Teenage wicketkeeper-batsman Steven Taylor’s sterling knock of 162 in 102 balls opening the innings set the tone for the rest of the match as USA’s total of 366 for 6 was more than enough to defend on the way to a 92-run win over Nepal at Somerset Cricket Club on Sunday at the 2013 ICC WCL Division Three tournament in Bermuda. Taylor was named Man of the Match and made Nepal pay dearly for sending USA in to bat after winning the toss on a pristine batting surface.
“When Steve [Massiah] came back and told us we were batting first I assumed we had won the toss,” USA vice-captain Sushil Nadkarni said after the game. “But he told us that Nepal had put us in and I was a little surprised to hear that. We were looking to bat first anyways. The only reason I can think of is maybe the ground as we know is a little small and you never know what total might be enough here.”
“Because the size of the ground, it’s a 50 yard ground, you just didn’t know what total was good enough on this ground,” Nepal captain Paras Khadka said. “So looking at the size of the ground, that made us field first because 50 yard boundaries you really didn’t know what would be a good score so that’s the reason why we fielded first.”
Before play began, the USA squad met with the US Consul General to Bermuda, Robert Settje, and his wife who were attending their very first cricket match. The two teams then held a minute of silence before taking the field at the request of the USA national team for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing on April 15. USA also wore black pins on their shirt sleeves in remembrance of the victims.
Orlando Baker opened the batting with Taylor and the pair established a new record stand for any wicket for USA against Nepal with a 125-run partnership across 17.2 overs. The previous best was an 89-run fourth wicket stand between Sushil Nadkarni and Steve Massiah last September at ICC WCL Division Four in Malaysia. Baker did an excellent job of blunting the new ball, hitting only three scoring shots in the first 24 deliveries he faced as he and Taylor coasted to 28 after seven overs. It was in the eighth over that USA exploded for 18 runs and from then on rarely took their foot off the gas pedal. Taylor started off the frame against Sanjam Regmi with a six over extra cover followed by a three that included a pair of overthrows. Baker then struck back-to-back fours as USA’s bench came alive sensing they were gaining momentum.
Image (above) - Steven Taylor completes a square drive during his knock of 162 against Nepal at Somerset CC in Bermuda. [Courtesy: Peter Della Penna/DreamCricket.com]
Taylor brought up his 50 in just 32 balls with his fourth six, struck straight down the ground off Sanjam Regmi, who went for 53 in his first five overs. The pair brought up USA’s 100 in the 16th over when Taylor cut Basant Regmi through point and then immediately followed the milestone with a six over cover. Baker got out eight balls after the first drinks break when he tried to flick Basant across the line and was bowled for 37.
Massiah joined Taylor and the USA captain was at the crease when Taylor brought up triple figures in the 23rd over off just 61 balls with his seventh four through the covers to go along with eight sixes at that stage. The pair added 31 for the second wicket before Massiah was run out for 11. The USA captain cut a ball to Amrit Bhattarai at point off Basant Regmi that was misfielded and Taylor attempted a run. Bhattarai recovered and threw to Basant, who initially dislodged the bails at the non-striker’s end without the ball in his hand. With both batsmen at the striker’s end, Massiah chose to sacrifice himself ahead of Basant pulling a stump out of the ground with the ball pressed against it to complete the run out.
Nadkarni and Taylor got things moving quickly again and after 30 overs, the score was 211 for 2 as USA sensed a chance to potentially break their all-time best score in limited overs cricket set against East & Central Africa at the 1990 ICC Trophy with a score of 404 for 9. Nadkarni’s USA record of 197 was also in danger of going down as Taylor brought up his 150 with his 10th boundary to end the 32nd. He was finally dismissed two balls into the 35th over by Sanjam Regmi, caught at point by Basant to make it 234 for 3.
Image (right) - Steven Taylor raises his bat after reached his century off 61 balls. [Courtesy: Peter Della Penna/DreamCricket.com]
USA went through an extended sputter for the next six overs as three more wickets fell to give Nepal some hope that they might restrict USA to under 300. Rashard Marshall fell for 5, caught behind off Basant to make it 243 for 4. Barrington Bartley was bowled slogging across the line for 13 to make it 270 for 5 in the 40th. Nadkarni fell three balls later at the start of the 41st, given LBW for 28 to a ball that kept low from Bhattarai to make it 273 for 6.
Nepal couldn’t sustain the pressure though as Timroy Allen and Neil McGarrell produced a 93-run unbroken seventh wicket stand to erase all doubts about whether or not Nepal would have a chance in the second innings. Allen was particularly brutal to the Nepal attack, finishing with 67 not out off 34 balls. The pair scored 19 in the 45th over and then Allen capped off the innings by taking 21 off Bhattarai in the 50th including pairs of fours and sixes.
Basant Regmi was the only bowler to come away from the innings with his reputation still intact, taking 2 for 46 in 10. Shakti Gauchan took the brunt of USA’s batting assault as the usually economical left-arm spinner went for nine per over, finishing with 1 for 81 in nine.
“We still thought that anything like 300 to 320 or 330 was chaseable,” Khadka said. “Maybe we gave 40-50 runs extra. We believed that if it was 320-330, we believed that we would have chased that down. Unfortunately, even in the end we didn’t bowl well in the last five overs so that took the game away and Taylor played exceptionally well. When a guy gets 162 in a 50-over game you can’t do many things.”
In the field, it was Elmore Hutchinson who took the new ball and put pressure immediately onto Nepal’s batsmen, beginning with a wicket maiden in the second over that claimed Anil Mandal for a duck. In the eighth over, he bounced out Khakurel for 23 as a top edged hook came down into Taylor’s hands to make it 29 for 2.
Nepal’s best chance at coming close to chasing down the target was a lengthy partnership between Gyanendra Malla and Khadka. However, Malla was run out for 9 to start the 13th over when Khadka failed to respond to a call for a run to short fine leg. Hutchinson fielded and threw to Baker over the non-striker’s stumps before Malla could get back as Nepal slipped to 56 for 3.
Khadka did his best to make amends by top scoring with 73 off 64 balls but the first innings hole was too big to dig his side out of. Binod Bhandari was the next man out for 4, bowled by McGarrell trying to play a Dilscoop. Pradeep Airee was dropped two balls later on zero by Taylor behind the stumps, but McGarrell was still able to claim him for 14, trapped LBW to make it 106 for 5 in the 24th.
Bartley’s five-over spell was an expensive one, claiming 47 runs, but he notched the prize wicket of Khadka, caught behind trying to cut a ball that had a little extra bounce to make it 175 for 6 in the 32nd. Muhammad Ghous was finally rewarded with his first wicket in the 37th. Ghous dismissed Basant Regmi, caught at midwicket by Massiah for 7, before he removed Vesawkar for 72 to make it 228 for 8.
A small consolation for Nepal was a 44-run ninth wicket stand between Gauchan and Sanjam Regmi which may become important later in the week should Nepal finish tied with any other team for one of the top two spots as net run rate will be the tiebreaker. The stand was finally broken when Sanjam was runout four balls into the final over for 14. Gauchan fell one ball later for 39 thanks to a diving catch by Baker off McGarrell as Nepal was bowled out for 272.
Ghous bowled a superb spell, conceding 19 runs in his final eight overs to finish with 2 for 36 in 10. Hutchinson eventually finished with 2 for 25 after his first five-over spell went for just 10 runs while McGarrell had USA’s best haul on the day with 3 for 42 in 9.5 overs.
In the day’s other matches, Oman bowled out Italy for 110 in 38.2 overs before chasing the total with 20.5 overs to spare for the loss of three wickets at St. David’s CC. Left-arm orthodox spinner Aamir Kaleem was named Man of the Match after taking 4 for 15 in his eight-over spell to wipe out Italy’s middle order. Uganda beat the host side Bermuda by 114 runs at the National Stadium in Hamilton. Opener Arthur Kyobe was named Man of the Match for Uganda after top scoring with 53 in Uganda’s total of 222 for 7. Teenage left-arm spinner Henry Ssenyondo claimed 4 for 24 to lead the Uganda bowling unit as Bermuda collapsed from 72 for 3 in 26 overs to be all out for 108 in 43.3 overs.
On Monday, USA plays Italy at the National Stadium in Hamilton. Game time is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. local time, 9:30 a.m. on the east coast in the USA. DreamCricket.com will have live updates sponsored by New Inning Foundation beginning at 10 a.m. local time.