"We definitely wanted to win and win by a huge margin to improve our net run rate," Shuja said after the win.
By Peter Della Penna in Kuala Lumpur (on Twitter)
Fast bowler Usman Shuja took 3 for 14 to spearhead the USA attack as they bowled out Tanzania for 92 before a Steven Taylor blitz ensured USA needed just nine overs to seal a win by seven wickets over Tanzania on Thursday at Kinrara Academy Oval on day three of the 2012 ICC World Cricket League Division Four tournament in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Shuja was named Man of the Match for his performance, which helped move USA to 2-1 while Tanzania remains winless in the tournament at 0-3. USA now sits at second place on net run rate after previously undefeated Denmark lost to Singapore later in the day.
While Tanzania never figured to pose a serious challenge for USA, the match was still critical for USA in the net run rate equation which is the tournament’s first tiebreaker if teams finish with identical records at the end of the round robin stage. Because of that, USA elected to field first after winning the toss in a bid to bowl Tanzania out as quickly and cheaply as possible followed by a rapid chase to boost the team’s net run rate.
“We definitely wanted to win and win by a huge margin to improve our net run rate,” Shuja said after the win. “The reason we wanted to bowl first was I think we had more control over our second innings. We wanted to finish the innings as quickly as we could and secondly we wanted to make the game as short as possible so we are more fresh for tomorrow’s game and that’s exactly how it worked out.”
Sushil Nadkarni was rested for the match with Andy Mohammed coming into the starting eleven on the day. USA went through a frustrating first six overs as both Shuja and fellow opening bowler Elmore Hutchinson repeatedly beat the outside edge with a packed slips cordon – there were as many as five catching fielders at times lined up alongside Taylor behind the stumps during the innings – waiting for a nick to come their way.
Hutchinson finally broke the opening stand by bowling Nasibu Mapunda through the gate for 5 to make it 15 for 1 in the seventh. Six balls later, Shuja made his first breakthrough of the day, bowling Seif Abdul for 11 as Tanzania’s openers were now back in the pavilion with the score 21 for 2.
In the 10th, Shuja had Abhik Patwa caught by Abhimanyu Rajp at third slip for 5 and then castled Zamayoni Jabeneke for a golden duck to put himself on a hat trick at 30 for 4. Orlando Baker nailed Issa Kikasa on the toe with a yorker in the next over and his LBW appeal was upheld to remove the Tanzania wicketkeeper for 3 and the score was 31 for 5.
Image (right) - Usman Shuja received the Man of the Match award after taking 3 for 14 in six overs as USA bowled out Tanzania for 92 before completing a victory by seven wickets at the Kinrara Academy Oval in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday. [Courtesy: Peter Della Penna/DreamCricket.com]
Tanzania could have sunk even further had Timroy Allen held onto a chance at gully three balls later from the new batsman Kassim Nassoro Mussa with the score at 35 for 5 and Mussa on 4. The reprieve opened the door for Tanzania to have their best partnership of the match, 38 runs for the sixth wicket, as Mussa attempted a counterattack, striking five boundaries that included a couple of superbly timed cover drives mixed with two straight drives through mid on.
Mussa’s innings finally came to an end when he tried to cut Allen but was cramped for room and played onto his stumps, ending his innings for Tanzania’s top score at 28 and leaving the score 69 for 6. Tanzania then crumbled quickly, losing three wickets in 10 balls while the score was on 74.
The first was a solid piece of fielding from Mohammed as he pounced on a ball running in from point and fired a direct hit at the non-striker’s end to run out Abdallah for 11. Four balls later, Allen bounced out Benson Mwita Nyaikini for 4 after the batsman top edged a pull that Allen waited under for a return catch. Muhammad Ghous nabbed Riziki Kiseto in the next over without scoring, edging behind to Taylor.
Tanzania’s last pair hung around for six more overs, adding 18 for the final wicket, their second best partnership of the match. Ghous ended the resistance when he dove to his left to claim a return catch off a full toss. Khalil Rehemtulla had to go for 13 as Tanzania succumbed for 92 in 29.3 overs. Ghous finished with 2 for 14 while Allen took 2 for 20 in a pair of tidy bowling displays to support Shuja.
Taylor opened the batting with Aditya Mishra and saw every ball from the first two overs, blasting two sixes and three boundaries in that span to take USA to 37 for 0 after 12 balls. Taylor brought up the 50 partnership – with 39 of the runs provided by him – in 3.4 overs with a lofted drive over mid on. He started the fifth over with a monstrous bash over long on, but was dismissed the next ball for 46 off 22 balls after getting a fine edge through to the keeper attempting to back away from the stumps to drive Nyaikini over the off side. The score was 57 for 1 and Mishra was on 1, having faced just four deliveries while having a perfect view of Taylor’s devastating display.
Hutchinson joined Mishra as the two continued to speed toward the target with Mishra hitting a six over midwicket and Hutchinson launching one over the sight screen at the south end of the ground. Both departed three balls apart when USA needed just one more shot to reach the target. Mishra top edged a full toss and was caught at short third man by Abdallah off Mapunda for a run a ball 15 while Hutchinson was bowled for 14 off 11 after missing a massive heave to make it 89 for 3 on the first ball of the ninth. Allen and Steve Massiah knocked off the final four runs over the next five deliveries to give USA the win.
Nepal moved to 3-0 on Thursday and sits alone atop the standings after a 10-wicket win over Malaysia at Selangor Turf Club. Nepal bowled out the host side for 69 as leg-spinner Shakti Gauchan returned remarkable figures of 10 overs, eight maidens, 3 for 2. Nepal chased the runs in 12.2 overs with Anil Mandal making 41 not out.
Denmark suffered their first setback on Thursday at Bayuemas Oval after losing to Singapore by four wickets, a result that helped USA move into second place on net run rate tiebreaker with all three teams now sitting at 2-1. Denmark was bowled out for 173 in 46.3 overs after choosing to bat first. Singapore chased the runs down with 20 balls to spare as Munish Arora followed up his half-century against Malaysia with 39 not out against Denmark.
USA now faces a huge showdown with Nepal in a game that could decide first place in the group stage. The two sides have engaged in several tight contests over the last four years with each team notching two wins against the other while two other matches finished with no result. Shuja, who took a five-wicket haul against Nepal at 2008 ICC WCL Division Five in Jersey and has 14 wickets in six ICC World Cricket League matches against Nepal, is preparing for another classic encounter.
“Nepal and USA cricket teams are extremely good rivals,” Shuja said. “We have had extremely good games in the past. I expect tomorrow’s game to be a cracker as well. The division is on the line so I think it’s gonna be a phenomenal game. Nepal is playing really well right now and so are we. They rely heavily on their spin attack and their players who play spin very well. We on the other hand rely on playing fast bowling well and our fast bowling attack is pretty strong.”
“So I think it’s gonna be a very different type of cricket that’s gonna come together tomorrow but I’m very very confident that we’re gonna do well. The team is looking very good right now. Our bowling attack is looking good. Steven Taylor is batting phenomenal. So I think overall the team is coming together well and if I have to put my money on I would put it on USA.”
Live coverage of the showdown between USA and Nepal from the Kinrara Academy Oval in Kuala Lumpur begins on DreamCricket.com at 10 a.m. Friday in Malaysia, 10 p.m. EST and 7 p.m. PST Thursday night in the USA.