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By Peter Della Penna in Hong Kong
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solid effort in the field was backed up by a dominant batting effort as
USA defeated Hong Kong by 7 wickets at Kowloon Cricket Club on Saturday
at ICC WCL Division Three in Hong Kong.
Pic (Right): Steve Massiah hits a six over long on to bring up his half-century [Courtesy: Peter Della Penna/DreamCricket.com]
USA captain Steve Massiah was named Man of the Match after taking
advantage of the short boundaries to finish 97 not out with eight fours
and six sixes.
USA won the toss and elected to field first on an overcast and
chilly morning in Hong Kong. Right from the start, Kevin Darlington and
Usman Shuja applied terrific pressure. It only took until the third
over for a breakthrough to come when Courtney Kruger departed for 1
with the score also on 1 after he swished at a good length ball to
feather an edge through to Carl Wright.
Hussain Butt came in at first drop but left a short time later when
he cut a rare loose delivery from Darlington to backward point where
Rashard Marshall knifed it out of the air one-handed to his right to
send Butt on his way for 5, making it 33 for 2. Mark Chapman came in
next and after a slow start, got his eye in to play a pair of crisp
strokes for boundaries.
However, he was needlessly run out by his partner Roy Lamsam. On the
last ball of the 17th over with the score on 59, Chapman defended a
ball from Orlando Baker toward Marshall at point and Lamsam took off
from the non-striker’s end. There was no run, but instead of staying in
his crease, Chapman panicked and decided to run only after Marshall had
fielded and thrown the ball to Baker in front of the stumps at the
non-striker’s end. Baker dove to break the stumps with Chapman still
several yards short and the 16-year-old had to go for 10.
Pic (Right): Carl Wright hits his third six to bring up his half-century [Courtesy: Peter Della Penna/DreamCricket.com]
Four balls later, Irfan Ahmed attempted a loose drive to be clean
bowled by Shuja and Hong Kong was in a deep hole at 59 for 4. Nizakat
Khan and Lamsam constructed a sensational 99-run stand for the fifth
wicket that only became undone by another piece of dreadful running
between the wickets. Khan drilled a full ball from Baker straight to
Massiah at cover and immediately set off for a run while Lamsam rightly
stayed put. As Massiah gently tossed the ball to Wright at the
striker’s end, Lamsam decided to sacrifice himself and was halfway down
the pitch when the bails were dislodged. The opener threw away a chance
at a century and was gone for 83 in the 39th over.
For the second time in the innings, a runout brought a second wicket
when Waqas Barkat was caught behind off Baker two balls later to make
it 158 for 6. Khan was joined by the captain Najeeb Amar and the two
added quick runs until Khan was runout for 67 in similar fashion to
Lamsam. Amar was on strike and cut a short ball from Lennox Cush
straight to Muhammad Ghous at point. There was no single there, but
Amar took off as soon as he made contact. Ghous fielded and calmly
tossed the ball to Wright as Khan decided to leave his crease late and
let the captain continue his innings.
Pic (Right): Massiah accepting Man of the Match Award [Courtesy ICC/CricketEurope]
It was not a bad decision in the end as Amar blasted his way to 63
in 37 balls by the end of the innings. Cush claimed two quick wickets
including one on the second ball of the 50th over, but then was
assaulted by Amar on the final four balls of the innings to the tune of
a four and three sixes. There were 28 runs in the over as Hong Kong
finished 256 for 9.
“The guys did quite well,” said USA Team Manager Imran Khan. “It’s a
small ground. The wicket’s quite flat. Shuja bowled his overs quite
well at the start, contained them well. Darlo bowled from the shorter
end and didn’t concede too many. It gave us a pretty reasonable start.
We had them seven down quickly so we were pretty happy with that start.
To restrict them to 250 was I think a good effort by the guys.”
Based on the size of the ground, 300 looked to be a par score, but
with Hong Kong holding a home field advantage, the match was evenly
balanced at the innings break. While cloud cover was there throughout
Hong Kong’s innings, Baker and Wright opened USA’s chase in much
The two batsmen went through a testing opening spell from Irfan
Ahmed and the pressure he applied resulted in a runout for the first
wicket. Baker tried to flick a good length ball wide of mid on and took
off for a risky single. Wright stayed put at the bowler’s end while the
fielder Amar collected and tossed the ball to Barkat behind the stumps
to dismiss Baker for 13 making the score 37 for 1.
Massiah came to the wicket and offered steady support to Wright, who
took command of the chase with an assured knock. Wright was
particularly harsh to Amar, blasting him for multiple sixes into the
netting guarding the KCC clubhouse. Wright brought up his 50 in 81
balls and he looked set for a century until he tamely gave a return
catch to Nizakat Khan to fall for 82. The legspinner bowled an
half-tracker that Wright tried to smack off the back foot but Khan dove
to his left to pull off a brilliant catch to end the partnership at
109. It was a sorely needed contribution by Wright, his first
half-century for USA since he scored 76 in a Man of the Match
performance against Jersey on February 23, 2010 at ICC WCL Division
Five in Nepal.
“I’ve given all my trust in the selectors and they have given me
opportunities so I tried my best to come out today and just be positive
and try to occupy the crease a little bit,” said Wright. “[Coach
Clayton] Lambert and all the guys that rallied around me and gave me
confidence, I’d like to say well done to them.”
At 146 for 2 in the 32nd over, USA was comfortably on track for an
easy win. While Massiah played the anchor role when Wright was at the
crease, he turned on the jets once he was joined by Sushil Nadkarni.
Massiah scored 26 runs in his first 61 balls with one four and two
sixes. In his last 60 balls, he scored 71 runs with seven fours and
four more sixes. Nadkarni scored his 38 runs at better than a run a
ball until he was clean bowled just 12 runs short of the target by
left-arm spinner Nadeem Ahmed. Nadkarni was going for a fourth six with
a wild heave that missed everything.
Massiah still had a chance at his century, but a few more wides
bowled by the Hong Kong attack dimmed the possibility of accomplishing
the feat. Hong Kong bowled 23 wides in all, including 14 extra runs
down leg side in one over by medium pacer Asif Khan. Cush wound up
hitting the winning single over mid on as USA reached the target with
10 balls to spare.
USA will face Denmark on Sunday at Mission Road. Denmark lost by 7
wickets to Italy at Hong Kong CC while Papua New Guinea defeated Oman
by 39 runs at Mission Road in Saturday’s other games. Oman captain
Hemal Mehta finished unbeaten on 123 for the tournament’s first century
and did well to rebuild the innings for his team after PNG bowler
Hitolo Areni took a hat-trick in the seventh over of the chase. Live
coverage of the match between USA and Denmark will begin at 7:45 p.m.
EST Saturday night on DreamCricket.
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