By Peter Della Penna
Timroy Allen saved the day as USA came back from a deep hole in the final overs to snatch a one-wicket win over UAE on Sunday afternoon at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
Pic (Right): File picture of Timroy Allen
“I think today was a very very important victory for us,” said Steve Massiah, USA captain. “What it has done for the team has given us more self belief and I think it’s a very very good morale boosting victory for us. So we can take a lot of positives and I’m sure we’ll be up for the game on Tuesday and we are looking forward to it very much.”
UAE was sent in by USA to bat first and were bowled out for 141 with a ball left in the innings. Usman Shuja dismissed both openers in his unbroken four over spell to start the match, getting Mohammed Iqbal out with a good slower ball yorker. Lennox Cush removed Qadar Nawaz first ball, getting him to chip to Massiah at midwicket in the circle before Shuja got Arfan Haider to slice a full and wide ball to Rashard Marshall at backward point to make it 34 for 1 in the 5th over.
After Shuja finished, Massiah mixed up his spinners well to keep UAE’s batsman off balance. Saqib Ali came in at number four and top scored with 47 off 43 balls as he was never really able to tee off due to excellent bowling by Cush and Saurabh Verma in particular. Allen, who opened the match opposite Shuja with his pace bowling, also came on to bowl off-spin in the middle overs, presenting another dimension to his game.
After two solid partnerships, UAE looked to set a very good total with the score at 111 for 4 in the 16th over, but wickets fell fast and furious at the end. Imran Awan came on at the death to take three quick wickets as UAE lost their last six batsmen for only 30 runs. The bowlers were well supported in the catching department by Rashard Marshall in particular, who took three brilliant catches overall.
USA came out and made a confident start with Carl Wright and Sushil Nadkarni before Wright fell on the final ball of the 4th over for 22 to make it 39 for 1. After that, UAE’s three left arm spinners Shadeep Silva, Khurram Khan and Haider, nearly ground the chase to a complete halt. The middle order struggled to get singles and keep the scoreboard ticking as USA was only able to score 17 runs in the next 6 overs.
Three consecutive runouts were brought about as a result of more pressure by the UAE to put USA in a serious bind. None of them were close as kamikaze running and direct hits by the fielders did USA in. After Sudesh Dhaniram was run out for 5 in the 11th over, Aditya Thyagarajan and Rashard Marshall ran themselves out on back to back balls in the 12th, to make it 67 for 6.
“I don’t think it has anything to do with chemistry or us not playing together,” said Massiah when asked about what caused the runouts. “I think it was just some poor judgement and it’s cricket. It happens very often. You are gonna see a repeat of that as you continue to look at cricket. Our preparation has been very good and we’ve gotta make the most of whatever is presented in front of us.”
In came Timroy Allen at number eight, who made batting look incredibly easy by smoking 57 runs in only 26 balls to turn the match in USA’s favor. While others before him became bogged down, Allen showed nerves of steel and kept the runs flowing. He only had five dot balls in his knock to go along with three fours and four sixes.
“Today was a demonstration of some pretty clean hitting as well as some very sensible batting by Tim,” said Steve Massiah, USA captain.
The 16th over was the turning point in the match as Allen seized on Nawaz’s medium pace to take 18 of the 22 runs in the over. After a dot ball and a wide to start, Shuja took a single to get Allen on strike. He then smashed a six over midwicket before another wide was speared down the leg side. Allen then hoisted a six over square leg before Nawaz buckled under the pressure with another leg side wide. Good running turned one into two on the fifth ball before Allen finished the over with a four over the bowler’s head.
“It’s just basic cricket. It was kind of windy. The wind was blowing towards where all of those sixes went on the leg side. So on the opposite side I was just getting singles, ones and twos just to fill it up but I knew we’d have to score most of our runs from that side with the wind because we couldn’t go against it.”
The match swung again late as Silva bowled Shuja in the 17th over and Verma was run out next ball to make it 119 for 9. Awan came in and combined with Allen to provide some tense moments. On the last ball of the 18th over, Allen clubbed one straight into Awan’s right elbow at the non-striker’s end. He was in total agony, but showed great fortitude in staying there to give Allen and USA a chance to win.
With six runs to win and seven balls left, Awan drove a ball from Silva straight to cover that would have ended the match but it was put down at knee height by the fielder. Instead, Allen began the final over against Khan on strike and after a two on the first ball, he drove what should have been a single to long on where UAE’s best fielder Naemuddin Aslam charged the ball and reached down to pick it up, but it went right through his legs for the game winning boundary.
USA will train in Sharjah on Monday before returning to Abu Dhabi on Tuesday for their first Group A match against Scotland, who beat Kenya by 16 runs in the other warm-up game in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.
ICC World T20 Qualifier Warm-up
UAE vs. USA
USA won by 1 wicket
USA won the toss and elected to field
Batsman Runs Balls 4s 6s Dismissal
Mohammed Iqbal 9 7 1 0 bowled Shuja
Arfan Haider 21 16 4 0 ct Marshall bowled Shuja
Qadar Nawaz 0 1 0 0 ct Massiah bowled Cush
Saqib Ali 47 43 4 1 ct Awan bowled Cush
Khurram Khan* 18 16 2 0 ct Marshall bowled Verma
Naeemuddin Aslam 19 17 1 0 ct Wright bowled Awan
Abdul Rehman+ 2 3 0 0 ct Cush bowled Verma
EHSN Silva 13 7 0 1 ct Wright+ bowled Cush
Awais Alam 2 3 0 0 ct Marshall bowled Awan
Qasim Zubair 4 4 0 0 not out
Moiz Shahid 2 3 0 0 ct Massiah bowled Awan
Total Extras 4 (1 no ball, 0 byes, 2 leg byes, 1 wide)
Team Total 141 all out in 19.5 overs
Fall of wicket: 27/1 (Iqbal), 32/2 (Nawaz), 34/3 (Haider), 78/4 (Khan), 111/5 (Ali), 118/6 (Rehman), 121/7 (Aslam), 124/8 (Alam), 137/9 (Silva), 141/10 (Shahid).
USA Bowling Overs-Maidens-Runs-Wickets
KU Shuja 4-0-26-2
TP Allen 3-0-24-0
LJ Cush 4-0-23-3
S Dhaniram 2-0-16-0
I Awan 2.5-0-25-3
S Verma 4-0-25-2
Batsman Runs Balls 4s 6s Dismissal
SS Nadkarni 12 9 2 0 ct Aslam bowled Zubair
CD Wright+ 22 17 2 1 ct Aslam bowled Nawaz
LJ Cush 17 25 0 1 LBW Ali
SJ Massiah* 2 11 0 0 bowled Silva
S Dhaniram 5 12 0 0 runout (Khan)
A Thyagarajan 1 2 0 0 runout (Rehman+)
RA Marshall 0 0 0 0 runout (Zubair)
TP Allen 57 26 3 4 not out
KU Shuja 6 9 0 0 bowled Silva
S Verma 0 1 0 0 runout (Zubair)
I Awan 1 4 0 0 not out
Total Extras 19 (0 no balls, 0 byes, 9 leg byes, 10 wides)
Team Total 142 for 9 in 19.2 overs
Fall of wicket: 39/1 (Wright), 40/2 (Nadkarni), 47/3 (Massiah), 57/4 (Dhaniram), 67/5 (Thyagarajan), 67/6 (Marshall), 87/7 (Cush), 119/8 (Shuja), 119/9 (Verma).
UAE Bowling Overs-Maidens-Runs-Wickets
Qasim Zubair 3.2-0-21-1
Qadar Nawaz 3-0-49-1
EHSN Silva 3-0-13-2
Khurram Khan 4-0-13-0
Arfan Haider 3-0-24-0
Saqib Ali 3-0-13-1