USA opener Sushil Nadkarni blitzed the Bermuda bowling attack, striking 12 boundaries and two sixes on his way to a century for USA to lead his side to an 8-wicket win in the second 50-over trial match of a three-match series on Thursday at Central Broward Regional Park in Lauderhill, Florida. Nadkarni scored his first 50 in 38 balls before cruising to three figures and retiring out as USA chased down Bermuda’s 185 with 12.5 overs to spare.
“It felt really good. I was looking forward to this tournament because we don’t have many opportunities before Bermuda and getting some international game time was something I was looking forward to,” Nadkarni said after the win. “I was working hard so that I could come here and put up a good show. Just coming into the game today when we were fielding, I kind of sensed that the new ball plays really well on this wicket and the old ball is a little more difficult to score off so I was trying to be a little positive initially in my innings and it worked out well because I think I got 50 in no time.”
Bermuda won the toss and elected to bat first as USA made three changes to their lineup from the first 50-over match on Tuesday. Former Queensland U-19 player Josh Dascombe dressed for his first game in a USA uniform while Nadkarni and Elmore Hutchinson entered in place of Hemant Punoo, Naseer Jamali and Timothy Surujbally.
The visitors got off to an excellent start, adding 52 runs in 11 overs before Dion Stovell was pinned on the crease by Muhammad Ghous on the first ball of the 12th and given out LBW for 31. Tre Manders lasted just four balls, caught at cover by Usman Shuja later in the over for a duck to make it 52 for 2.
Jason Anderson and David Hemp constructed Bermuda’s biggest partnership of the match for the third wicket, 71 runs across 17.5 overs. Bermuda was 117 for 2 after 29 and it appeared they would finish with somewhere between 230 and 260 runs on a good batting pitch. But the wicket of Hemp in the 30th, bowled by Ghous for 40, sparked another dramatic slide for Bermuda as they lost their last eight wickets for 62 runs.
Janeiro Tucker was the next to fall, trapped in front by Dascombe’s left-arm spin for 5 to make it 134 for 4 in the 33rd. Dascombe struck again to remove Anderson for 66 as part of a wicket maiden over in the 37th. Bermuda’s sixth wicket fell with one ball to go in the batting power play as Neil McGarrell induced a top edged slog sweep from Rodney Trott that was claimed by Timroy Allen running in from deep midwicket for 3 to make it 153 for 6. Bermuda only managed to score 11 runs for the loss of two wickets during their five-over batting power play from the 36th through the 40th over.
Malachi Jones fell for 13, caught off a full toss by Nadkarni at cover off Hutchinson to make it 177 for 7. Samuel Robinson fell for 4 in similar fashion off the bowling of Shuja in the following over to make it 184 for 8. Lionel Cann was the ninth man out for 13, bowled by a Hutchinson yorker on the first ball of the 46th. Bermuda managed to lose their last three wickets in the space of six balls when Hutchinson had Dennico Hollis caught pulling a full toss to Shuja at fine leg as Bermuda failed to bat out the final 27 balls in their innings, all out for 185 in 45.3. Hutchinson rode his good fortune to take 3 for 30 in 7.3 overs but once again it was Ghous who shined most with the ball for USA, taking 3 for 28 in 10.
Nadkarni and Akeem Dodson opened the chase for USA and after a relatively modest start, 32 for 0 in seven overs with a maiden bowled by each opening paceman – Jones and Greg Maybury – Nadkarni produced an extraordinary outburst of boundary hitting through to the end of the opening 10-over power play. It wouldn’t have happened had Trott converted a run out chance with Nadkarni on 28 on the first ball of the eighth. Beginning with the last ball of the seventh, Nadkarni struck seven fours and a six off his next 16 deliveries, bringing up his half-century in the process as USA ended the 10th over at 71 for 0.
Image (right) - Bermuda offspinner Samuel Robinson scratches his head in search of answers for how to get Sushil Nadkarni out. The USA opener raised his bat after reaching 100 and spared Bermuda's bowlers by retiring upon reaching the milestone. [Courtesy: Peter Della Penna/DreamCricket.com]
“Over the last three months I’ve been here a lot to play in the stadium. There were some domestic T20 tournaments and I got an opportunity to bat here, scored some runs. The wicket’s become really nice actually,” Nadkarni said when asked about the improvement in the quality of the pitches at the stadium over the last year. “I think it’s much more harder and the bounce is much more even so it does allow you to play some shots through the line. Also if the ball is short, you can pull it off to the boundary. I think it’s become a little better for shot making. When the ball becomes old though, it does stop on you so later on in the innings it becomes a little more difficult to score runs.”
At the first drinks break after 17 overs, USA was 110 for 0 with Nadkarni on 83 and Dodson on 20. USA’s wicketkeeper finally fell in the 20th over, bowled by Trott for 27 to make it 120 for 0. Steve Massiah joined Nadkarni and the pair added another 46 runs. The partnership ended when Nadkarni brought up his 100 in 105 balls with a single to the leg side on the last ball of the 33rd over and immediately retired out.
Aditya Thyagarajan joined Massiah and the pair knocked off the last 20 runs required in 4.1 overs. Massiah finished 44 not out and Thyagarajan 6 not out. Trott was the only bowler with respectable figures, finishing with 1 for 21 in 8.1 overs.
USA and Bermuda play the final game of their three-match 50-over series on Friday at the Central Broward Regional Park. DreamCricket.com will have live coverage sponsored by New Inning Foundation beginning at 9:30 a.m. EST with play scheduled to get underway at 10 a.m. EST.