All-rounder Timroy Allen continued his good form with the bat to help USA record its second victory of the Pepsi ICC World Cricket League yesterday, defeating Italy by 74 runs at the National Sports Stadium.
Buoyed by its score of 366 yesterday against Nepal, USA elected to bat first on the slower wicket at the National Sports Stadium. Unlike yesterday, however, the innings started slowly, with Orlando Baker falling in the second over. Young wicketkeeper-batsman Steven Taylor, who wowed the small crowd at Somerset on Sunday with his aggressive knock of 162, fell shortly after for six, leaving USA at two for 10. Captain Steve Massiah and Sushil Nadkarni put on a 78 run partnership before the skipper was bowled by Damian Crowley, but Nadkarni (73) and Rashard Marshall (39) kept the runs coming. All-rounder Allen (51 not out) came in at number six and immediately began to find the boundaries, striking five sixes and one four to help USA reach 254 for eight from its 50 overs. Dilan Arsakulasuriya was the pick of the Italy bowlers, with three for 54.
Italy responded quickly, with Andrew Northcote (41), Peter Petricola (25), Damian Crowley (37) and Carl Sandri (41) all contributing with the bat. However, once Crowley was out stumped by Taylor, the batting resistance collapsed, and Italy lost its final four wickets for nine runs to be all out for 180 in the 46th over.
USA captain Steve Massiah was very pleased with his side’s performance: “When the team came here, we focused on the first two games as the trend setters for the tournament. We wanted to get out of the gates quickly. We have now accomplished the first goal, and will focus on the next three matches.”
Massiah believes the team’s strong opening performances are courtesy of an all round balance in the team. “Our batting is pretty strong, it goes deep. Some guys haven’t had a chance yet, or not had much time on the field, but they are also very strong batsmen. Our bowling is good too, but teams chasing high scores will go after the bowlers, that’s why it may look like our bowlers aren’t as strong as the batsmen, but we have a balanced team.”
Italy skipper Alessandro Bonora believes his side had its opportunities in the match: “Again, we were in there, we were competitive, but we were the masters of our own demise, really. We gave up some easy opportunities in the field, and with the bat.”
Bonora is looking to his batsmen for improvement for the upcoming encounters: “All through, the key is not having long partnerships. It is something we are aware of and one of the basics of cricket, so we need to work on that for the remaining matches.”
Bermuda recorded its first win of the tournament, benefitting from an improved batting performance to defeat Oman by 34 runs in front of an excited crowd at St. David’s. Oman won the toss and sent the host in to bat, and Curt Stovell (16) quickly put some runs on the board. Bernuda lost three quick wickets to be five for 73 in the twentieth over, however, a patient middle order, including a 36 run sixth-wicket stand between Lionel Cann (16) and Jason Anderson (29), steadied the innings. Left-hander Treadwell Gibbons added 33 in a knock that included five fours, and when he was the last wicket to fall in the 45th over, Bermuda had reached 194. Karachi-born spinner Syed Amir Ali was the key wicket takers for Oman, taking three for 34, including veteran dangerman David Hemp for five.
Oman was not able to chase down the modest total, despite a half century from Ali. The side lost four quick wickets, and was struggling at four for 24 in the ninth over. Twenty-four year old Jatinder Singh added a patient 28 runs, but he could not stop the fall of wickets as the Bermuda bowling attack pounced on the middle and lower order. A swashbuckling 58 not out from Ali brought hope back to his side, however, his efforts were not enough and Oman was dismissed for 160, 35 runs short of victory.
Malachi Jones took three for 29, while Stovell, Rodney Trott and Jacobi Robinson took two apiece. Oman’s Ali was declared man of the match for his combined efforts.
Bermuda skipper Stephen Outerbridge was delighted with his side’s performance: “I thought the mental approach by my team today was awesome. Something we do domestically, but internationally we seem to not back ourselves as we should, but today it was played in the right spirit.”
“We knew that today was a crucial stage of the tournament, and really came out hard and came out with a victory, which is the most important thing. We carried an extra batsman. We just need our batsmen to come into their own, a few late order batsmen did get close today to get us to 194, but we are looking for our top order to come to the party and deliver the goods for the team,” he continued.
Outerbridge believes his team will continue to improve. “I think we haven’t played to our potential as of yet, in a way that is good thing for us, and we have another opportunity on Wednesday to get it right,” he said.
Oman captain Vaibhav Wategonkar was again pleased with his bowlers’ performances, despite the loss: “Our bowlers did a fantastic job in both matches, which is a plus point for this tournament. Now we have to work a little bit on our batting strategy and hopefully everyone will take the responsibility in the next matches.”
Elsewhere, Uganda recorded its second decisive victory, defeating Nepal by six wickets in the 27th over at Somerset CC. Set a target of 117 for victory, Uganda’s Arthur Kyobe (18) scored some quick runs, before Roger Mukasa and Benjamin Musoke (22) put on the game’s biggest partnership of 58. Mukasa struck a four to reach the target of 117 and to finish just shy of his half century (49 not out). Basant Regmi was the pick of the Nepal bowlers, taking two for 33 in nine overs.
Earlier, Nepal elected to bat and Pradeep Airee scored 24 at almost a run a ball. However, the spin combination of Frank Nsubuga and captain Davis Arinaitwe tightened the screws, and Shakti Gauchan was the only other batsman to make a significant contribution, scoring 21 from 83 balls. Gauchan was the last wicket to fall, and his departure left Nepal with a total of 116 to defend. Nsubuga and Arinaitwe took three wickets apiece, with Arinaitwe’s three for 12 judged the man of the match performance.
Uganda captain and man of the match, Arinaitwe was thrilled with his team’s performance in what he saw as a crucial encounter: “Today’s game was very important for us, it was very important to pick up a win against a big team like Nepal. We know the quality they have, and so it was very important to do well today.”
“It was a big game for us, we wanted to put them on the back foot as quickly as possible. We executed our game plan as we wanted and we did put them on the back foot, so I am very happy,” he continued.
Uganda has solidified its position on the points table and leads the tournament with four points, something the skipper says will not affect his side’s preparation for the remaining matches. “All teams would be happy to pick up two games at the beginning of tournament. We will keep our feet on the ground though, it is just the beginning of the tournament, and we still have a few matches to go.”
Nepal captain Paras Khadka was disappointed with his side’s batting. “We just didn’t bat well. You can’t get away with 116, it was below par for a team of our potential. We haven’t played to our potential, which is sad for a tournament of this scale.”
Looking forward to the rest of the tournament, the skipper remained positive: “Mathematically, we still have a chance. There are three games left and we just need to win those three games, remain positive and forget these matches. The first two games are in the past and we need to look ahead. We’ve worked so hard so it is disappointing that we have not performed better, so we need to focus and win the final three.”
Commenting on the fans that have supported his team from the day it arrived in Bermuda, Khadka said: “We always get that support everywhere we go. It’s nice to get that support and we want to get three wins for our fans and our country from our three remaining matches.”
Points table after round two:
Scores in brief:
At National Sports Stadium
USA 254 for 8, 50 overs (Nadkarni 73, Allen 51*, Massiah 51; Fernando 3-54)
Italy 180 all out, 45.3 overs (Northcote 41, Sandri 41, Crowley 37; McGarrell 4-44, Hutchinson 3-44)
USA won by 74 runs
Player of the Match: Timroy Allen (United States of America)
At St. David’s
Bermuda 194 all out, 44.1 overs (Gibbons 33, Anderson 29; Ali 3-34)
Oman 160 all out, 41.5 overs (Ali 58*, Singh 28; Malachi Jones 3-29)
Bermuda won by 34 runs
Player of the Match: Syed Amir Ali (Oman)
At Somerset CC
Nepal 116 all out, 44.2 overs (Airee 24, Gauchan 21; Arinaitwe 3-13, Nsubuga 3-26)
Uganda 117 for 4, 27.0 overs (Mukasa 49*, Musoke 22; B Regmi 2-33)
Uganda won by 6 wickets (with 138 balls remaining)
Player of the Match: Davis Arinaitwe (Uganda)
Tuesday is a rest/reserve day. Wednesday’s fixtures:
At National Sports Stadium: Uganda v Italy
At St. David’s: Bermuda v nepal
At Somerset CC: Oman v USA
All matches are scheduled to start at 1030 local time
Report courtesy of ICC.