USA’s 19-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman Steven Taylor set a record for the highest score in Twenty20 cricket for a USA player with 95 in 59 balls to propel USA to a 100-run win over Cayman Islands on Monday at the 2013 ICC Americas Division One Twenty20 tournament at the Central Broward Regional Park in Lauderhill, Florida. USA made a clean sweep for the day in the afternoon with a 79-run win over Suriname.
“It felt good because it was a long time playing local cricket and I wanted to play some competitive cricket so it felt good,” Taylor said. “[The wicket] played good. Nothing was keeping low. There was no odd bounce or nothing like that.”
In the morning match against Cayman Islands, USA won the toss and elected to bat first. After an initial setback with the dismissal of Timothy Surujbally for 6, Nicholas Standford joined Taylor at the wicket and the pair blasted the Cayman Islands batting unit to produce a 91-run stand for the second wicket. Taylor brought up his 50 off just 37 balls and celebrated by crunching the next delivery for his first six of the match.
Standford went on to score 34 in 30 balls before he was caught at midwicket off the bowling of Kevin Bazil to make it 119 for 2 in 14 overs. USA captain Orlando Baker came to the crease and gave excellent support to Taylor as the teenager pursued triple digits. A single in the 15th over gave Taylor the new record for a T20 score by a USA player as he passed Aditya Thyagarajan’s 72 not out against Ireland in 2010.
Taylor entered the 90s in the 18th over after clubbing his third six straight down the ground followed by a pair of twos to advance to 93. A two on the third ball of the 19th took him within one shot of reaching a century. On the next ball, he skipped down the track to try to hit a six but his attempt at glory fell short when he mistimed a drive in the air to Ronald Ebanks at long on to give Kervin Ebanks his second wicket while also denying Taylor a century that was well within his grasp.
Image (right) - Steven Taylor attemps to reach his century with this shot but only found the fielder at long on. [Courtesy: Peter Della Penna/DreamCricket.com]
Baker was run out on the final ball of the innings for 36 and USA ended on 185 for 4, their second highest total in Twenty20 cricket. The USA record is 193 for 5 against Bermuda in Sharjah last year at the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier. Kervin Ebanks was the only opposition bowler to come away with his reputation intact, taking 2 for 25 in four overs.
“Playing at the stadium, the total always you want to get is over 130,” Taylor said. “Once you get over 130, it’s going to be a hard chase.”
USA put pressure on Cayman Islands early with four wickets in the first eight overs. Elmore Hutchinson had Zachary McLaughlin caught behind for 10 in the third over before Japen Patel claimed two in two overs, Ramon Sealy and Omar Willis each for 6, to make it 24 for 3. Left-arm spinner Danial Ahmed struck with his third ball, bowling Abali Hoilett for 6 and from then on Cayman Islands set about batting out their overs, showing no interest in chasing the target.
Karan Ganesh and Steven Taylor combined to run out Ronald Ebanks off the bowling of Ahmed, who bowled a stifling spell of 1 for 6 in four overs. Cayman Islands put on a 30-run unbeaten stand over the final 6.2 overs to finish on 85 for 5. Patel had the best figures for USA with 2 for 7 in two overs. Conroy Wright finished 36 not out to top score for Cayman Islands.
In the afternoon game in the stadium, USA again won the toss and decided to bat first vs. Suriname. The host side made one change, subbing out Naseer Jamali so that Akeem Dodson could enter the starting eleven and keep wicket in place of Taylor.
Taylor and Surujbally opened the batting again and engineered USA’s third half-century stand of the match, 67 for the first wicket before Taylor was caught on the long on boundary for 28 off the bowling of Sauid Drepaul. Surujbally carried on to make 44 before he was dismissed after a juggling catch by Romell Douglass at long on to make it 88 for 2. Arun Gokoel took his second wicket when he dismissed Karan Ganesh for 27 to make it 152 for 3 in the 19th over. Ryan Corns was then run out on the next delivery trying to come back for a second run on the first ball he faced.
However, Dodson was on his way to 50 at that point. With Baker there for support, Dodson brought up his first half-century for USA at the senior level on the penultimate ball of the innings and then wrapped up USA’s 20 overs by cracking his fourth boundary straight down the ground. USA finished on 171 for 4 with Dodson 54 not out. Gokoel finished with 2 for 38 for Suriname.
Image (above) - Cayman Islands batsman Ronald Ebanks can't make his ground in time to beat the throw from Karan Ganesh to Steven Taylor. [Courtesy: Peter Della Penna/DreamCricket.com]
Once again, the USA bowling unit was too good for their opponents as Suriname stumbled their way to 26 for 5 inside the power play overs. Ahmed bowled with the new ball and was on a hat trick after dismissing both openers, Vishram Shaw and Shazaam Ramjohn, in the second over. Troy Dudnath was caught behind by Dodson off Hutchinson for 5 in the third before Suriname lost two in two balls again in the sixth over.
Suriname captain Mohindra Boodram was run out for 1 after a mixup with Andre Percival. On the next delivery, Percival slogged Corns to Taylor at long on for 10. It could have been even worse for Suriname had Barrington Bartley held on to a simple return chance off Drepaul in the eighth over when the batsman was on 3 and the score 32 for 5. Suriname took advantage of the lapse to put on 50 for the sixth wicket before Drepaul was bowled by Surujbally’s offspin for a top score in the innings of 31.
The last Suriname wicket to fall was in the final over when a batsman was run out off Ahmed’s bowling for the second time in the day. This time it was Gokoel who couldn’t take off fast enough from the non-striker’s end after Douglass nudged a delivery toward point. Standford charged in and underhanded to Dodson who whipped off the bails to get rid of Gokoel for 17 as Suriname fell to 88 for 7. They eventually finished on 92 for 7. Ahmed wrapped up a superb day with the ball by claiming 2 for 12 in four overs.
In the day’s other matches at Brian Piccolo Park, Bahamas suffered two defeats at the hands of Bermuda and the Cayman Islands. Bermuda posted 192 for 4 in the morning match before dismissing Bahamas for 65. In the second game, Bahamas were bowled out for 97 before Cayman Islands reached 45 for 2 when rain intervened after eight overs. The match was called with Cayman Islands ahead on Duckworth-Lewis.
USA returns to action at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, March 18 against Bahamas. DreamCricket.com’s live coverage made possible by New Inning Foundation will begin at 2:30 p.m. EST from the Central Broward Regional Park.