Series: Americas World Cup Qualifiers Sep 2021
Venue: Reforma Athletic Club, Naucalpan
Result: Brazil by 1 run
Insane Final Over Gives Brazil Victory by One Run
A match with everything. Shortened to 17 overs per side, it all came to the final ball of the innings, including a triple hat trick. The winner of this would join USA at the top of the table. There was much at stake
The previous match was shortened by rain and this one had the ground staff still mopping up, indeed using a blower-vac to help dry the pitch. Upon winning the toss, Canada’s Kamna Mirchandani didn’t think twice about sending the opposition in. When asked about the toss and the conditions, Brazil skipper Roberta Avery ominously declared that both teams would have the same conditions so the toss didn’t matter.
Scoring was certainly tough and the Brazil openers crawled at snail pace until the first wicket fell in the 5th over with just 9 runs on the board. This brought the captain the crease and it was around her score of 21 that the Brazil innings of 48 was built. It wasn’t a lot but it may well have been on the minds of both teams that Canada scored only 48 runs against Brazil in the earlier fixture, and that off 20 overs.
Miryam Khokhar (1) fell to Maria Ribeiro in the second over, but it was the prize wicket of Divya Saxena (6) in the third over that rocked Canada. Saxena had been overwhelmingly the heaviest scorer in the tournament and losing her was a body blow to Canada.
Wickets continued to fall but it was Mukhwinder Gill (19) who the Canadian ship afloat and guided the team to the point where they needed just 3 runs from the final over. Who would bowl? The ever efficient Nicole Monteiro who was now Brazil’s leading all time wicket taker? Or the youngster, fifteen year old Laura Cardoso? Roberta Avery chose the latter.
First ball, a dot. Second ball Gill hits the ball legside but Krima Kapadia is runout. Still 3 to win with four balls remaining.
Hala Azmat is bowled of the third ball and Hiba Shamshad off the fourth. A team hat-trick. Sana Zafar takes a huge heave towards the offside but is caught by the skipper. Cardoso has her own hat-trick and Brazil a team double hat-trick.
Final ball. Canada needs 2 runs to tie. Gill hits to leg. There isn’t 2 in it but she has to go, for she has no choice and is runout. Five wickets in five balls and Brazil win in the most unlikely of ways by the thinnest of margins.
Laura Cardoso was named Player of the Match. Cool as a cucumber defending that last over, the youngster was outstanding. In the process she became the leading wicket taker for the tournament.
“My heart can’t handle another over like that!” – Roberta Avery. Nor can mine!
Player of the Match: Laura Cardoso