brief recovery, the USA bowlers once more found joy, eventually restricting the home side to a modest 92 for 9 from their allotted overs. Yash Mondkar top-scored for Canada, while Utkarsh Srivastava and Parth Patel did the damage for the USA, claiming two wickets for 16 and three for 17 respectively.

In reply, the USA initiated a controlled start. Opener Prannav Chettipalayam led from the front, scoring a valuable 36 runs from 39 balls. Even though they lost wickets at the other end, and stuttered in the middle overs to 58 for three, Patel provided enough support with 25 not out to see the visitors over the line with four overs to spare.

The win sees the USA end Canadian dominance at U19 regional qualification stages, and means they will be competing at the World Cup for the first time since 2010.

Speaking after the win, USA captain Rishi Ramesh expressed his delight, “It’s a been a long journey for us in the USA and we’re finally here. We’ve made history and are proud to represent our country.”

Friday’s victory was preceded by a number of sizeable winning margins. Fast run-scoring and prolific bowling performances helped lay the foundations for the decisive net run-rate advantage which saw them qualify. This included chasing down 116 inside 12 overs against Bermuda, and two big margins of victory against Argentina (450 runs and 328 runs).

These wins were inspired through a number of key individual performances. Skipper Ramesh, Bhavya Mehta and the Player of the Tournament Chettipalayam (377 total runs) all scored big centuries in Toronto, while Srivastava, Patel and Aarin Nadkarni also starred, posting exceptional bowling figures across their fixtures.

The Americas Qualifier was the final event in the qualification pathway for the U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup 2024, and following its conclusion, the sixteen teams set to feature in Sri Lanka are confirmed as Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, Ireland, Namibia, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa, Sri Lanka, USA, West Indies and Zimbabwe.