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By Peter Della Penna
soul-crushing eighth wicket stand between Timroy Allen and Orlando
Baker was the difference as USA defeated Argentina by two wickets on
Friday afternoon at Sea Breeze Oval on the first day of 20-over matches
at the ICC Americas Division One Tournament in Hamilton, Bermuda. USA
was in dire straits at 105 for 7 after 11 overs but managed to chase a
target of 184 with 11 balls to spare due in large part to their 67-run
Pic (Right): Orlando Baker kept his cool to take USA past Argentina [File photo]
USA won the toss and elected to field first as Baker returned to the
USA lineup for Bilal Khan. Argentina lost opener Lucas Paterlini with
the score on 15 as he was stumped for 7 by Ashhar Mehdi off the bowling
of medium-pacer Moazzam Imtiaz. Grant Dugmore then joined Matias
Paterlini at the crease and Dugmore dominated the innings for
Argentina. The two put on 46 runs in 5.2 overs before the elder
Paterlini was bowled by Muhammad Ghous for 21. Dugmore, who is the
43-year-old CEO of the Argentine Cricket Association, bashed 68 runs in
35 balls, with six fours and five sixes before he was finally dismissed
by Lennox Cush in the 12th over to make it 97 for 3.
Donald Forrester then joined Tomas Francis at the crease and the two
built Argentina’s biggest partnership of the innings, putting on 63
runs in 5.2 overs before Forrester was out for 32 to Ghous at the end
of the 17th over to make it 160 for 4. Alec Ferguson was dismissed two
balls later for a duck by Steve Massiah while Francis fell for 35 to
Massiah as well with three balls to go in the innings. Martin Siri
finished 13 not out while Alejo Tissera walked off with 1 off 1 ball as
Argentina made 183 for 6 in their 20 overs.
USA started briskly in pursuit of the runs with Sushil Nadkarni and
Carl Wright at the crease, but lost wickets at regular intervals.
Wright was the first to go for 17 to Gary Savage with the score on 24
in 2.2 overs. Savage then claimed Cush for 15 to make it 40 for 2 in
4.5 overs. Massiah fell for a second-ball duck to Lucas Paterlini six
balls later to make it 51 for 3.
Tissera then made serious inroads on the USA batting order to put
Argentina in the driver’s seat. The 19-year-old took his first wicket
in the ninth over as Nadkarni fell short of another half-century,
caught by Savage for 42 in only 23 balls with four boundaries and three
sixes. Tissera then had a destructive 11th over when he took three
wickets to put USA in a perilous position. Mehdi was out for 8, caught
by Siri to make it 100 for 5. On the next ball, Aditya Thyagarajan was
stumped off a wide ball for 6. Then on the last ball of the over,
Rashard Marshall was out for 1 in 2 balls as USA were reduced to 105
Despite the fall of wickets, USA still maintained a solid run rate and
if they could keep two men at the crease, they would have a good chance
to chase the runs which is exactly what happened. Undeterred by
Tissera’s previous over, Allen tore into him for a four and a six in
the 13th over while Baker also helped himself to a maximum as Tissera
finished his spell giving up 54 runs in four overs to go with his four
Allen and Baker maintained the asking rate and it seemed they would get
USA over the line until Allen was given LBW to Lucas Paterlini for 32
on the first ball of the 18th over with USA still needing 12 to win.
Imtiaz then came in and coolly struck a set of boundaries. Imtiaz
finished 8 not out as Baker hit the winning runs off the first ball of
the 19th over, finishing unbeaten on 28 as USA came out on top.
USA will now take on Canada on Saturday morning in their final Group A
match. Canada will have two games in one day as they will also face
Argentina in the afternoon.