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2010 ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup
Inconsistent US Fall To South Africa

By Lloyd Jodah
Jan. 18th, 2009 | Gallery
South Africa reached the finals of the Under-19 World Cup in 2006 and 2008, and entered the 2010 World Cup as one of the favorites, ahead of Australia. South Africa was also well-prepared, touring England last January, and hosting the Indian and Sri Lankan Under-19 teams as recent as December 2009. Coming into this game the USA team was battered, having put up a fight against the Australians in their first game. Fans in the USA were disappointed that, despite the size of the USA TV and online cricket market, the game was not broadcast.

Gregory Sewdial batting against South Africa hitting 41, that included 4x4 and a six. (Photos courtesy of USACA)

South Africa won the toss and elected to bowl, hoping to take advantage of the overcast and heavily clouded conditions. Overnight rain left the pitch a bit moist too. Graham Hume and Samuel Mufokeng opened the bowling for SA, Steven Taylor and Abhijit Joshi the batting for the USA. The selectors opted to sit out Henry Wardley, who scored an impressive 54 in the warm-up match against Papua New. This move cannot help Wardley's confidence. Hammad Shahid was also out of the XI, however, he was nursing a hand injury inflicted by the Aussie fast bowlers. Joshi and Taylor put on 28 before Taylor was clean-bowled by Hume for 11 off 27 deliveries.

The hard-hitting Gregory Sewdial came in at three and looked for his shots,timing the ball very well, while playing a delightful cut past point for four, and a later glorious cover drive for a six. Dale Deeb, who made his first-class debut in 2008 came on with his left-arm spin and helped slow the scoring. Nevertheless at drinks, the USA was looking good at 54 for one off 16 overs. Shortly after though Joshi went lbw for a patient 14 off 50 balls, and Ryan Corns playing for the first time against the country where he was born and attended school, cut and was caught in the gully for two. Suddenly USA was 55 for three.

In came Andy Mohammed who had scored a determined 70 against the Australians. The same Australians who went on to decimate the entire Ireland team for just 65. With Sewdial looking good, the stage was set for the USA team to finally have two of their top batsmen put together a large partnership. Andy's straight drive for four seemed a sign of great things to come. The pair slowly took the score to 90 before Andy, looking to increase the scoring rate, played across the line lofting one to long-on where Hume took the catch running in. USA 90/4 off 28.5 overs. Mohammed's contribution of 19 came off of 37 deliveries with two boundaries.

With the dismissal of Mohammed, captain Shiva Vashishat came in with the additional pressure of being out of form. A sweep by Sewdial, and an off-drive, both for boundaries brought the USA up to 100/4 off 30 overs, with Sewdial on 40. One run later Deeb beat Sewdial with flight and got a close lbw decision. Sewdial's 41 included four boundaries and a six. Asad Ghous with a first-ball duck, and skipper Vashishat, 7 off 14 deliveries followed soon after, and the USA was 111/7 off 34.3 overs. Deeb finished a great spell of left-arm spin with figures of 10-2-23-3.

Without Hammad Shahid playing it was left to the USA tail-enders Saami Siddiqui (Wktpr) 19*, Salman Ahmad 17, and Saqib Saleem 14, to take the USA to 163 all out in 49.5 overs. The 9th wicket partnership of 34 between Siddiqui and Ahmad was the highest of the USA's innings. The USA wickets fell at 28, 55, 58, 90, 102, 102, 111, 129, 163, and 163. Left-arm spinner Dale Deeb and pacer Graham Hume with 3 for 23 and 3 for 29 respectively were the pick of the South African bowlers. Stephan Smith chipped in with 2 for 39.

Naseer Jamali,recovering from a stomach virus, opened the bowling against the South Africans Domenic Hendricks and Josh Richards and continued to bowl as well as he has done on this tour. He beat the SA captain Richards to have him caught by Sewdial in the slips for 8, and Salman Ahmad swung one in on Stephan Smith, a first-class division cricketer in South Africa, to trap him lbw for 12 off 21 deliveries. South Africa was 38/2 in 11.4 overs and Team USA was pumped up. However, that's where the fall of SA wickets halted.

Opener Dominic Hendricks and Collin Ackerman then put on a third-wicket partnership of 128, helped by Corns and Taylor who both dropped Ackerman. Hendricks' 75* came off 103 balls with eight fours, earning him the Man-of-the-Match award. Ackerman's 64 took 71 balls and had eight fours and a six. South Africa's 166 for two in 35.1 overs was an efficient and calculated eight wickets victory response to Team USA's low score of 163 all out in 49.5 overs.

The USA bowling was efficient, with remarkably no wides or no-balls, but the reliance on spin, particularly leg-spin, defending a low total made the task very tough. The South African batsmen waited for and punished the errant deliveries from the spinners. It was clear the USA team could have used another fast bowler to take advantage of the pitch conditions.

Team USA plays Ireland next, tomorrow Tuesday, January 19. The USA should be able to salvage some pride from that match-up, having beaten Ireland in the qualifying tournament in Toronto last September.

With contributions from John L. Aaron

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