A superb all round bowling effort has seen #TeamUSA defeat the Leeward Islands by 57 runs to record their first win of this year’s Cricket West Indies Super 50 festival in Antigua.
Batting first the U.S. got off to a great start with openers Sunny Sohal and Jaskaran Malhotra seemingly unfazed against the Leeward’s quick men, and moving serenely to the team’s first 50 run opening partnership of the tournament. However, as has become an all too familiar pattern, once the spinners were brought into the attack and the ball softened somewhat, the U.S. run rate stagnated. With the pressure to score mounting, an injudicious slog sweep from Malhotra saw him trapped in front with the total at 81, and when not long after man-of-the-match Sohal was out with the score at 98 to a similar looking shot – only this time being caught in the deep, it sparked a mini collapse.
Captain Ibrahim Khaleel, Roy Silva and Xavier Marshall all fell in quick succession, with the hard work done to get to 81 without loss seemingly thrown away with the score now reading 114/5. In the end the lower middle order and tail did a pretty good job to get the score up to 193, although it seemed well short of a par score given the true nature of the pitch. However, as the old saying goes… ‘never judge a surface until both teams have batted’.
From the start of the Leewards chase though, the U.S. looked up to the task of defending their first innings score. Elmore Hutchinson again struck early, trapping both Thomas and Carty in front in his second over. The big man finished with 2 for 11 from just 5 overs, with 7 bowlers used by skipper Khaleel. In a change up from previous matches, Mrunal Patel was given a couple of overs up front from the other end to Hutchinson. He didn’t get a wicket, but conceded only two runs an over, a sign of what was to come for the Leeward’s batsman.
A promising 32 run partnership for the 3rd wicket was nipped in the bud by a Roy Silva caught and bowled, and in the next over Saurabh Netravalkar took out Shane Burton and Akeal Hosein to leave the home side reeling at 41/5. Netravalkar finished with the impressive figures of 2 for 17 from 10, and continues to impress with his level of control.
USA?? WIN! A wonderful bowling performance has led USA to a first win in the 2018 @WestIndies Super50!
— USA Cricket (@usacricket) February 10, 2018
The Leewards’ batsmen simply couldn’t get any partnerships going, with the bowlers continuing to apply the pressure from both ends. Left arm spinner Nosthush Kenjige was rewarded for attacking the stumps by picking up 4 of the remaining wickets, finishing with 4 for 38 from his 8 overs. In the end a 41 run partnership for the 10th wicket prevented win from being a complete blowout.
And so, the U.S. team will feel chuffed that the small improvements they’ve shown in each of their first-round losses have coalesced to get them over the line in such emphatic fashion in the first match of round two. They will take that positive energy into their next match on Monday against the Guyana Jaguars.
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