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By Peter Della Penna (on Twitter)
For the second World Cricket League event in a row, USA has been assigned to play the host nation in the first match of the tournament as they face off against Malaysia at Bayuemas Oval on September 3 to kick off 2012 ICC WCL Division Four according to an ICC press release. The déjà vu continues on the tournament’s second day when USA takes on Denmark, a match that will be held at Selangor Turf Club.
At 2011 ICC WCL Division Three, USA took on hosts Hong Kong and defeated them easily by seven wickets only to stumble badly on day two of tournament play against Denmark. USA dropped Denmark captain Michael Pedersen three times on his way to 78 not out in a total of 193 for 6. USA was at 84 for 2 chasing in the 16th over when a spectacular collapse resulted in the team being bowled out for 163 in 39.5 overs. Aditya Thyagarajan suffered a severely dislocated right knee in the match and hasn’t played for USA since then while rehabbing the injury but Thyagarajan was selected to return to the senior squad for next month’s tour to Malaysia.
After a day off on September 5, USA returns to action at Kinrara Oval, site of the 2008 ICC U-19 World Cup Final, when they matchup with Tanzania on September 6. A day later, they return to the same venue to face off against Nepal, a team that has become one of USA’s biggest rivals outside of the Americas over the last several years. In their most recent matchup, USA beat Nepal in a crucial showdown at 2010 ICC WCL Division Four in Italy by 55 runs with Sushil Nadkarni scoring a vital 64 not out in USA’s total of 203 for 8 before phenomenal spells by Usman Shuja (3 for 17) and Muhammad Ghous (3 for 31) sealed the win for USA.
After another rest day on September 8, USA returns to Bayuemas Oval for the final match in group play when they face Singapore. USA lost to Singapore by 99 runs the last time the two teams met, which was in 2010 at ICC WCL Division Five in Nepal. Left-arm spinner Jackie Manoj-Kumar tormented USA on the day, wiping out the middle order to finish with 4 for 23 as USA was bowled out for 146, but USA won’t have to worry about him in Malaysia as Manoj-Kumar is not in Singapore’s 14-man squad for the event.
After the round-robin stage finishes on September 9, the teams will be placed into a first place, third place and fifth place playoff on September 10. The first place playoff will take place at Kinrara Oval, the third place playoff at Selangor Turf Club and the fifth place playoff at Bayuemas Oval. The top two teams in the tournament will be promoted to 2013 ICC WCL Division Three, which takes place April 28-May 5 in Bermuda. The two promoted teams will join Bermuda, Italy, Oman and Uganda in Division Three. The bottom two finishers at 2012 ICC WCL Division Four will be relegated to ICC WCL Division Five.
USA’s squad is scheduled to depart the USA for Malaysia on August 26 and arrive on August 28 for six days of training and acclimatization before the first match against Malaysia on September 3. It is currently unknown if USA will have any warm-up matches in Malaysia prior to the first match.
DreamCricket.com will provide live coverage of all of USA’s matches at 2012 ICC WCL Division Four in Malaysia. Each match is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. local time, 10:30 p.m. EST and 7:30 p.m. PST the previous day in America.