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2010 ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup
Andy Mohammed Shows Grit Despite USA Lost To Aussies

By Lloyd Jodah
Jan. 16th, 2010
Azurdeen “Andy” Mohammed led the fight for the USA Under-19 team with a record highest individual score of 70 by an American, at any World Cup, passing the previous high of 65 by Hemant Punoo in the 2006 Under-19 World Cup. It was an innings of determination and heart, evoking comparisons to the great Shiv Chanderpaul.

Azrudeen Mohamed during that grit know of his against Australia. (Photos courtesy of USACA)

As he said after the game, "The fast bowlers were like nothing we faced before, but all it took was for us to fight and play tough cricket. I tried to take all the hits on my body."

The Australian pace attack of Alister McDermott and Josh Hazlewood used pace, accuracy and bouncers to destroy the American batting, but playing well off the legs Andy Mohammed showed no fear, hitting five fours and one top-edged six in 70 magnificent runs. In the bucolic setting of the Southern Alps, the Australians gave Andy a mountain to climb and he didn't flinch.

The Australians won the toss and batted first. Hammad Shahid and Regis Burton opened the bowling for the USA. A bit surprising, however Naseer Jamali who has bowled well so far, may still have been recovering from a stomach virus. The Australian openers Nic Maddinson and Tom Beaton made hay while the sun shone and took the score to 82, before Ghous got the breakthrough, getting Maddinson stumped by Steven Taylor in a great piece of wicket-keeping.

Most of the USA bowlers bowled well and Ghous, Shahid, Corns and Saleem all finished with two wickets apiece, as Australia was all out for 262 in 49.3 overs. Tom Beaton made a well-played 73 off 76 balls, with five fours and three sixes. Jason Floros, 33, and Tim Armstrong, 39, were the other main scorers. The USA could feel good about getting the Aussies all out, even if 262 was a tough target.

Steven Taylor and Henry Wardley opened for the USA with some confidence after their pair of 50's against Papua New Guinea in the last warm-up match. But this was Australia and this was a real World Cup game. Before a NFL team gets to the Playoffs it plays 16 regular season, plus four warm-up games. Under-19 cricket teams like Australia have been playing for the past year. The USA Under-19 team has not been that fortunate, and it showed.

The fiery bowling of Alister McDermott and Josh Hazlewood, sprinkled with bouncers, unnerved the batsmen. The fact that of the first seven wickets that fell, five were caught behinds and two were lbws, tells the story of being beaten by pace. McDermott beat Taylor with pace and got him lbw, a bouncer did Wardley in and Corns made a "cane cutter" slash to be caught by Marsh. USA 18 for 3, McDermott 4 overs,7 runs 3 wickets.

When captain Vashishat left for a duck. Andy Mohammed came in with the score at 28 for 4. After 10 overs the USA was 28 for 7. and it could have been worse as Andy was dropped in the slips off McDermott. Hazlewood at one point was on a hat trick having dismissed Sewdial and Burton. Asad Ghous and Andy Mohammed then showed the steel within, playing controlled shots and taking ones, twos and threes to put on 68 runs before Ghous, on the backfoot, went plumb lbw to Adam Zampa.

The tall Hammad Shahid and Andy then put on 58 runs in another gritty partnership. They ran well between the wickets to give Mohammed the strike as much as possible, whilst Shahid used his height to fend off the bouncers. Shahid later admitted "McDermott and Hazlewood were quick, but I played them back foot defense. It got easier the more balls I faced." The USA innings ended at 154 off 41.3 overs. A remarkable comeback by Andy Mohammed, Ghous and Shahid.

Certainly there will be soul-searching and brainstorming as to what can be done better in the USA's next game, against South Africa. The collapse of the batting order is one story, but the bowlers did well to get the Australians out for a reasonable score and three USA batsmen stepped into the fire today, and came out X-Men of steel. Now it’s up to the coaches and players to pull the positives from this game, where the USA team, playing against the experienced Australians, were hopelessly out-classed. Now, if only all of the USA's batsmen could focus and click on the same day!

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