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By Peter Della Penna in Hong Kong
posted their best batting effort since the first match of the
tournament against Hong Kong, but it was not enough as Man of the Match
Peter Petricola scored 69 not out to lead Italy past the target of 223
with four wickets and three overs to spare at Mission Road on Friday at
ICC WCL Division Three in Hong Kong.
Pic (Right): Peter Petricola gets a hug from Hemantha Jayasena after hitting the winning runs
With the defeat, USA’s record fell to 2-3 while Italy rose to 2-3
and with a better run rate than USA, Italy finished fourth meaning USA
finished in fifth place after the group stage and has been relegated to
Division Four along with Denmark. The only win for the Danish side in
the tournament came against USA.
“Let me just start first and foremost by expressing on behalf of the
team how extremely disappointed we are with our performance,” said USA
Team Manager Imran Khan. “Obviously the results and the way things have
gone this week, after a great start, we unfortunately didn’t capitalize
and go on to achieve promotion and the victory we thought we could
achieve. So from that perspective we’re extremely disappointed. On
behalf of the squad, I’d like to apologize to the fans and followers of
cricket in the US for what’s obviously transpired.”
“We’ve had a good couple of years and done rather well. We’ve shown
the potential that we have in the country but unfortunately, sometimes
those streaks and those victories come to an end and today was that
time. As for US cricket and where do we go from here, I think with
everything that ends, there comes great opportunity to rethink,
reevaluate, reformulate a new strategy, a new policy and to move
forward. Maybe this is a blessing in disguise. We can start to look at
our development program in the US, start to give the young guys an
opportunity to develop their cricket.”
Italy won the toss and sent USA in to bat on another cool overcast
morning. Sushil Nadkarni came up to open for the first time in the
tournament alongside Carl Wright. For the third match in a row, Wright
failed at the top, getting out for a 12-ball duck when he pulled Din
Alaud straight to Petricola at square leg to make it 6 for 1.
Ryan Corns then made his debut at number three and the 20-year-old
played a solid innings, helping to build USA’s fourth highest
partnership of the tournament by putting on 66 with Nadkarni. Corns
stroked four boundaries in his knock before he played back to a full
delivery from Petricola and was struck dead in front for 30 to make it
72 for 2 in the 21st over.
Pic (Right): Usman Shuja and Steve Massiah walk off the field after another defeat
Steve Massiah then built another half-century stand with Nadkarni,
putting on 53 before Nadkarni tried sweeping legspinner Hemantha
Jayasena and gloved a catch to the keeper Hayden Patrizi to depart for
47. Lennox Cush came out and was gone for 1 when he was stumped off a
leg side wide after he missed a flick to midwicket off medium pacer
USA took the batting power play with Massiah and Rashard Marshall at
the crease at the start of the 43rd over, but Massiah was pinned on the
crease to the first ball from Munasinghe and was out LBW to give the
bowler his second wicket making the score 167 for 5. Marshall got a
good start, but fell when he pulled a waist high full toss from
Petricola to Michael Raso at deep square leg to make it 203 for 6.
Usman Shuja was bowled first ball by Petricola swinging for the fences
while Orlando Baker was caught at mid on off another waist high full
toss to give Petricola three in the over and four for the innings and
USA was 211 for 8 in 49.
Durale Forrest and Asif Khan hit Dilan Fernando for 11 in the final
over to boost USA to 222 for 8 in 50 overs. USA looked well set to
score a minimum of 240 at the 30 over mark when they were 105 for 2 and
had Nadkarni batting with Massiah, but stumbled badly towards the end
and in the final analysis, they were 20 to 30 runs short of where they
should have ended up.
USA came out in the field and started off with two quick wickets as
Kevin Darlington and Wright teamed up for a pair of dismissals. The
first to go was Andy Northcote for 13, who swished at a pitched up
delivery and gave a simple edge behind. Next was the captain Alessandro
Bonora for 10, who tried to defend a short of a length ball and gave
another healthy edge to Wright making it 39 for 2.
It was then that USA’s fielding woes started to rear their ugly head
again. Damian Fernando was dropped off the bowling of Darlington by
Corns on 17 on a diving effort at point. While Fernando was dismissed
in the next over by Shuja without adding to his score, the error was a
harbinger of things to come. Shuja also accounted for Damian Crowley
who mistimed a pull to mid on where Khan took a safe catch to make it
52 for 4 and the momentum was clearly in USA’s favor.
However, Italy’s rock solid all-rounder Petricola was at the crease
and Patrizi had started to offer good support. Early in Patrizi’s
innings with Wright up to the stumps and Forrest bowling, the batsman
sent in edge in Nadkarni’s direction at first slip, but the
vice-captain was late reacting to the chance and the ball flew to his
left to go for a boundary.
With the score on 83 and Patrizi on 16, another chance came off
Forrest’s bowling that was left on the table. Petricola was on strike
and missed a flick off his pads before setting off for a leg bye.
Patrizi was slow to respond and Forrest had a head start going after
the ball off his follow through. He picked it up adjacent to the pitch
and from five yards away gave an underhand flick towards the stumps at
the striker’s end, but missed with the ball going for two leg byes as
Petricola came back for an overthrow with no one backing up.
Petricola was then dropped on 30 when the score was at 120 for 4
after 31 overs. Wright was up to the stumps again for Baker, who
returned at the start of the 32nd over to start his second spell and on
the very first delivery he bowled, Petricola went to cut a good length
ball giving an edge that Wright could not hold on to. That was the
backbreaker for USA and the reactions in the field to the drop said as
much when everyone put hands on heads.
The partnership continued and it only ended after Patrizi had
reached 50 and the stand crossed 100, ending at 102 when Patrizi was
LBW to Darlington at the start of Italy’s batting power play in the
38th over to make it 154 for 5. Raso came in and picked up right where
Patrizi left off, turning over the strike with ease as USA looked more
and more despondent in the field. A 63-run stand followed and when Raso
was dismissed six runs short of victory, no one moved an inch to
congratulate Cush for taking the catch or Baker for getting the wicket.
Defeat was inevitable and it happened one over later when Petricola hit
the winning shot with a top edged four over Wright.
Hong Kong defeated Papua New Guinea to finish 3-2 and in second
place, making it six times in seven tournaments in the World Cricket
League that the home team has finished in the top two and been
promoted. Oman defeated Denmark in Friday’s other contest to finish
third. Hong Kong and PNG will face off for the second time in two days
in the championship match at Kowloon CC on Saturday while Oman will
play Italy in the third place game at Hong Kong CC. USA will play
Denmark at Mission Road in the third place game, the same opponent on
the same ground where their tournament began to unravel. Live coverage
of the match will begin Friday night at 7:45 p.m. EST on DreamCricket.
[Pictures courtesy of Peter Della Penna/DreamCricket.com]