After the highs of a wonderful bonus point win against Leeward Islands on Saturday, #TeamUSA have gone down fighting to the now Group B leaders, the Guyana Jaguars who ran out 7 wicket winners at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground in Antigua.
The USA were on the back foot from the moment they lost the toss as they were asked to bat first, with inclement weather meaning the side batting first would almost certainly experience the more difficult batting conditions.
In fact there were multiple delays to play in the morning with first showers, and then a wet pitch that needed the attention of the groundsmen leading to a few false starts. When play finally got underway properly, the early conditions were certainly assisting the bowlers, with run scoring very difficult early on in a match that was reduced to 44 overs a side due to the late start.
USA battled their way to 144 All Out, losing their tenth and final wicket off the first ball of the 44th over. However, things could have been far worse had Jaskaran Malhotra not batted for nearly 43 overs of the innings in compiling a hugely impressive innings of 80. Malhotra adjusted to the tough conditions to keep the scoreboard ticking throughout his epic effort, whilst wickets continued to fall at the other end.
Other than Xavier Marshall with 19, and Adil Bhatti with 17, no other batsman was able to stick with Malhotra and build a partnership of any note. It was a superb effort from the man making his debut for USA at this tournament thought, and was one of the innings of Super50 so far for #TeamUSA.
An impressive innings of 64 off just 59 balls from Chanderpaul Hemraj combined with the class of Shivnarine Chanderpaul has guided Guyana to a 7 wicket win over #TeamUSA?? in Group B of the Super50 in Antigua
— USA Cricket (@usacricket) February 12, 2018
144 never quite looked like it was going to be enough, especially on a pitch that had notably flattened out since the U.S. batted in the afternoon sunshine. There was an early indication of some hope though as Netravalkar snared the big wicket of Hetmyer caught behind to leave Guyana Jaguars 5 for 1.
Elmore Hutchinson was unable to take a wicket in his opening spell for the first time in the tournament despite his probing six overs only going for seven runs. Without any further early wickets, the writing was on the wall for USA without enough runs on the board to create any scoreboard pressure. An 89-run partnership for the 2nd wicket between Chanderpaul Hemraj and Shivnarine Chanderpaul left little doubt in the likely outcome of the match.
The U.S. bowlers did snaffle another couple of wickets as the Jaguars looked to open their shoulders with the target approaching, but in the end a 7-wicket loss with almost 14 overs remaining represents a tough day at the office.
With three days off now to re-assess, USA will hope to get the better of the conditions in their next game against Kent on Friday and having come so close to a huge victory over the English county, there will be hopes of a second group win later in the week in Antigua.
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