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By Peter Della Penna
Narender Reddy Bongarum top-scored with 51 at number three for Singapore and took 2 for 23 to help lead his team to a 99-run victory over USA at Pul Chowk Engineering College on day four of the ICC World Cricket League Division Five Tournament in Kathmandu, Nepal. Bongarum was named Man of the Match for his efforts to pull level with USA at second place on the tournament table. Both teams are now 3-1 with USA marginally ahead on net run rate behind Nepal, who is undefeated at 4-0. USA will play Nepal on Friday in a high stakes match at Tribhuvan University and desperately need to win if they want to give themselves the best chance of advancing to Division Four in Italy this August.
USA had a golden chance to clinch a spot in Division Four by beating Singapore, but the Division Six champion from Asia proved they have what it takes to move up one more level by putting in a virtually mistake-free performance against USA. Singapore won the toss and elected to bat first on one of the better batting tracks seen in this tournament. Another string of dropped chances as well as a tournament-high 23 wides and 34 extras by USA’s bowling unit opened the door for Singapore to post 245 in their 50 overs.
Photo (Left): Narender Reddy Bongarum receives his Man of the Match award in Singapore's victory over USA; Courtesy Daniela Zaharia/USACA.
“The bowlers seemed to stray at the wrong time,” said USA head coach Clayton Lambert. “Unfortunately then we go for wides, going for five wides. We ended up giving too many extras.”
Chetan Suryanwanshi and Buddhika Mendis got Singapore off to a crisp start with a 64-run opening stand as the two batsmen played with superb confidence against the pace bowling of Kevin Darlington, Timroy Allen and Orlando Baker. Sudesh Dhaniram was then brought on to slow things down with his off-spin and built pressure until it resulted in a run out. On the last ball of his fourth over, Dhaniram bowled his 16th straight dot ball as Mendis tried to get off strike guiding a ball to third man in the circle, but confusion resulted with his partner and he was stranded as Steve Massiah calmly threw to Carl Wright behind the stumps and the bails were dislodged to send Mendis back for 27. Suryawanshi then pulled a short ball from Lennox Cush to Massiah at midwicket and USA had two wickets in four balls as Suryawanshi walked back for 34 to make it 64 for 2 in the 16th over.
However, Singapore regrouped with the biggest partnership of the match put on by Bongarum and Anish Param to build a platform for a late innings charge. The two combined to add 83 runs for the third wicket. USA had their chances though as Bongarum was put down twice, first on 25 as Dhaniram put down a diving chance at deep midwicket with the score at 99 for 2 in the 26th over off the bowling of Saurabh Verma and then again on 40 off a sharp caught and bowled chance when Allen returned to bowl off-spin with the score at 125 for 2 in the 33rd. He was finally given out backing away to slog Darlington in the batting power play and edged a ball that got lodged in Wright’s pads as he was standing up to the stumps.
Another two wickets fell in the power play to give USA some energy as Param was out for 24, stumped after Cush bowled a wide down leg side with Param coming down the pitch to make it 153 for 4. Saad Khan Janjua then fell for 3, clean bowled by Darlington to make it 164 for 5 in 39 overs.
The power play ended in the 40th over with the score at 166 and it seemed as though USA was in the clear. But Pramodh Raja was undeterred by the wickets that had just fallen and came in at number six to bash Darlington, Dhaniram and Cush around the ground for an electric 45 in 29 balls with five fours and two sixes. He put on 57 runs with Manish Arora, the third half-century partnership of the innings, to suddenly give Singapore the upper hand.
Darlington then came back in the 46th over and dismissed Raja to make it 221 for 6. Three more wickets fell in the space of 16 runs as Darlington claimed two more and Dhaniram one, but Singapore managed to bat all 50 overs to finish 245 for 9. In addition to the drops and some poor ground fielding by USA, the bowlers conceded 23 wides against Singapore when they had given up a combined 24 over the first three matches.
“Yesterday’s game certainly put a lot of strain on us and maybe the guys were a bit too relaxed after we had to fight so hard yesterday,” said Lambert. “They came out today and all around we played really really bad cricket.”
USA’s chase was always going to be hard and they stumbled out of the gate when Sushil Nadkarni continued his poor return from injury to be caught behind on the first ball of the second innings off the fast pace of Janjua. Baker was LBW to Janjua for 6 in the 5th over as USA were preparing for another top order collapse at 16 for 2.
Jackie Manoj-Kumar came on and the left arm orthodox spinner was unlucky not to be named Man of the Match as he bowled a devastating spell beginning in the 9th over. On his first ball, Cush came out of his crease and was beaten in flight to be stumped for 14. Sudesh Dhaniram then failed again and has yet to cross double-digits in an official match in either Dubai or Nepal. He went to defend a ball well outside off stump and gave a simple catch behind the stumps to Suryawanshi for Manoj-Kumar’s second wicket, out for 5 to make it 49 for 4 in 15 overs.
Aditya Thyagarajan then came out and did his best to rebuild with the captain, but after the two put on 40 runs together, Thyagarajan could not keep a sweep to ground and middled one straight to Riaz Hussien on the square leg boundary to give off-spinner Param a wicket, out for 22 as USA sunk to 89 for 5.
Wickets then fell at regular intervals as Singapore kept the spinners coming. All but the four overs bowled by opening paceman Janjua were spin. Dharmichand Mulewa induced a mistake from Carl Wright, who lofted one to Bongarum on the long on boundary for 10. Massiah brought up his 50 in 97 balls, but then was out on his next ball to Manoj-Kumar, bowled around his legs trying to sweep and USA’s hopes were dashed as the score became 127 for 7 in 33 overs.
Bongarum then returned for a second spell of off-spin bowling after he opened the match with Janjua. He finished off the match, taking the wickets of Rashard Marshall and Verma with Manoj-Kumar nabbing Allen in between, and USA was all out for 146 in 37.5 overs.
Nepal beat Fiji on Wednesday to remain undefeated and Bahrain topped Jersey to eliminate them from contention for the top two spots. Nepal is 4-0 with a +1.919 net run rate. USA is placed second with a 3-1 record and +1.355 net run rate. Singapore is third at 3-1 and a +1.114 net run rate. If USA beats Nepal and Singapore beats Jersey on Friday, there will be a three-way tie at 4-1 atop the table and net run rate will decide the two teams to move on to Division Four. Nepal is the only team that controls their own destiny and will clinch a spot in Division Four with a win over USA. If USA wins and Singapore loses, USA and Nepal will advance. If Singapore wins and USA loses, USA will finish third with the other two teams advancing. If USA and Singapore both lose, second place will be decided on net run rate. Live coverage of the tense final day will begin at 10 p.m. EST Thursday night on Dreamcricket.com as USA looks to knock off the host team at Tribhuvan University.
USA vs. Jersey, Post Match Interview with Coach Lambert from Peter Della Penna on Vimeo.
ICC WCL Division Five
Singapore vs. USA
Singapore won by 99 runs
Singapore won the toss and elected to bat
Man of the Match: Narender Reddy Bongarum
Batsman Runs Balls 4s 6s Dismissal
C Suryawanshi+ 34 38 4 0 ct Massiah b Cush
B Mendis 27 55 2 0 runout (Massiah/Wright+)
NR Bongarum 51 72 4 2 ct Wright+ b Darlington
A Param 24 59 2 0 st Wright+ b Cush
SK Janjua 3 5 0 0 b Darlington
PVSS Raja 45 29 5 2 ct Dhaniram b Darlington
M Arora* 12 20 1 0 ct Wright+ b Dhaniram
RA Hussien 2 6 0 0 b Darlington
D Mulewa 2 3 0 0 not out
M Shoib 5 5 0 0 LBW Dhaniram
J Manoj-Kumar 6 8 0 0 not out
Total Extras 34 (0 no balls, 1 bye, 10 leg byes, 23 wides)
Team Total 245 for 9 in 50 overs
Fall of wicket: 64/1 (Mendis), 64/2 (Suryawanshi), 147/3 (Bongarum), 153/4 (Param), 164/5 (Janjua), 221/6 (Raja), 230/7 (Arora), 230/8 (Hussien), 237/9 (Shoib).
USA Bowling Overs-Maidens-Runs-Wickets
KG Darlington 10-0-65-4
TP Allen 7-1-35-0
OM Baker 6-1-28-0
S Dhaniram 10-3-30-2
LJ Cush 9-0-52-2
S Verma 8-0-24-0
Batsman Runs Balls 4s 6s Dismissal
SS Nadkarni 0 1 0 0 ct Suryawanshi+ b Janjua
OM Baker 6 10 1 0 LBW Janjua
SJ Massiah* 50 98 3 0 b Manoj-Kumar
LJ Cush 14 12 3 0 st Suryawanshi+ b Manoj-Kumar
S Dhaniram 5 17 0 0 ct Suryawanshi+ b Manoj-Kumar
A Thyagarajan 22 26 2 1 ct Hussien b Param
CD Wright 10 23 0 0 ct Bongarum b Mulewa
RA Marshall 13 12 1 1 b Bongarum
TP Allen 2 7 0 0 st Suryawanshi+ b Manoj-Kumar
S Verma 14 17 3 0 LBW Bongarum
KG Darlington 0 4 0 0 not out
Total Extras 10 (0 no balls, 0 byes, 0 leg byes, 10 wides)
Team Total 146 all out in 37.5 overs
Fall of wicket: 0/1 (Nadkarni), 16/2 (Baker), 36/3 (Cush), 49/4 (Dhaniram), 89/5 (Thyagarajan), 113/6 (Wright), 127/7 (Massiah), 129/8 (Marshall), 145/9 (Allen), 146/10 (Verma).
Singapore Bowling Overs-Maidens-Runs-Wickets
SK Janjua 4-0-25-2
NR Bongarum 9.5-1-24-2
J Manoj-Kumar 8-0-23-4
D Mulewa 4-0-22-1
PVSS Raja 3-0-17-0
A Param 6-0-25-1
RA Hussien 3-1-10-0