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USA Women Remain Competitive Despite Setbacks

By John L. Aaron
May 20th, 2009

The USA Women’s cricket team enjoyed a mixed bag of fortunes over the past two days during the ICC Americas women’s tournament in Florida. Monday, saw the eclectic American XI defeating newcomers Brazil in a Twenty20 match up at the Brian Piccolo Park, Florida, by 10 wickets.

USA versus Brazil

Winning the toss and electing to field, the US women led by former St. Lucian and West Indies all-rounder Roselyn Emanuel, showed some spirited bowling in pushing the Brazilian women back for a relatively low score of only 45 for 9 off the allotted 20 overs. Top scorer for Brazil was Louisa Paranhos, 18.

Roselyn Emanuel

Isoline Sutherland

Bowling for the USA vice skipper Candacy Atkins and Isoline Sutherland enjoyed identical returns of 4-1-5-2 each, while Doris Francis had figures of 4-1-7-2. Fifteen year-old American-born Sonakshi Sagar spun her way to figures of 1-0-3-1, with Joy Jones and Ivy Mahabir returning figures of 4-1-7-0 and 3-0-12-0 respectively. There were two run-outs off the bowling of Atkins and Sagar.

Set a target of 46 for victory, skipper Roselyn Emanuel and fellow opener Doris Francis made light work of the offer scoring 30 and 10 not out respectively, and off of only 12 overs for the 10-wicket opening victory.

USA versus Trinidad & Tobago
Tuesday, the USA women faced more formidable opponents in the young Trinidad & Tobago Development XI invited to participate in the tournament by ICC Americas, and Argentina, a team that was expected to present a greater challenge to the US team than their South American neighbors Brazil.

Winning the toss and batting first, the USA reached 58 for the loss of 5 wickets in their 20 overs, with former T&T and West Indies Test player and hard-hitter Shirley Ann Bonaparte top scoring with 23 not out, including 2x4s, and vice captain Candacy Atkins reaching 16, including 2x4s.

In reply T&T reached the required 59 run target for the loss of only 4 wickets in 13 overs. The T&T batting figures were not readily available; however the USA bowlers shared the scalps, with Jones, Sutherland, Francis and Atkins each grabbing a wicket. Thus, the USA had suffered its first defeat, albeit against a younger opponent who enjoyed an extended period of outdoor practice in preparation for the tournament, while in Trinidad, and unlike their American counterparts who had winter with which to contend.

USA versus Argentina

Hoping to bounce back from the loss to T&T, the American women battled Argentina and the unpredictable stormy weather of Florida, finally resulting in a loss via the Duckworth/Lewis route to Argentina.

Winning the toss was only one small part of the USA’s mishaps on Day Two of the week long tournament. It is reported that the USA skipper opted to field, but that request was not understood by the Umpire in charge, resulting in Argentina taking to the field and the USA batting. However, the USA women reached a comfortable 90 for 6 in their allotted 20 overs, with Dominican all-rounder Doris Francis top scoring with 32, including 3x4s, followed by skipper Roselyn Emmanuel, 18 (2x4s) and Sri Lankan Malathi Joseph, 14, (1x4).

Argentina responded aggressively, but threatening thunder and lightning caused the weather sirens to wail and play was interrupted at 8.4 overs, with the match all tied up on overs and run rate. Two balls later at the completion of the ninth over Argentina had reached 36 runs. Again the weather sirens wailed and again play was interrupted, with the officials advising that Argentina would need an adjusted target of 30 runs off 5 overs to secure the victory. However, as bad weather continued to threaten the completion of the match, some confusion stirred, as it became unclear to both sides what was really happening. At one stage the options offered were to flip a coin to decide the winner, while another was a “bowl-off” on Day Three.

At 5:40pm, the weather released its stranglehold on the contest and a decision was made to resume play with Argentina needing a recalculated 12 runs off of two overs for victory. With Trinidadian-American Ivy Mahabir having the ball and the pressure to deny the Argentineans the victory in the final over, the cricket Gods smiled on the emerging cricket nation of Argentina and the victory was secured with the loss of only one wicket. Isoline Sutherland was the only successful break through bowler returning figures of 3-1-7-1. With the loss, the USA is hard-pressed to emerge on top of the Twenty20 winners circle, but still have a chance to land among the group of teams expected to advance to the finals.

Wednesday will see the USA coming up against a strong Canadian XI in the 40-overs portion of the tournament, and would be considered the underdog, having only gotten its women’s program together during the last three months and largely from the east coast of the United States. Canada has been practicing in Trinidad and Tobago over the past month, as the players loosened up from the harsh Canadian winter blahs.

In other matches played so far, Trinidad and Tobago also beat Brazil in a late Monday afternoon game, while Argentina surprisingly defeated Bermuda, after the top-seeded Canada had earlier extracted its pound of flesh from a hapless Argentina XI.
Trinidad & Tobago will not feature in the point standings or compete for the championship, since they are only participating as an invitational XI.

The performance of the US women has been somewhat encouraging so far, given the fact that the hastily arranged Eastern versus Western Conference championship held less than a month ago was the first and only time the selectors had had a chance to decide on the eclectic group of women for this tournament.

With a blend of experience and absolute innocence for the sport of cricket, the current team is seen as a transitional squad that is expected to attract other talented and younger pairs of legs to represent the USA in the coming months. For now, the struggle is on a match-by-match basis that would test the strength and tenacity of the tournament hosts and relative newcomers to the sport of international women’s cricket.

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An excellent summary of the games so far, thank you.
Posted by David sentance, May 20th, 2009
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