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By Peter Della Penna (on Twitter)
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The USA Women’s team posted their lowest total of the week, but held on for a 10-run win over Argentina on Wednesday in the 2012 ICC Americas Women’s Twenty20 Championship at JP Powell Oval in George Town, Cayman Islands. USA moves to 3-0 with the win while Argentina was dealt their first loss to fall to 2-1.
After the success they had in fielding first against Bermuda and the Cayman Islands, Argentina sent USA in to bat after winning the toss. USA made one change to their lineup from the previous two matches as Beulah Pidakala made way for Geetha Shawkarla.
Triholder Marshall was promoted to open the batting with Nadia Gruny, but the move failed to pay dividends for USA as Marshall was dismissed without scoring by Lucia Culley in the second over to make it 7 for 1. A day after scoring a half-century, Melissa Sandy also fell for a duck, caught off the bowling of Sharon Seaton to make it 9 for 2 in the third.
USA captain Candacy Atkins joined Gruny and the pair commenced the first of two modest but vital partnerships for USA in the innings. The pair added 29 for the fourth wicket before Atkins was dismissed in the 10th over by Catalina Greloni for 6. Gruny was bowled by Alison Stocks in the 11th for USA’s top score of 27 to make it 44 for 4 before Samantha Ramautar was runout in the 12th for 1 by Seaton to make it 49 for 5.
Karen Bayles and Anahita Arora then worked to get USA to a competitive total by building a 34-run partnership for the sixth wicket, the biggest stand for either side on the day. Mercedes Esperon ended the partnership in the 18th over by dismissing Arora for 13 to make it 83 for 6 before Bayles was runout in the next over for 20 to make it 85 for 7. Claudine Beckford and Sara Farooq finished unbeaten on 5 and 3 respectively to push USA to their 20-over total of 92 for 7. Stocks had the best figures for Argentina with 1 for 9 in two overs.
While the target was not big, Argentina’s slow start to the chase cost them badly in the end. Clara Culley scored just 1 off 8 balls opening the innings before being dismissed by Ramautar while Esperon came in at number three and scored just 2 off 8 before she was bowled by Farooq to make it 23 for 2 in the seventh over. Argentina’s other opener, Dirce Yuli, was runout for 15 off just 33 balls to make it 34 for 3 in the 10th. Argentina started their chase needing just 4.65 runs per over to win, but by the halfway point of the innings the required run rate was approaching six per over and continued to climb for the rest of the innings.
Argentina captain Veronica Vazquez and Sofia Retamales put on 29 runs for the fourth wicket, but the partnership spanned from the 10th to the 17th over at a time when acceleration was needed but never happened. Retamales was finally caught behind for 17 off Ramautar and Vazquez was bowled in the next over for 10 off 28 balls by Sandy, who took off the wicketkeeping pads to bowl.
Argentina entered the final two overs needing 24 runs to win but could not score any boundaries during the final 12 deliveries and only had three in their entire innings. Ramautar trapped Violeta Yuli for 5 to make it 69 for 6 and Georgina Retamales was dismissed by Sandy for 5 in the final over to make it 78 for 7. Seaton scored 4 not out to take Argentina to their final total of 82 for 7. Extras wound up being the top score for Argentina with 23, including 13 wides.
Ramautar once again proved difficult to get away, taking 3 for 8 in four overs. Farooq took 1 for 14 in three overs while Sandy finished with 2 for 10 in two overs.
In the other matches on Wednesday, Canada also maintained their unbeaten record with a 106-run win over the Cayman Islands. Canada won the toss and batted first, posting 191 for 4 in their 20 overs. Joanna White produced the highest score for any player so far in the tournament as she finished 99 not out off 62 balls including 13 boundaries. Cayman Islands finished at 85 for 6 in their chase as Kamna Mirchandani continued her excellent tournament with the ball for Canada, taking 3 for 15.
Cayman Islands remain winless on the week along with Brazil, who lost to Bermuda by seven wickets. Brazil won the toss and batted first but could only scrape together 93 for 4 in 20 overs. Bermuda stuttered at 14 for 2 in the fifth over, but Brittney Marshall entered at number four to steer the chase with 40 not out in 46 deliveries, including five boundaries and a six, to reach the target with nine balls to spare for Bermuda’s first win of the tournament.
All teams have an off day on Thursday before returning to action on Friday. USA will take on Bermuda at JP Powell Oval starting at 3:30 p.m. EST. Brazil and Cayman Islands play each other with both teams still searching for their first win. The loser of that match is in danger of being relegated to ICC Americas Women’s Division Two.
Canada takes on Argentina in the other match on Friday and if both USA and Canada stay true to form by notching wins, it would mean both teams would enter their Saturday showdown with 4-0 records. The winner would not only claim the tournament title but also a spot at the 2013 ICC Women’s World Twenty20 Qualifier.