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Timroy Allen (50*) and Srini Santhanam (28*) featured in a crucial and clinical partnership as USA defeated Canada in their opening match in the group stage of the ICC World T20 Qualifier tournament.
Speaking about the opening match against Canada, USA Captain Neil McGarrell said: “If we could knock them off it would be a big win for us. It would be a morale booster for us given they have beaten us for the last couple of years. It would be an extra boost for us at the start of a big event like this.”
McGarrell's wish appeared to fall on deaf ears as USA found itself in an unrescuable position of 54 for 4 at the half way point staring at a 138 target. When the fifth wicket fell, that of Karan Ganesh (18) at the start of the twelfth over, their fate appeared sealed barring a miraculous recovery effort by the sixth wicket pair of Timroy Allen and Srini Santhanam.
When Timroy Allen hit a six off Raza Rehman's penultimate ball in the thirteenth over, hope was restored to the sputttering American chase. What followed was a text book T20 pursuit, with the two batsmen chipping away at the target with ones and twos. An occasional boundary from a loose ball ensured that the required run rate remained attainable. Fifteenth through eigtheenth over followed this pattern - each over yielding 8 or 9 runs. With the score reading 114/5 at the end of the eighteenth, Canada needed to prevent the ball from hitting the ropes at any cost. Timroy deflated their hope by hitting a six off the second ball off Henry Osinde. The penultimate over cost Canada 14 runs.
With ten runs needed in the final over, a dot ball could have sealed USA's fate. After the first three balls yielded five runs, a single off the fourth ball gave Timroy his half-century and Srini Santhanam was now on strike. 'State' as Santhanam is known, sent the fifth ball to the boundary giving USA a five-wicket victory over Canada and granting McGarrell his wish of a morale-boosting win against Canada.
For Canada, Ashish Bagai(20), Jimmy Hansra (39) and Rizwan Cheema (28), appeared set for bigger contributions but failed to settle in and accelerate the Maples' score, which was some twenty runs shy of the par score. Hansra and Cheema fell to Adam Sanford while Elmore Hutchinson dismissed Ruvindu Gunasekara and Usman Limbada. Muhammad Ghous, McGarrell and Karan Ganesh bowled economical spells for USA. The captain took the first wicket, that of Hiral Patel and Ghous took the important wicket of Bagai.
Ball by Ball here: http://www.icc-cricket.com/match/worldt20q-2013/21