Economical bowling was the feature of the final day of USA trials in Houston, as few batsmen scored at better than a run a ball during a pair of T20 trial matches while Ravi Timbawala was the only one to make a half-century.
By Peter Della Penna in Houston
Ravi Timbawala’s 53 not out off 63 balls in the second of two T20 trial matches served as the only half-century of the final day a four-day national team camp in Houston, Texas.
Timbawala accounted for nearly half the runs in Team Babar’s total of 107 for 3 batting first, a scoreline which reflected the low intensity levels from both sides during the first innings. All five batsmen who appeared in the innings scored at less than a run a ball on a docile pitch with the only six coming off the final ball of the innings struck by Ahmed Butt to move to 23 off 27 balls.
Timil Patel was the only wicket-taking bowler, striking on back-to-back deliveries in the 11th when he had Sagar Patel skying a slog sweep over the pitch to produce a return catch for 21 off 26 balls before Nicholas Standford dragged his back foot out of the crease stretching forward to flick Timil but missed to be stumped by Akeem Dodson for a golden duck. The only other wicket came in the first over when Tohidul Islam was runout by a direct hit from mid on by Japen Patel for a second-ball duck when Sagar turned down Tohidul’s call.
With the coaching staff giving Team Taylor an adjusted target of 140, Akeem Dodson breathed some life into the contest with an aggressive knock at the top of the chase, striking 44 off 30 balls before he fell in the 10th missing an attempted slog to be bowled by Adil Bhatti. Mrunal Patel, who entered in the second over after Abdullah Syed was bounced out for 7 by Sahaj Patel, batted through most of the innings with Dodson and eventually lasted until the 17th over when he was bowled by Elmore Hutchinson for 32 off 38 balls.
In between, Noshtush Kenjige left his mark on the trials once again. After Mrunal was dropped during Kenjige’s first over at deep midwicket by Sagar on 23, he persisted with a full length and snagged Roy Silva for 10 off 9 balls, bowled missing a slog. Kenjige then survived a brief assault from Steven Taylor before having him caught by Standford at long on for 12 off 3 balls to finish with 2 for 33 in his four overs. Fellow left-arm spinner Srinivas Raghavan had Timil Patel caught at point in the 18th over for the seventh wicket before a runout and two more wickets in the 19th by Hutchinson wrapped up the tail as Team Taylor finished all out for 124. Hutchinson finished with the best figures of the day taking 3 for 22.
In the earlier trial match, another mostly tepid T20 affair saw Team Jessy defend a total of 139 for 5 to win by 29 runs. Bright sparks came towards the end of the first innings from Shiva Vashishat and Francis Mendonca to pump some life into the first match. Vashishat made 38 off 30 balls including five boundaries before he was runout in the 16th with the score 96 for 4 trying to accelerate the scoring pace. Mendonca, who had been on 22 off 25 at that point, struck three fours and a six during his final 12 balls at the crease to finish unbeaten on 44 off 37 balls while some adventurous strokeplay from Suneel Kumar in the final over resulted in a pair of boundaries as he walked off unbeaten on 16 off 8 balls.
However, Team Nisarg’s chase lacked intent and they coasted through much of the innings before ending on 110 for 5. Former USA captain Muhammad Ghous bowled a tight opening spell in the Powerplay and finished with 1 for 9 in four overs, claiming the wicket of Nisarg Patel caught at short midwicket, to bounce back from a poor string of performances on the first two days of trial matches.
After finishing the Powerplay at 24 for 6, Davion Davidson played out a maiden to Japen in the seventh and of the three boundaries scored by Davidson and Saleem from the eighth to the 14th overs, two came off misfields. Saleem eventually fell for 28 off 31 balls missing a scoop against Kumar. A clump of three boundaries came in a 16-run 16th over off Gauranshu Sharma, one of which came courtesy of more sloppy fielding as Omari Williams dropped a chance at long off given by Charan Singh on 8 before the ball bounced into the rope.
Davidson ended on 22 off 29 before he was runout in the 17th over. Charan was the only batsman to score at better than a run a ball in the innings, making 34 off 32 balls before driving the final ball of the innings from Jessy Singh to Muhammad Ghous at cover.
USA selectors are expected to narrow down the group of 45 that attended the trials in Texas to a list of between 16 and 18 players to be invited back for a four-day skills camp in Houston from April 6-9 before a final 14-man squad is announced later in the month.