The USA today defeated Scotland by six wickets in the opening match of the ICC 2010 World Twenty20 Qualifying Tournament at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi, in the UAE. It was a win that USA cricket needed badly as part of its effort to reestablish its place in international cricket after its disastrous drop off in the Divisional series in Jersey, not so long ago.
Team USA defeated Scotland in a clinical display of cricket in all facets of the game, commencing with a fine team bowling effort after Scotland had won the toss and elected to take first strike. Behind an impressive bowling performance and the distribution of the six wickets among the six bowlers used by USA, and a classic run-out effort between Rashard Marshall and wicket-keeper Carl Wright, the USA was able to restrict Scotland to 120 for 7 in the allotted 20 overs.
It was the opening bowling spell of Usman Shuja that forced the much-ballyhooed Kyle Coetzer to exit without scoring. That set the tone for the other USA bowlers to build some momentum to contain Scotland under 150 runs. Scotland was reeling at 42 for 3 in the ninth over, as Sudesh Dhaniram with his usual stingy bowling spells contained the Scotsmen. However, Scotland managed to regain a bit of footing behind its skipper Hamilton’s 41 in 53 deliveries, including 3x4s.
In response, the superb effort of the USA bowlers allowed the incoming USA batsmen some much needed breathing room, and Carl Wright did not disappoint as he took it to the Scottish bowlers in his 57-ball 62, including eight fours, earning him the coveted Man-of-the-Match award.
From the score sheet, the quality of the USA batting and the forgiving pitch, it appears as though the USA could have reached the victory margin with considerably less bleeding of wickets. However, defeating a well-prepared Scotland XI, according to the team’s skipper Gavin Hamilton, was a well-deserved six wicket victory.
Carl Wright’s 62 was part of a 97-run partnership with Lennox Cush whose contribution of 41 (3x4s and 1×6) helped the USA to secure the victory, reaching 121 for 4 in 19.1 overs. There were some anxious moments as the USA lost three quick wickets slipping to 114 for 4 in the seventeenth over. However USA skipper Steve Massiah and Sudesh Dhaniram saw the victory home despite Dhaniram offering a chance at his wicket.
Although Wright humbly accepted the Man-of-the-Match award, he graciously acknowledged the effort of the USA bowlers in making his job and that of the other batsmen, somewhat easier.
TEAM USA takes on a much sturdier opponent in Ireland tomorrow at the same stadium, and it would be nice to see the USA in the 2-0 column, allowing itself some breathing room as it attempts to climb back up into the rankings and a trip to the West Indies later this year, for the ICC World Twenty20.