Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Cricket's oldest Rivalry is Back: Auty Cup

What would be thought that will come into your mind if I ask you which is the first international match in any sports: Is it Football? What would be the oldest series in cricket: Is it the Ashes? Which 2 countries played the first International game of Cricket: Is it England and Australia?

These would seem the obvious answer to the 3 questions. 99% of the people would give that answer, but the story is different. The first International match in any sports was not played in football or hockey, it was infact in Cricket (Cricket lovers should be proud of this fact). Ashes is not the oldest series in Cricket (Yes it is the oldest official series) but the oldest series is the Auty Cup. England and Australia did not play the first cricket series. It was infact played between Canada and USA, and it was highly popular. he game was watched by between 10,000 and 20,000 spectators and around $120,000 worth of bets were placed. 20000 people in 1844 is like 200000 people attending a match now.

The series was played sporadically between the 2 countries. However over time with the American Civil war, baseball became a popular past time. Aggressive marketing in Baseball lead it to become a popular sport. Similarly in Canada, with Americans more concentrating on Baseball, they similarly shifted towards ice hockey. Also with ICC coming up as Imperial Cricket Conference, this came as a death certificate for cricket in both countries specially USA. The tours of England to USA reduced and increased towards Australia and then the Ashes was born.

The Auty Cup was held again after a gap of 16 years, when it was last time played in 1995. The winner this time was the same as first time i.e Canada. Canada defeated USA by 34 runs

The Auty cup is a 2 day match. To have a result in the two-day match the 2 innings are kept limited to overs. Each first innings was limited to 45 overs and each second innings to 40 overs.  There is no bowling restriction to ensure that it doesn't become like a 2 limited innings match.

Canada started their innings well and made 239-4 from their 45 overs. The USA reply started badly as they lost early wickets. The visitors were bowled out for 166.

In the second innings, having scored 231-6, the Canadians set the USA a formidable target of 305 in their 40 overs. The USA team put up a remarkable fight. USA got a lot closer than many would have expected. the Americans were bowled out for 270, losing by 34 runs.

Let us hope that we see a revival of the oldest sports rivalry and with time the profile of the game comes back to its old times of glory.

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