T20 World Cup 2024 team preview: Canada

Canada face neighbours USA in a key game, and the Maple Leaves return to an ICC World Cup for the first time since 2011

Canada beat PNG by 90 runs at the 2023 Cricket World Cup Qualifier Play-off

There is a long history of cricket in Canada, with the sport dating back to the eighteenth century and Canada being one-half of the oldest international sporting fixture, in their 1844 game against USA in front of 10,000 people. Despite cricket not yet breaking through as a mainstream sport in the Canadian sporting landscape, the country has a strong history in the game, hosting and touring many established cricket members in the late 1800s and early 1900s, alongside featuring at the World Cup four times in their history, the first being the second edition of the tournament in 1979. In the T20 World Cup, this is Canada’s first showing following qualification from the Americas Qualifier in September and October 2023.  

With the build-up to the start of the tournament overshadowed by speculation and rumours off the field, the Canada team will be hoping to silence these and show a good display on the field. Despite the withdrawal of Harsh Thaker due to injury, the squad has been settled for the last couple of years and the playing group will be familiar with one another.  

Following their progression in the Americas Qualifiers, the side has not played an extensive amount of T20 cricket, with their next series a 4-0 loss to rivals USA followed by a 63 run win in the pre-tournament warm-up against Nepal in Dallas. However, the side have been in fine form in ODI cricket following their promotion to the ICC World Cricket League 2 and hoping that, under the guidance of experienced associate coach Pubudu Dassanayake, that they can find some T20 form during the tournament.  

How Canada Qualified

Canada progressed from the Americas Qualifier to take the only spot designated to the Americas region. Following a heavy opening day loss to Bermuda by 86 runs, Canada won their remaining games in convincing fashion to set up a final game play-off against Bermuda in the reverse fixture of the double-round robin. In the windy capital of Hamilton, Canada overturned their opening day loss to win the group and progress to the 2024 T20 World Cup.   


Saturday, 1st June 2024, vs USA, Dallas 

Friday, 7th June 2024, vs Ireland, New York 

Tuesday, 11th June 2024, vs Pakistan, New York 

Saturday, 15th June 2024, vs India, Lauderhill  

Key Players 

Nicholas Kirton has developed into a very effective middle-order batter in the T20 format. Arguably the best Canadian batter technically, he’s managed to find a way to score quickly these last couple of years and convert more of his starts into substantial contributions.  

Although Dilon Heyliger does not have express pace, the right-arm pacer bowls with great skill and is an effective bowler in the format. His consistency with the ball has made him the linchpin of the Canadian bowling attack in recent years alongside Jeremy Gordon, who offers more pace between the two bowlers. Alongside the threat with the ball, Heyliger has a lot of power with the bat and can provide some quick lower order runs.  

Followers of Canadian cricket will be delighted to see Kaleem Sana injury-free and in the squad. When fit and firing, the left-arm quick is Canada’s most threatening bowler and has the skill and pace to break through high-quality batters.  

Saad Bin Zafar has been central to cricket in Canada since 2008 and the long-serving all-rounder leads the side into the tournament as captain, a position he’s held since 2022. Always reliable with ball and strong offer in the middle and later overs with the bat, he’s shown across the last couple of years the vast experience he holds through his captaincy and will provide solid leadership to the squad.  

Form Guide 

Canada arrives at the tournament in excellent form in ODI cricket but have not quite produced the same damage in T20 cricket. Following a mixed bag against Bermuda in the Americas qualifier, a 4-0 series loss against USA in April will have dented their confidence, especially following the loss of key player Nitish Kumar to their rivals and neighbours. Although their warm-up against the Netherlands was washed out, the squad will be looking to build and move forward following their 63 run win over Nepal in the other warm-up match.  


Qualification from the group will be a difficult task with both India and Pakistan fighting for the two qualifying spots. However, Canada certainly has the strength to be competitive against the two heavyweights of the group and will be looking towards USA and Ireland as their chance to pick up a couple of wins.  


A tough group in a tough World Cup, if Canada overturn their rivals and pick up their first T20 World Cup win, most fans will see this as a satisfactory tournament. 

Canada Squad 

Saad Bin Zafar (C), Dilpreet Bajwa, Navneet Dhaliwal, Aaron Johnson, Nicholas Kirton, Pargat Singh, Ravinderpal Singh, Shreyas Movva (WK), Rayyan Pathan, Nikhil Dutta, Junaid Siddiqui, Jeremy Gordon, Dillon Heyliger, Rishiv Joshi, Kaleem Sana 

Coach: Pubudu Dassanayake 

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