USA captain Steve Massiah and vice-captain Sushil Nadkarni grinded out a vital 78-run third wicket partnership that laid the platform for a late burst from Timroy Allen to give USA enough runs to defend as they defeated Italy by 74 runs on Monday at the National Stadium in Hamilton, Bermuda, at 2013 ICC WCL Division Three. Allen was named Man of the Match after notching 51 not out in 26 balls.
USA won the toss and elected to bat under a bright sun but as the players took the field, a large amount of cloud cover came over the ground producing ideal bowling conditions for Italy. Opening seamers Gayashan Munasinghe and Vince Pennazza removed USA’s openers within the first five overs as Orlando Baker was trapped LBW for 2 while Taylor was caught at mid off for 6 to make it 10 for 2.
Nadkarni then joined Massiah at the crease and the experience of the pair shone through in a determined stand. Massiah was on 10 off 24 balls at one point and Nadkarni 7 off 39 as they sought to leave and defend as many deliveries as possible under trying conditions. By the time Munasinghe and Pennazza had finished each of their opening 6-over spells, USA was at 31 for 2 after 12.
“It was tough,” Nadkarni said. “When I went in there I immediately realized for the fast bowlers it was doing something on the wicket and the conditions were not that great for some stroke-making immediately. So Steve and I decided to consolidate and build a partnership and Steve got going pretty quick after that and raced to his 50 so I think that was kind of the building blocks for us in this innings.”
Massiah broke free initially with three boundaries in the space of six deliveries to get USA some momentum. The first was courtesy of a misfield at point before Massiah elected to go the aerial route over mid off. The third boundary in the sequence was a wristy flick through mid on as USA began fighting back from the early trouble. The 50 partnership was brought up on the last ball of the 18th when Massiah drove medium pacer Dilan Fernando through the covers for Massiah’s sixth boundary and the third of three boundaries in the over for USA.
After surviving a missed run out chance on 41, Massiah brought up his 50 in 69 balls with a lofted drive straight down the ground off the left-arm spin of Damian Crowley in the 25th over. However, Massiah was unfortunately out three balls later for 51 when he played onto his stumps attempting to cut Crowley.
Image (right) - Sushil Nadkarni sets off for a run after punching one to the off side. Nadkarni top scored for USA with 73 vs. Italy. [Courtesy: Peter Della Penna/DreamCricket.com]
Rashard Marshall arrived at the crease and with Nadkarni produced USA’s largest partnership of the match, 90 for the fourth wicket across 17.1 overs. Nadkarni brought up his 50 in 100 balls with a slog sweep over midwicket in the 37th over bowled by Carl Sandri and two overs later survived a point blank run out chance from five yards out when Munasinghe missed underhanding for the striker’s end stumps in his follow through. He was finally dismissed for 73 by Dilan Fernando after top edging a hook to third man to end the 42nd over with USA 178 for 4.
Allen arrived at the crease and wasted no time giving USA a late innings burst, getting off the mark on his second ball with a six over long on followed on the next delivery by a boundary swept over square leg off of Sandri. Marshall was out in the 45th to Munasinghe for 39, caught at extra cover mistiming a slower ball to make it 200 for 5. At the start of the 46th, Allen was put down on 15 after a straightforward chance at midwicket was grassed by Pennazza off Dilan Fernando.
Italy claimed Barrington Bartley for 1 just four balls later, but they would regret the missed chance off Allen as he punished them for another 36 runs in the final four overs. Munasinghe in particular felt the brunt of Allen with two sixes smashed off him in the 47th. Neil McGarrell was out on the first ball of the 48th to Dilan Fernando for 2, but Munasinghe’s figures took another beating in the 49th when Allen and Japen Patel each hit sixes off him in the frame.
Allen hit his fifth six off Dilan Fernando to begin the 50th over and a string of twos brought up his half-century with one ball remaining in the innings. Patel was run out on the final ball for 14 trying to stretch for another two for Allen and USA finished on 254 for 8, which turned out to be more than enough to defend. Dilan Fernando finished with 3 for 54 for Italy while Munasinghe finished with 2 for 52 despite bowling a testing six-over spell at the start in which he took 1 for 16.
Image (left) - Timroy Allen raises his bat after crossing 50 in the final over vs. Italy. [Courtesy: Peter Della Penna/DreamCricket.com]
For the second day in a row, Elmore Hutchinson made the early breakthroughs for USA with the new ball. The first to go for Italy was Damian Fernando, beaten for pace trying to pull the fast bowler and caught thanks to an outstanding diving catch from Muhammad Ghous running in from mid on for 11. Italy captain Alessandro Bonora came in next but didn’t last very long, caught behind by Taylor off Hutchinson for 6 to make it 38 for 2 after 8.
Peter Petricola joined opener Andy Northcote as Italy regained momentum with their two best batsmen at the crease. USA’s bowlers engineered multiple chances to dismiss them including a pair in the 18th off McGarrell when each batsmen was put down as Italy frustrated USA heading into the drinks break at 82 for 2. It took the intervention of Ghous to bring an end to their 57-run partnership when Petricola bottom edged a cut onto his stumps for 25 to make it 95 for 3 in the 23rd. Ghous struck again in his next over, darting in a fuller and flatter delivery to beat Northcote’s attempted paddle sweep and the opener walked off for 41 to make it 98 for 4.
“I think basically Ghous’ spell was the turning point for us in the game because he got the two key wickets,” Nadkarni said. “Ghous getting rid of both of them, it really opened the flood gates for us to come back into the game and win this game.”
Crowley and Sandri fought hard to keep Italy in the match with a 54-run stand, but as the run rate started to climb, Italy’s last recognized pair of batsmen started taking more risks which eventually led to their downfall. McGarrell returned for a second spell in the 38th and struck with his third ball, getting Crowley stumped for 37 after a premeditated charge down the track. Hutchinson removed Hayden Patrizi for 3, trapped in front by a perfectly placed yorker.
Dinidu Marage was the second batsman stumped for McGarrell for a third-ball duck in the 42nd over to make it 172 for 7 as Sandri rapidly began to run out of partners. Pennazza was run out five balls later without scoring when Marshall made an athletic diving stop at cover before throwing to Taylor over the stumps to finish the dismissal. Sandri was McGarrell’s third stumping victim for 41 at the start of the 46th over and the match wrapped up two balls later when Dilan Fernando drove McGarrell to Hutchinson at midwicket as Italy was bowled out for 180. McGarrell finished with USA’s best figures on the day taking 4 for 44 while Hutchinson claimed 3 for 44. Ghous’ pressure building spell resulted in 2 for 24.
In Monday’s other matches, Bermuda bounced back from a first-day defeat to beat Oman by 34 runs at St. David’s CC. Bermuda slumped to 117 for 7 but some very valuable lower order partnerships took them to 194 before they were bowled out in 44.1 overs. Treadwell Gibbons propped up Bermuda with 33 at number eight before being last man out. Oman experienced a similar slide falling to 106 for 8 before Hemal Mehta and Amir Ali added 42 for the ninth wicket to keep Omani hopes alive. Bermuda eventually dismissed them for 160 in 41.5 overs with Malachi Jones taking 3 for 29. Number eight Amir Ali finished unbeaten on 58 after taking 3 for 34 in the first innings.
Nepal’s shocking start to the tournament continued with a six-wicket defeat at the hands of Uganda, who sit at the top of the standings with USA at 2-0. On the same Somerset CC ground where they played USA, Nepal won the toss and batted first but wound up being bowled out for 116 in 44.2 overs. Roger Mukasa led Uganda’s swift chase with 49 not out as they reached the target in 27 overs.
After a day off on Tuesday, USA returns to action on Wednesday against Oman at Somerset CC. DreamCricket.com’s live coverage, sponsored by New Inning Foundation, begins at 10 a.m. local time, 9 a.m. on the east coast in the USA.