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By Peter Della Penna (on Twitter)
DreamCricket.com is wrapping up the year in United States Cricket by recognizing USA’s standout performers at the international level. The 2012 New Inning Foundation Individual Performance of the Year belongs to Aditya Mishra for his 62 against Scotland at the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier in Dubai.
Mishra’s performance was not the highest Twenty20 score by a USA batsman on the year. That belongs to Timil Patel for his 67 not out in a win over Canada. It was not the most destructive performance of the year by a USA player either. That belongs to Timroy Allen in the opening match at ICC World Cricket League Division Four when he crushed 72 off 43 balls and followed it up with 2 for 35 in a win over Malaysia.
However, Mishra’s performance stood out more than the others both for the quality of the opponent and due to the fact that it came with the increased pressure of batting in the second innings as USA was tasked with chasing down a sizable Scotland total of 161 for 8. To top it off, Mishra had the added responsibility of captaining USA in the match because Sushil Nadkarni was rested at the end of a grueling group phase which saw USA play seven matches in eight days.
The innings had its share of fortune at the start when Mishra offered a top-edged swirling chance on 1 in the first over that couldn’t be claimed by Scotland captain Kyle Coetzer. By the six over mark, USA was 53 for 0 and a big upset was brewing. When Mishra’s opening partner Steven Taylor got out at the end of the ninth over, the pair had put on 78 runs for the first wicket to produce USA’s best partnership at the event.
USA started the 14th over on 101 for 1 at which point USA ratcheted up the pressure on Scotland with a 17-run frame. Mishra skipped down the track to the fourth ball of the over delivered by debutant leg-spinner Moneeb Iqbal and lofted him straight down the ground for a six as the rest of the USA squad sitting beyond the boundary grew more and more vocal with their support.
Mishra brought up his half-century on the first ball of the 17th over with a top-edged pull off medium pacer Safyaan Sharif that sailed over the wicketkeeper and the equation read 27 runs needed in 23 balls to win with eight wickets in hand. In the 18th, Mishra drove off-spinner Majid Haq down the ground for his fifth boundary as he looked primed to walk off unbeaten after leading the side to victory.
Image (right) - Aditya Mishra completes a drive down the ground off Scotland's Preston Mommsen in the 19th over to inch USA closer to victory. Mishra was named Man of the Match for his 62, USA's best individual score of the tournament. [Courtesy: Peter Della Penna/DreamCricket]
USA entered the final over needing just four runs to win. Mishra tried to squeeze out a quick single off the first ball but was run out, finishing with five boundaries and two sixes in his 62 off 54 balls. It was left to Orlando Baker and Asif Khan to finish the job as USA defeated Scotland by seven wickets with a ball to spare.
USA wound up being one of only two non-ODI Associate teams – joining Namibia, a team which competes in the ICC Intercontinental Cup and WCL Championship – to register a win against one of the six ODI Associate nations during the group stage of the tournament. The victory was due largely to the innings turned in by Mishra as USA demonstrated that they are more than capable of standing toe-to-toe with the heavyweights of the Associate cricket world.
Mishra’s impressive showing against Scotland is in perfect sync with his job outside of cricket. The 31-year-old lives in San Francisco and works as a management consultant specializing in performance improvement at Ernst & Young.
In recognition of his achievement, Mishra will receive a plaque as well as a $250 DreamCricket.com Pavilion Shop gift certificate sponsored by New Inning Foundation.