Scotland scored their second win over the tournament by easing to a nine-wicket victory over USA, though American opener Shebani Bhaskar was named Player of the Match in a losing effort after striking an unbeaten 51 off 59 balls
By Peter Della Penna in Stirling, Scotland
Opener Shebani Bhaskar’s unbeaten 51 off 59 balls was upstaged by an 88-run stand between Kathryn Bryce and Lorna Jack to start Scotland’s reply as the tournament hosts spoiled USA’s return to ICC tournament action, handing the Americans a nine-wicket defeat in Stirling. Bhaskar was named Player of the Match in a losing effort after finishing as the top scorer on either side on the day.
Jack followed up her 60 from Tuesday’s win over Netherlands by striking an unbeaten 46 off 49 balls against the USA to help Scotland clinch victory by overhauling USA’s total of 110 for 2 with 16 balls to spare. However, USA missed a chance to limit the damage when Jack survived a straightforward chance at square leg on 7 in the fifth over off the bowling of Claudine Beckford. Jack made the most of the extra life to cruise through the chase as Scotland’s only setback came in the 14th when Samantha Ramautar trapped Bryce playing across the line for 37.
Bryce’s younger sister Sarah joined Jack and the pair knocked off the final 23 runs required for victory. USA’s fielding performance was mostly disciplined, though their bowlers released pressure through a series of 21 extras. Offspinner Beckford bowled three no balls – two oversteps and a full toss over waist height – while 14 wides were bowled including five straight to begin Bhaskar’s only over of legspin in the ninth.
USA boldly chose to bat first in swinging conditions having not played in an ICC World T20 Qualifier since April 2012 and they struggled to adapt through the first 13 overs as they scored at under four an over to reach 48 for 2. Nadia Gruny fell leg before for 7 to a yorker from Kathryn Bryce in the fourth over and was replaced at the crease by Onika Wallerson, who struggled to time the ball, playing and missing regularly against Bryce and fellow swing bowler Priyanaz Chatterji, who finished with 0 for 10 in four overs. Wallerson eventually fell for 11 off 28 balls, slogging Abtaha Maqsood’s legspin to Chatterji at mid off to end the 13th.
The arrival of captain Sindhu Sriharsha to the middle sprung USA’s innings to life as she partnered with Bhaskar to club 62 off the final seven overs, including 31 off the final three, to take USA past 100 and back into the match with something for their bowlers to aim at defending. Bhaskar was on 25 off 39 balls when Sriharsha joined her but looked more at ease with the captain at the other end. Bhaskar only played out one dot ball over her final 20 deliveries, scoring 26 runs in that stretch including two of her six boundaries to accelerate past 50.
Similarly, Sriharsha only faced five dot balls in her 24 balls at the crease over the final seven overs and finishied unbeaten on 32 with three boundaries, including a pair of elegant drives – one over cover and another sweetly timed late cut to beat short third man. But they were unable to overcome the slow start which saw USA chew up 27 dot balls in the Powerplay overs in which they only managed to advance to 19 for 1.
The second scheduled match of the day between USA and Netherlands was abandoned without a ball bowled. Light drizzle had appeared in the last three overs of USA’s innings and intermittently during Scotland’s chase in the first match of the day but intensified to a steady shower by the time of the scheduled 2:30 p.m. start for the afternoon match with the Netherlands and never let up.
As a result, USA and Netherlands share one point each. It means Scotland has a three point advantage over both sides heading into the second round of play. Round two is scheduled to begin on Thursday with USA set for another doubleheader beginning with Scotland in the morning and Netherlands in the afternoon, but rain is supposed to arrive again by 1 pm and stay for the rest of the day, making it highly probable that the second match between USA and Netherlands will be pushed into a reserve time slot on either Friday or Saturday.