Photo credit: Peter Della Penna
Monank Patel swings his bat in frustration after running himself out for 2 following a direct hit from Jason Mohammed, who later teamed with Darren Bravo in an unbeaten 88-run stand to take Trinidad & Tobago past USA by seven wickets at Queen's Park Oval.
By Peter Della Penna in Port of Spain (Twitter @PeterDellaPenna
It has been the story of the Super50 tour for USA: so many starts but so few carrying on past 50 as USA’s batting order failed to justify captain Saurabh Netravalkar’s decision to bat first at the toss, ending on 176 for 9 before Darren Bravo’s unbeaten 80 ensure Trinidad & Tobago chased it down comfortably with 19 balls to spare in a seven-wicket defeat of USA at Queen’s Park Oval on Thursday night. The loss for USA officially eliminated them from semi-final contention at the CWI Super50 Cup while the win confirmed Trinidad & Tobago’s place in the semi-finals where they will be joined by either West Indies Emerging or Guyana out of Zone B.
USA also had three partnerships of more than 30, but none went past 50. For the tour, they have had 17 partnerships of 30 or more, but their lone half-century stand came in the third match against Windward Islands between Xavier Marshall and Steven Taylor.
The match was reduced to 45 overs before the start of play due to a one hour and 50 minute delay. Once again, USA rotated four players into the XI as Karima Gore, Jessy Singh and Ian Holland joined Netravalkar back in the XI in place of Elmore Hutchinson, Rusty Theron, Nosthush Kenjige and Sagar Patel. Holland opened the batting with Xavier Marshall, but both USA openers were gone in the first five overs. Holland was bowled for 1 by left-arm spinner Akeal Hosein playing back to a quicker delivery that kept low while Marshall was given lbw for 7 after offering no shot to a ball that was heading for middle and off stump from Anderson Phillip.
Aaron Jones’ horror tour continued when he scratched out 8 off 34 balls before he was out stumped to captain Imran Khan’s legspin as third umpire replays confirmed he had dragged his back leg out of the crease on a tentative front-foot prod. Monank Patel then ran himself out for 2 under early pressure from Jason Mohammed, who ended a maiden over by recovering a misfield in his follow-through to throw down the stumps at the non-striker’s end on a kamikaze call from Monank. Mohammed then completed a sequence of 3 for 5 by winning an lbw appeal on Taylor for 29 after the vice-captain played down the wrong line to a delivery that struck him in line with off stump to make it 49 for 5 in 18.
Nisarg Patel worked with Gore to rebuild USA’s innings in a 38-run stand for the sixth wicket. Gore’s efficient running between the wickets was complemented by a pair of bullish straight drives for six from Nisarg. But immediately after his second maximum, Nisarg fell lbw to Yannick Ottley playing back deep in his crease for 23. Timil Patel joined Gore and the pair added 45 more for the seventh wicket before Timil paid for a lackadaisical effort on what seemed a straightforward second run to deep extra cover, runout by a sharp relay from Tion Webster to Katwaroo for 17 to make it 132 for 7.
Gore fell two overs later, bounced out by Phillip for a top-score of 40 pulling to Jeremy Solozano at deep square leg. Singh similarly fell to the short ball, top-edging a bumper from Odean Smith that was claimed by Smith halfway down the pitch to make it 159 for 9.
For the second straight match, Cameron Stevenson propped up the USA innings with another strong performance down the order. He scored an unbeaten 32 off 21 balls, including two fours and a six in the final two overs – swatting Phillip over the leg side twice in the 45th
– in a 19-run sequence that gave USA a fighting chance.
Phillip had Trinidad & Tobago’s best figures with 2 for 44 in nine, though they were spoiled a touch by Stevenson at the death. Hosein, Smith, Khan, Mohammed and Ottley all finished with one each for the hosts.
USA struck twice in the Powerplay to have brief hope of sparking an upset. Netravalkar claimed Solozano with a back of a length delivery edged behind to Monank for 6 in the fourth over. Gore took his tour-leading eighth wicket inducing a drive from Webster straight to Taylor at extra cover. But from there, USA’s bowlers toiled in the field while struggling to handle the ball under dewy conditions in the chase under lights.
Kyle Hope and Bravo added 72 for the third wicket, though the stand could have been broken earlier as both batsmen survived very tight lbw shouts that were turned down in consecutive overs. Singh appeared to have trapped Hope with a full ball angled into the pads on 25 in the 17th
over at 59 for 2. The score hadn’t changed when Gore appeared to have Bravo trapped in front on 19 with a delivery that pitched on off stump and straightened from around the wicket.
But Bravo made use of the reprieve, clubbing Singh and then Timil for a pair of sixes over the leg side in the 19th
overs. The partnership finally ended with Hope was bowled charging Taylor’s offspin on a delivery that spun back sharply to knock back off stump. It was Taylor’s 54th
wicket for USA in 50-over cricket, moving him past Usman Shuja for third all-time and he now trails only Hutchinson and Timil.
Akshay Homraj had to take over behind the stumps at the 27-over mark after Monank suffered a hand injury on a take shortly before the second drinks break. It’s the second time on tour that Monank has been unable to complete a fielding innings with the gloves after sustaining a blow to the chest earlier on tour that required Homraj to come in as a replacement.
Bravo went past 50 off 75 balls with a sizzling drive past Marshall at extra cover. Along with Mohammed, he closed off the match in an 88-run stand. USA’s closest chance to break the partnership was a four edged by Bravo off Taylor just wide of a late-reacting Marshall at slip. The winning single was struck by Bravo off Netravalkar through the covers with one ball left in the 42nd
Taylor had USA’s best figures on the night with 1 for 24 in nine overs. Gore returned 1 for 26 in six while Netravalkar ended with 1 for 32 in 8.5 overs. Timil, USA’s all-time leading wicket-taker, bowled a lone over for seven runs, chased out of the attack by Bravo after being driven just once over the rope at long-on.
USA has a day off on Friday before returning to Brian Lara Academy where they will take on Windward Islands. Both sides have one win and are fighting to avoid finishing in last place in Zone B.