Rashard Marshall’s bat paid immediate dividends in his return to the USA national team after a 26-month absence to lead USA to a 54-run win over Bermuda at Brian Piccolo Park in Cooper City, Florida in the first 50-over warm-up match of a three-match series between the two sides. Marshall scored 54 off 75 balls in USA’s total of 227 before Bermuda was restricted to 173 for 8. USA’s spinners worked hard to defend a below par first innings total as Muhammad Ghous took 3 for 34 in nine overs of offspin while Neil McGarrell produced a miserly spell of 2 for 18 in 10 overs.
“The wicket was pretty slow, but we have a lot of spinners and we know they struggle against spin,” McGarrell said.
USA won the toss and elected to bat first on an unusually chilly and windy morning with eight players – Marshall, Ghous, McGarrell, captain Steve Massiah, Aditya Thyagarajan, Timroy Allen, Hemant Punoo and Usman Shuja – making their first appearance for USA on the tour to Florida after flying in at the conclusion of the 2013 ICC Americas Division One Twenty20 tournament.
Two holdovers from USA’s ICC Americas tournament champion squad – Akeem Dodson and Timothy Surujbally – opened the batting and put on 83 runs for the first wicket in 14.2 overs. Dodson was eventually run out for 33 trying to steal a leg bye ahead of a throw from Malachi Jones at point. Massiah entered at three but lasted just three deliveries before he was given out on a questionable LBW decision for 2 to 15-year-old left-arm spinner Delray Rawlins. USA’s top order collapse continued three overs later when Surujbally was given out LBW off an inside edge for 43 to offspinner Samuel Robinson to make it 96 for 3 in the 19th.
Marshall joined Thyagarajan and the pair stemmed Bermuda’s momentum by producing a 71-run partnership for the fourth wicket. The stand ended when Thyagarajan skipped down the track to Rodney Trott’s offspin and was beaten in flight to be stumped for 33 on the last ball of the 37th. USA managed to add 33 for 1 in the five-over batting power play from the 36th to the 40th overs but a short time later Marshall fell leg before to give Rawlins his second wicket as USA slipped to 197 for 5 in the 43rd.
Allen tried to prop up the tail but Bermuda ran through the rest of USA’s lineup with relative ease. McGarrell entered at seven and was out for 3 driving medium pacer Greg Maybury to cover. Punoo ran himself out without scoring two balls later to make it 208 for 7 in the 46th. Allen added 16 with Shuja before Allen was well caught at long off by Rawlins off Maybury for 29.
Ghous lasted just two balls before he was bowled for 1 by Maybury to end the 48th at 226 for 9. Jamali was out LBW for a duck to end the innings three balls into the 49th with Shuja not out on 6. Maybury finished with 3 for 37 after wrecking the tail but Bermuda’s spinners were the ones mainly responsible for holding down the fort after the brisk first-wicket partnership between Dodson and Surujbally.
Bermuda cruised along early in their chase to reach 76 for 1 at the first drinks break taken after 17 overs. Jason Anderson was trapped LBW for 16 by Punoo’s offspin in the 9th, but for the most part Bermuda wasn’t having any issues rotating the strike on an easy-paced wicket. It took the intervention of a brilliant runout by Dodson two balls after play resumed to turn the tide in USA’s favor. Bermuda captain Stephen Outerbridge was on strike and tried to nudge a ball toward point for a quick run. Dodson scampered out from behind the stumps as the batsmen hesitated. Outerbridge came back while Manders strayed outside his crease at the non-striker’s end for a moment too long. Dodson fielded and unleashed a throw into the base of the non-striker’s stumps to leave Manders stunned for 12.
Outerbridge brought up his 50 in 59 balls to begin the 19th, but one delivery later David Hemp was dismissed making it 79 for 3, caught behind for a duck trying to cut Ghous. Outerbridge had a few brushes with danger shortly thereafter, first on 59 when Ghous spilled a straightforward chance at long leg off Allen and then again on 68 two balls into the 33rd when Jamali couldn’t come up with a chance at long on after McGarrell induced a mistimed drive.
Image (right) - Offspinner Muhammad Ghous took 3 for 34 vs. Bermuda at Brian Piccolo Park. [Courtesy: Peter Della Penna/DreamCricket.com]
Fortune favored USA at the end of McGarrell’s third over though when Tucker was bowled by McGarrell for 26 after missing a sweep to make it 127 for 4. Outerbridge began the 35th over trying to steal a quick single off McGarrell and pulled his right hamstring in the process, causing him to retire hurt on 71. The experienced McGarrell caught Dion Stovell sleeping with a quicker ball on the first delivery after play resumed following Outerbridge’s injury to make it 129 for 5. Bermuda now needed 99 in 15.4 overs to win, but with Outerbridge unable to return Bermuda’s tail didn’t have the firepower to take them close to the target.
Ghous got his second wicket when Jones was taken by McGarrell at midwicket for 2 in the 36th. Jekon Edness was bowled by Ghous in the 40th to make it 143 for 7 and Bermuda finished their five-over batting power play having scored just 13 runs. Massiah brought himself on for four overs of offspin and dismissed Rawlins in his last frame for 13 to make it 164 for 8 in the 48th. Trott hit a pair of boundaries off Marshall in the final over to take Bermuda to their eventual total of 173 for 8.
The two teams get back in action on Thursday when they square off at Central Broward Regional Park in Lauderhill for the second game in their three-match 50-over series. DreamCricket.com will have live coverage sponsored by New Inning Foundation beginning at 9:30 a.m. EST with the match beginning at 10 a.m.