"This is all a team sport," Allen said. "The two openers gave us a solid start in order for me to go out there with an arsenal of shots, playing whatever shot I feel comfortable playing."
By Peter Della Penna in Kuala Lumpur (on Twitter)
A century stand by Sushil Nadkarni and Steven Taylor to open the match was followed by a scintillating knock by Timroy Allen to set up a 70-run win for USA over Malaysia at Bayuemas Oval on Monday at the 2012 ICC WCL Division Four tournament in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Allen was named Man of the Match after notching 72 not out in just 43 deliveries, a career high for Allen in a USA uniform, to take USA to an easily defendable 289 for 5.
“This is all a team sport,” Allen said. “The two openers gave us a solid start in order for me to go out there with an arsenal of shots, playing whatever shot I feel comfortable playing.”
Malaysia won the toss and elected to send USA in to bat on a hot and sticky morning at Bayuemas Oval. Usman Shuja, Akeem Dodson and Andy Mohammed were the three to sit out for USA while Taylor was asked to open the batting less than 24 hours after arriving in Kuala Lumpur and combined with Nadkarni to put on 110 runs for the first wicket.
For Nadkarni, it was a role reversal playing the anchor position in an opening partnership as Taylor took the initiative cracking five boundaries and a six straight down the ground in the first six overs to take USA to 37 for 0. Taylor brought up his 50 off 52 balls at the start of the 17th over when he guided his seventh boundary through third man to take the score to 90. He added two more boundaries before he was dismissed on a marginal LBW decision for 62 by off-spinner Suharril Fetri.
Image (right) - Sushil Nadkarni cuts through the off side in the middle of his innings vs. Malaysia. Nadkarni top-scored for USA in the match with 73. [Courtesy: Peter Della Penna/DreamCricket.com]
“We’ve always known Steve can get going pretty quick and he started doing that pretty regularly towards the end of the Dubai tour,” Nadkarni said. “Today when he started going, I quickly changed my role and wanted to support him.”
Steve Massiah joined Nadkarni and USA’s scoring rate slowed down as Massiah struggled to rotate the strike against Malaysia’s spinners with Nadkarni well set at the other end. Nadkarni brought up his half-century in 68 balls in the 25th over, pulling Hassan Ghulam over midwicket for his eighth boundary and then followed it up two balls later with a massive six to the same region.
Nadkarni got out hit wicket in the 36th over for 73 when he mistimed a hook shot against medium pacer Suresh Navaratnam. The ball hit him in the armpit and started rolling towards the stumps, but never actually touched. However, Nadkarni was slightly off balance in his follow through and took one hand off his bat to try to stay upright. In the process, the bat glanced the stumps to knock the bails off. That made the score 157 for 2 and set the stage for Allen to get promoted up the order and put on a destructive display to demoralize Malaysia after they looked like they were clawing back into the match.
Massiah was on 8 off 43 balls when Allen joined him at the crease and seemed to be spurred to find the gaps better when Allen arrived, scoring 25 off his final 25 deliveries. Allen crushed the third delivery he received from Navaratnam over long on for his first six, then did it again to Navaratnam off his eighth delivery to set the tone for what would come throughout the rest of his knock. Spinners were no match for Allen either as he dispatched left-arm orthodox bowler Shahrulnizam Yusof for a monstrous six in the 39th over that hit three quarters of the way up a 10-story viewing tower behind the bowler.
Massiah was dropped on 13 at mid off by Hiran Ralalage to keep the partnership alive and a few overs later Allen teed off on Yusof even further in the 43rd, crushing a four and two sixes over long on to bring up the half-century stand. Massiah hit his first and only six an over later as he finally looked ready to accelerate but then got out two balls later on the deep midwicket boundary for 33 to make it 227 for 3 after 44.
Aditya Thyagarajan got out second ball for 2 trying to clear the man at long off to give Yusof a wicket and make the score 229 for 4. Aditya Mishra arrived but Allen had crossed while the ball was in the air on the dismissal and proceeded to continue his demolition of Yusof with two more boundaries to bring up his half-century in just 30 deliveries and then capped the over with his sixth six into the sightscreen.
Image (left) - Timroy Allen raises his cap to the USA bench after reaching his half-century off just 30 deliveries against Malaysia. [Courtesy: Peter Della Penna/DreamCricket.com]
When Mishra finally got the strike he had no trouble keeping pace with Allen, using his feet repeatedly to the spinners with great success as he struck three boundaries and a six to finish with 25 in just 14 balls. He got out with seven balls to go in the innings just after the pair had raised a 50-run partnership in just 4.1 overs. Orlando Baker arrived and slogged one six over midwicket before finishing 7 not out while Allen walked off deservedly unbeaten with four fours and six sixes in his thrilling knock.
Malaysia suffered early damage in the chase as Allen and Elmore Hutchinson wrecked the top order to leave the host side at 21 for 3 in the sixth over. Allen had Rakesh Madhavan caught by Mishra at second slip for 4 while Hutchinson trapped Shafiq Sharif LBW for 1 and bowled Faiz Ahmed Noor for 5.
Malaysia captain Suhan Kumar Alagaratnam and Fetri then started a counter-attack with some excellent running between the wickets combined with elegant strokeplay by the captain. What initially looked like a cakewalk turned into a legitimate contest as Kumar flayed several short deliveries through the covers while USA struggled to build pressure and slow the pair down.
Alagaratnam hit his seventh boundary early in the 18th over off Baker to take him to 39 off just 47 balls before Baker spilled a return chance on the next delivery. However, Baker atoned two balls later when he drew a thin edge on a forward prod from Alagaratnam and Taylor took the catch to put USA back in the driver’s seat at 84 for 4.
Muhammad Ghous bowled with increasing precision after the first drinks break to strangle the scoring rate which aided USA’s cause further. A few overs later Abhimanyu Rajp was brought into the attack and he struck in his second over, getting Khizar Durrani to hole out to Thyagarajan at long on for 14 to make it 105 for 5 in the 27th.
Fetri kept battling though and with Navaratnam produced Malaysia’s second half-century stand of the match. The pair put on exactly 50 for the sixth wicket before Allen returned for a second spell during the batting power play and had Navaratnam caught by Mishra at midwicket for 28. Ryan Corns removed Hassan Ghulam for 7 to make it 166 for 7 and Fetri was finally dislodged by Rajp for 60 in the 47th to make it 198 for 8, but Malaysia managed to bat through all 50 overs and finished on 219 for 8.
Allen finished his all-round performance with 2 for 35 in six overs and was well supported with the new ball by Hutchinson who took 2 for 22. Rajp finished with a slightly expensive 2 for 51 in 10 overs. Ghous went wicketless but bowled a key spell to finish with 0 for 26 in nine overs.
In the day’s other matches, Denmark defeated Tanzania by 88 runs after posting 224 in the first innings while Nepal won by five wickets over Singapore after bowling Singapore out for 111 and chasing the runs in just 24.5 overs after a rocky start when they lost their fifth wicket for 47 runs.
USA plays Denmark on day two in Kuala Lumpur at the Selangor Turf Club. DreamCricket.com will have live coverage of the match with play set to get underway at 10:30 a.m. in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday morning, 10:30 p.m. EST and 7:30 p.m. PST on Monday night in the USA.