Akeem Dodson's performance in these matches underscores the selection gaffe made in 2012 when he was passed over for the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier. His progress on the batting side allowed him to keep wicket in the same XI as Steven Taylor and thus eased Taylor's workload which benefitted the entire team.
By Peter Della Penna (on Twitter)
Click here for Part 1 - Team Grades
Steven Taylor – A+: The numbers speak for themselves. Number one in runs at the tournament with 413 at an average of 59, he broke the USA record for highest score in T20 cricket three times during the tournament. He scored the first century ever in T20 cricket by a USA player and enjoyed it so much he did it again in his next match. Cayman Islands bowlers will be having nightmares about Taylor for a long time. In terms of scoring efficiency, Taylor scored off 64.34% of the deliveries he faced so when he wasn’t hitting boundaries, he was staying busy turning over the strike. It’s a sign that Taylor is also becoming more mature with his shot selection, knowing when to go big and when to make do with singles and doubles.
Image (right) - Steven Taylor was the tournament's leading scorer. [Courtesy: Peter Della Penna/DreamCricket.com]
Akeem Dodson – A-: Dodson’s performance in these matches underscores the selection gaffe made in 2012 when he was passed over for the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier. His runs were good – second on the team with 173 at 28.83 including one half-century – but far more impressive were his reflexes and alertness behind the stumps. He took one catch and completed five stumpings. Crucially, his ability to get out from behind the stumps to prevent “tip and run” singles aided bowlers immensely. Dodson pulled off two spectacular direct hit run outs to put batsmen on notice not to try and steal singles when the ball is nudged in his fielding arc surrounding the stumps. Perhaps most importantly though, Dodson’s progress on the batting side allowed him to keep wicket in the same XI as Steven Taylor and thus eased Taylor’s workload which benefitted the entire team.
Timothy Surujbally – C-: He had prime opportunities to establish himself but couldn’t produce enough runs at the top of the order and as a result finished with USA’s lowest average at the tournament, 18.80 in five innings. Part of his problem was his inability to turn over the strike. According to DreamCricket.com’s stats, he scored off 51.25% of the deliveries he faced which was the worst scoring efficiency for players on the team with a minimum of 50 deliveries faced in the tournament.
Image (left) - Timothy Surujbally had several chances to make an impact but failed to capitalize on his starts. [Courtesy: Peter Della Penna/DreamCricket.com]
He got himself in the coach’s doghouse as well with a lazy runout in the sixth match against Bahamas and as a result sat out the last two games. The biggest strike against him though is his fielding. He is generally a slow mover reacting to the ball coming off the bat and spilled two relatively straightforward chances.
Orlando Baker – B+: The captain led a young side – USA’s average player age in this squad was 26.60 – flawlessly during the week. He finished third in runs and third in average on the team with 159 at 39.75. His strike rate of 102.58 was the second lowest on the team and may look slow for Twenty20, but he had the third best scoring efficiency on the team for players with a minimum of 50 deliveries faced as he scored off 64.00% of the deliveries he faced. USA had nine 50+ partnerships and Baker was involved in four of them. Even though his highest score was only 37, he was influential at the crease by rotating the strike with singles when entering after early setbacks or to get the set man back on strike if he entered late in the innings and as a result his experience delivered great value to the team.
Nicholas Standford – C+: Standford’s strike rate of 100.00 was the lowest on the team, but unlike Baker who was efficient enough to take singles if he couldn’t get boundaries, Standford tended to get bogged down at one end. His scoring efficiency of 51.79% was the second lowest on the team only ahead of Surujbally. He provided good energy in the field and was a fairly solid ground fielder but had two drops while taking one catch and combined for a runout with Dodson.
Image (right) - Nicholas Standford in action against Suriname. [Courtesy: Peter Della Penna/DreamCricket.com]
Japen Patel – B: Played every game and only batted three times but each time he was at the crease he didn’t waste much time working the ball around. He was USA’s most efficient batsman at the crease, scoring off 64.91% of the deliveries he faced, a higher percentage than even Steven Taylor for any batsman who faced a minimum of 50 deliveries, and finished with 77 runs overall. He has shown he can score quick runs against teams in the Americas region and now needs to demonstrate that against better teams. Bowling wise, he showed slight improvement in his accuracy, but wasn’t the best at building pressure. His 2.50 dot balls per over was the lowest on the team for anyone with a minimum of eight overs bowled (one over per team game) and he also went for nearly a boundary ball an over, conceding a combined nine fours/sixes in the 10 overs he bowled. He’s an okay option against weaker teams to eat up some overs and reduce the workload for some of the other seam bowlers but should not be relied upon to take wickets or keep the run rate down against top class batting. In the field he was good along the ground and took five catches as well but spilled two fairly simple chances on the boundary. He needs to provide greater consistency overall in his fielding.
Ryan Corns – A-: Corns was USA’s leading wicket-taker in the tournament, finishing with 10 in seven matches at an average of 12.80. His economy of 6.09 was slightly high but bowling in tandem with economical spinners like Barrington Bartley and Danial Ahmed, Corns can afford to give the ball more flight in search of wickets. On the batting side, he was one of three USA players to score a half-century on the week and finished an average of 42.00, second behind Taylor. He took three catches, including a spectacular effort to get rid of the dangerous Janeiro Tucker in the first encounter with Bermuda, and dropped none. He was ranked fourth overall in the CricHQ MVP points system for the tournament, an accurate reflection of his all-round value.
Barrington Bartley – B+: Only batted four times, but rarely wastes a ball coming in late in the innings, scoring off 75% of the deliveries he faced. In eight matches he bowled 31 overs with an economy rate of 4.54 and took six wickets in the process. He conceded just 11 fours/sixes in 31 overs, the second best ratio on the team and his 3.19 dot balls per over was also second best behind only Ahmed. Besides Abhimanyu Rajp, Bartley was hurt the most by USA’s fielders, with five chances going down off his bowling. In the field he was hit or miss, taking four catches but also spilling four others, some of them sharp chances. Overall though, he didn’t disappoint in his return to a USA uniform after a nearly five-year hiatus.
Abhimanyu Rajp – B: Rajp could easily be classified as USA’s most cursed bowler on the week. He played six matches and took seven wickets, third on the team behind Corns and Danial Ahmed. However, USA missed 20 chances in the field during the tournament and seven of them were chances grassed off his bowling, many of them straightforward. He bowled the fewest amount of boundary balls per over on the team, only conceding a combined half-dozen fours/sixes across 22 overs, but wasn’t the best at building pressure either as he had the second worst dot balls per over rate on the team, 2.68 per over. His economy was decent, not spectacular, but it was clear that his stats suffered more than anyone else on the team due to shoddy fielding.
Danial Ahmed – B+: Ahmed came into the week very confident in his abilities, predicting a haul of 25 wickets in eight games, but was humbled somewhat after finishing with nine scalps in seven matches. He bowled stifling spells at times and was very effective keeping the run rate down in the power play overs while bowling with the new ball as evidenced by his 3.61 dot balls per over, best on the team. His economy rate of 4.25 was the best for any bowler in the tournament who bowled a minimum of one over per team game. Overall a good tournament, but the lack of wickets sent a message that he shouldn’t underestimate his opponents or how hard it is to take wickets at international level.
Image (left) - Left-arm orthodox spinner Danial Ahmed showed excellent control regardless of the conditions. [Courtesy: Peter Della Penna/DreamCricket.com]
Elmore Hutchinson – C: The stadium wicket has never provided much assistance for fast bowlers and this tournament was no different. Still Hutchinson’s return of 3 for 84 in 15 overs across five games was somewhat underwhelming. His economy rate was less than a run a ball at 5.60, but USA will be counting on him to produce much better results in the future. He missed the last few games with a slight groin strain while warming up on the morning of the fifth day of matches.
Naseer Jamali – C-: In five games, Jamali returned 2 for 89 in 13 overs. He had USA’s third highest rate of dot balls per over with 3.15 but also conceded the second highest rate of boundary balls per over, 0.85, showing he lacked consistency. His economy rate of 6.84 was high and also worrisome was a habit of front-foot no balls which could be very costly against better competition. Jamali redeemed himself though with his catching abilities, pouching four chances while dropping none. However, he can be a bit sluggish with his ground fielding.
Adil Bhatti – Incomplete: Bhatti came in as an injury replacement for Karan Ganesh and played the last three games of the tournament. He scored 19 not out in his only innings batting and finished with 0 for 21 in three overs of seam bowling. His biggest asset to the team after his arrival was his electric fielding inside the circle. He pulled off a brilliant run out against Bahamas and also worked hard to cut off singles or save ones from becoming twos.
Saqib Saleem – Incomplete: The debutant leg-spinner played one match, taking 1 for 29 against Bahamas on the second day of the tournament before sustaining a hand injury in training that caused him to miss the rest of the tournament.
Karan Ganesh – Incomplete: Played two matches and scored 27 in his only innings before sustaining a right knee injury and was subsequently withdrawn from the tournament.
[Views expressed in this article are those of the author who was present at all of the team's matches during the 2013 ICC Americas Division One Twenty20 tournament in Florida.]