Uganda captain Davis Arinaitwe’s aggressive use of a four-pronged spin bowling unit was too much for USA to handle on a turning track as the African side bowled out USA for 93 to seal an 82-run win at St. David’s Cricket Club in Bermuda on Thursday at 2013 ICC WCL Division Three. Uganda wicketkeeper Laurence Sematimba was named Man of the Match after his joint top score of 44 as part of a 79-run partnership with Benjamin Musoke was the deciding factor in a low scoring game. Uganda’s win moved them to 4-0 and clinched a spot for them at the 2014 ICC World Cup Qualifier in New Zealand while the loss dropped USA into second place in the tournament at 3-1.
“Today, we came into this game as a team wanting to put in a lot of intensity and bubble in the field,” USA vice-captain Sushil Nadkarni said after the loss. “I think basically if you look at the entire game, the wicket and the toss had a lot to do with the final outcome because when we started playing our innings, the ball was breaking really hard and there was a lot of uneven bounce which, when they started, it wasn’t as much. Not to give any excuses, but full credit to Uganda. They played a great game.”
Uganda won the toss and elected to bat first as USA fielded the same starting eleven for the fourth match in a row. The first wicket fell four balls into the match when Timroy Allen’s pace was too quick for Arthur Zirabe and the Uganda opener was dismissed without scoring. Number three Roger Mukasa also fell for a duck in the fourth over to Elmore Hutchinson, caught behind by Steven Taylor to make it 12 for 2. Opener Arthur Kyobe was scoring at a brisk pace, but the most aggressive innings of the day ended on 29 when he tried to slog Neil McGarrell over long on but was caught on the boundary by Hutchinson to make it 47 for 3 after 12.
Sematimba joined Musoke at the crease as both sides began to wager an attritional battle for the rest of the innings. USA tried to apply pressure by drying up runs on a pitch where the ball wasn’t coming onto the bat, but Sematimba and Musoke were patient enough to wait for the singles to come without panicking at the slow scoring rate and then seized on the few boundary scoring opportunities presented to them. USA strung together three consecutive maidens to make it 56 for 3 after 19 as Massiah put two slips and a silly point in place. Sematimba was struggling early on and was on 2 off 22 balls but found a way to ease some of the pressure by sweeping McGarrell for three boundaries behind square leg in the 22nd to take the score to 71.
Image (above) - Uganda wicketkeeper Laurence Sematimba goes to sweep Neil McGarrell for one of three boundaries in the 22nd over. [Courtesy: Peter Della Penna/DreamCricket.com]
The run rate hovered around three per over through the rest of the innings, but the stand between Sematimba and Musoke lasted until the 40th over, giving Uganda a strong platform for a late surge. Musoke was eventually dismissed for 44, caught by Hutchinson at long on off Barrington Bartley, who was USA’s most effective bowler on the day and eventually finished with 1 for 25 in 10.
Deusdedit Muhumuza was runout for 2 by a direct hit from Allen to make it 129 for 5 in the 42nd and four balls later Sematimba was trapped LBW by Muhammad Ghous to make it 131 for 6. The second of four runouts in the innings took place in the 44th when Arinaitwe got into a mixup with Frank Nsubuga and was left stranded halfway down the pitch as Massiah tossed to Taylor to take off the bails making it 137 for 7 and it looked like USA might restrict Uganda to under 150.
Nsubuga and Richard Okia played key hands down the order though to provide Uganda with enough insurance runs. Nsubuga struck a four and a six in his run a ball 16 before he was brilliantly caught by Nadkarni running back from point to give Allen his second, making it 155 for 8 one ball into the 47th. Charles Waiswa was runout by Japen Patel for 2 to make it 162 for 9 with nine balls remaining in the innings and Henry Senyondo was runout for 7 trying to stretch a two into three as Uganda finished on 175 in 49.5 overs.
USA promoted Patel up the order to open with Taylor and it produced mixed results. Patel wound up with USA’s second highest score in the innings, but Taylor was dismissed without scoring for the second match in a row. Left-arm seamer Waiswa bowled a length ball that Taylor tried to swat over midwicket but a skied edge swirled in the air before coming down into the gloves of Sematimba behind the stumps to make it 4 for 1 in the third over. Patel’s aggression produced quick runs but also led to his downfall in the ninth. After clubbing a six off the second ball over long on and a boundary off the fifth ball bowled by Arinaitwe, Patel went for another big heave and was bowled to make it 22 for 2.
Image (right) - Uganda captain Davis Arinaitwe made things tough for USA in the field and finished with 2 for 15 in eight overs. [Courtesy: Peter Della Penna/DreamCricket.com]
Arinaitwe conceded 10 in his first over, but stifled USA thereafter to finish with 2 for 15 in 8 overs. Nadkarni was locked down at one end while Massiah tried to keep the scoreboard moving at the other, driving a pair of sixes straight down the ground. However, USA struggled to find singles and rotate the strike. Uganda scored 92 runs off of singles and doubles in their innings while USA managed just 36 runs off ones and twos.
Nadkarni’s dogged resistance finally ended when he came forward to defend and edged Arinaitwe to Musoke at slip for 6 to make it 39 for 3 in the 17th. Orlando Baker tried to clear deep square leg with a slog sweep but picked out the man on the rope for 1 as Mukasa claimed his first wicket to make it 50 for 4 one ball into the 20th over and it was clear that USA was going to struggle the rest of the way.
USA’s last hope of victory was an extended stay at the crease by Massiah. However, he was defeated by a sharp spinning delivery from Mukasa that stayed a touch low and pinned him LBW for 24 to spark a middle order collapse as USA lost four wickets for three runs. Bartley spooned a return catch to left-arm spinner Senyondo for 1 before Allen repeated Baker’s mistake and was caught for 1 trying to slog Mukasa over deep square leg. Marshall made 7 before a leading edge gifted Senyondo his second caught and bowled dismissal to finish the slide as USA went for 65 for 4 to 68 for 8.
“I think if you look at the way this goes, you can’t get too much into a shell,” Nadkarni said. “The bowlers have the upper hand and Uganda bowlers were pretty experienced. They were turning the ball pretty well and the speed with which they were bowling was pretty good. They weren’t giving us much. So the guys did their bid in trying to break free and score a few runs instead of getting bogged down just defending the ball all the time. I think at the end of the day it is what it is and we need to look forward as a team.”
Image (above) - Uganda allrounder Roger Mukasa raises his arms in joy after a successful LBW appeal to dismiss USA captain Steve Massiah for 24. Mukasa finished with 3 for 29 on the day. [Courtesy: Peter Della Penna/DreamCricket.com]
Hutchinson and McGarrell engineered USA’s longest partnership of the match, lasting 10.5 overs to add 25 runs for the ninth wicket as USA’s priorities shifted from winning the match to batting for as long as possible in order to avoid taking a severe hit to their net run rate, which is the tournament’s tiebreaker. McGarrell finally lost patience at the end of the 39th when he lofted Waiswa to Mukasa at long on to depart for 7. Ghous started the next over on strike and was struck on the back leg on the first ball he faced from Nsubuga to be given out for a golden duck and put an end to the match. Mukasa finished with Uganda’s best figures on the day, taking 3 for 29 while Arinaitwe’s tight spell leaves him entrenched as the tournament’s most economical bowler with a 1.69 economy rate in 35.2 overs.
The total of 93 was tied for USA’s ninth lowest all time, matching the 93 they made against Nepal in a 96-run loss in the third place playoff match at 2008 ICC WCL Division Five in Jersey. USA’s net run rate dipped from +1.540 to +0.690 with the wide margin of defeat to Uganda. However, they still control their own destiny for promotion out of Division Three. A win over Bermuda on Saturday at the National Stadium will clinch a spot for USA at the 2014 ICC World Cup Qualifier.
History is on USA’s side as they have not lost to Bermuda in ICC tournament play since 2005 when they suffered a 113-run defeat at the ICC Trophy in Ireland. USA is 6-3 vs. Bermuda all-time in limited overs cricket and has never lost to Bermuda at the National Stadium in Hamilton, holding a 4-0 record over Bermuda at the ground with wins over the host side in two 50-over games, one Twenty20 and a three-day Intercontinental Cup match in addition to a pair of draws in a three-day and two-day match played at the National Stadium in the 1970s.
Even if USA loses, they could still advance to the 2014 ICC World Cup Qualifier because they currently hold a +.704 lead over Nepal in the tiebreaker category and a +1.649 advantage over Bermuda. Nepal and Bermuda would have to win on Saturday and also make up that sizeable difference to go past USA into second place.
In Thursday’s other matches, Nepal defeated Oman by 28 runs in what was essentially an elimination match at the National Stadium. Nepal’s hopes of a top two finish were kept alive at 2-2 while Oman is no longer in contention for promotion at 1-3 and must beat Uganda on Saturday to avoid relegation to Division Four. Nepal was sent in to bat and restricted to 160 for 9 with Gyanendra Malla making 34 to lead Nepal. Oman was 68 for 2 in the 24th over but collapsed against Nepal’s spinners to be bowled out for 132 in 46.4 overs.
Italy remains winless and secured relegation to Division Four with a 60-run loss to Bermuda at Somerset Cricket Club. Bermuda won the toss and batted first making 284. Tre Manders scored 64 at number three after the loss of both openers early while 40-year-old Lionel Cann entered in the 35th over with the score at 135 for 5 and produced a stunning century off 45 balls, finishing with 113 off 48 deliveries before being dismissed in the final over. Peter Petricola and Carl Sandri each scored 66 for Italy but they were eventually bowled out for 224 in 44 overs. The win keeps Bermuda’s slim hopes alive of reaching Division Three.
After a day off on Friday, all teams play their final round-robin match of the tournament on Saturday. Uganda goes for an undefeated group stage run against Oman at Somerset CC with Oman needing a win to avoid being relegated to Division Four. Nepal plays Italy at St. David’s CC and needs not only to win but must hope Bermuda defeats USA and also erase the .704 deficit in net run rate to leapfrog USA into second place. Bermuda must defeat USA by a massive margin to have any hope of finishing in second place, but just as important a win for them would mean avoiding relegation while a loss coupled with an Oman win over Uganda could see Bermuda relegated with Italy.
DreamCricket.com’s live coverage sponsored by New Inning Foundation of the USA national team at 2013 ICC WCL Division Three continues on Saturday with USA taking on Bermuda 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 with live coverage on DreamCricket beginning at 10 a.m. in Bermuda.