Photo credit: Peter Della Penna
JP Kotze almost singlehandedly outscored USA, bashing 136 off 109 balls, before 5 for 20 from left-arm spinner Zhivago Groenewald helped bowl out the hosts for 142 in a 139-run win for Namibia in Florida.
By Peter Della Penna in Lauderhill, Florida (Twitter @PeterDellaPenna)
Opening batsman JP Kotze became the first Namibia player to score an ODI century, laying the platform for a commanding total of 287 for 8 that was easily defended thanks to Zhivago Groenewald’s 5 for 20 as USA crashed to a whopping 139-run defeat on DLS Method at the Central Broward Regional Park on Friday in Lauderhill, Florida.
USA captain Saurabh Netravalkar opted to field first at the toss under overcast skies but he was not able to take advantage of toss conditions after rain came over the ground a short time later, causing a delayed start to play. After more than 75 minutes off the field, the match was reduced to 49 overs a side under bright sunshine and heavy winds blowing southwest across the ground.
That wind was utilized to great effect by Kotze. He entered in the second over after Jessy Singh bowled Karl Birkenstock with a yorker for a golden duck, the start of a topsy-turvy day for Singh. Kotze got off the mark two bowls later hitting a no ball for four, then compounded the damage by clobbering the free hit over the roof of the western grandstand for six. It was the first of eight sixes, all hit over the leg side from the Northern End with the wind rendering the leg side boundary riders as spectators to the power-hitting display, and he added 11 fours to go with it.
Steven Taylor replaced Jessy in the sixth and was treated even worse than Singh, smashed for three sixes across the eighth and 12th overs to be chased out of the attack. The second six in that sequence brought up Kotze’s half-century off 44 balls. A 97-run second-wicket stand with Stephen Baard finally ended when Baard drove Timil Patel’s first ball in the 15th low to Taylor at short extra cover for 18.
But Kotze kept motoring along and eventually brought up his hundred off 88 balls with a single off Timil in the 23rd. Karima Gore was tried from the Pavilion End and the results were scarcely any better as Kotze smashed another pair of sixes in the 24th. Taylor returned in the 26th and was smashed over the ropes once more by Kotze, who then toyed with Nisarg Patel by connecting on a pair of reverse sweeps for four as he continued to use the wind to his advantage this time batting from the Pavilion End in the 27th and by the end of the over looked a good chance at a double-century with 22 overs left to play.
However, Singh finally brought the innings to an end for 136 off 109 balls on the first ball of the 28th. Kotze failed to get the elevation on another drive aiming to clear long-off and Nisarg took a simple catch on the rope to end his innings along with a 79-run partnership alongside captain Gerhard Erasmus. It wound up being the start of a double-wicket maiden which swung momentum back USA’s way as Erasmus fell for 20 when he chipped a back of a length ball to Netravalkar at midwicket for Singh’s third wicket.
That sequence started a string of 17.1 overs without a boundary for Namibia as the rest of the middle order struggled to utilize the wind in the same manner as Kotze. Left-hander Zane Green had been promoted up the order in an effort to keep USA off balance with a left-right combo at the crease but only managed 8 before cutting Singh to Netravalkar in the covers to make it 189 for 5 in the 34th. JJ Smit was the next man to go, runout for 4 by Elmore Hutchinson’s relay from short fine leg to Gore at the non-striker’s end after Craig Williams failed to respond to Smit’s call to pinch an extra run off a leg-side wide.
Singh had been taken off after the 36th over despite being in a good rhythm as Netravalkar opted to hold the rest of his overs back rather than try to kill off the innings. The move backfired when Singh was torched by Jan Frylinck in the 46th. Desperately searching for a fifth wicket, Singh went too full on the stumps angling the ball into Frylinck’s body allowing him to free his arms for four, six, six all hit with the wind over the leg side in a 19-run 46th over. He was promptly taken out of the attack by Netravalkar, who was no better serving up a pair of balls swatted over cow corner by Frylinck for six to bring up a 40-ball half-century.
Nisarg struck twice in the last over as Frylinck was caught at long-on slogging into the wind for 60. Williams fell three balls later top-edging a pull to Netravalkar at short fine leg. But Pikky Ya France ended the 49th bashing four and six over wide long-on to give Namibia an added insurance buffer.
Singh ended with 4 for 51 off eight overs for USA’s best figures on the day, sandwiching a poor spell with the new ball and at the death around an exceptional middle-over block in which he claimed 3 for 10 in five overs. Nisarg took 2 for 25 off his two overs while Timil ended as USA’s only other wicket-taker on the day with 1 for 30 in 10. Gore fought back after harsh early treatment from Kotze to end with 0 for 63 in his 10.
An unchanged USA lineup meant one more chance for the opening combo of Jaskaran Malhotra and Xavier Marshall to turn around their poor returns from earlier in the series but neither was able to do so. After a brief rain delay in the second over caused two overs to be shaved off USA’s chase with a revised target of 282 in 47 overs, Marshall fell four balls after play resumed, driving a leading edge to Groenewald at mid-off for 5 to give Frylinck a wicket. Malhotra then fell for 18 in Groenewald’s first over, going back to pull through midwicket and beaten by a quicker delivery. Monank Patel then fell for a five-ball duck, bowling flicking across the line to offspinner Ya France with one that straightened from around the stumps to make it 42 for 3 in the Powerplay.
Taylor and Aaron Jones came together for a 44-run fourth-wicket stand, but one that was not without it’s share of chances offered by Taylor. He was on 10 when he top-edged an attempted sweep off Ya France that Green struggle to locate swirling above him behind the stumps before putting in a late dive and spilling the chance. Taylor was on 26 when he flicked Bernard Scholtz’s left-arm spin to Williams at midwicket, who put down a fairly simple chance moving right. But he couldn’t make the most of the latter drop in particular, falling two balls later when he was bowled for 27 trying to flick Ya France across the line.
Gore scored 22 out of a 34-run stand with Jones for the fifth wicket before he fell when an attempted drive off Smit deflected off his pads and then trickled into the stumps to dislodge a bail. Hutchinson has his first failure with the bat in the next over, prodding down the wrong line of an arm ball to be given leg before for Groenewald’s second wicket making it 121 for 6 in the 31st as USA’s required run rate approached 10 per over. Nisarg then fell for 3 after Williams pulled off a brilliant leaping catch at extra cover to give Scholtz a wicket at 130 for 7.
Groenewald then wiped out the rest of the USA order in one fell swoop in the 37th. Jones’ vigil finally ended when his attempted slog sweep with the wind couldn’t clear Smit at deep square leg for 44. Netravalkar’s charge was thwarted by a quicker ball for a stumping to Green before Singh was bowled first-ball playing back to another quicker delivery to end the match.
Ya France bowled an exceptional early spell of offspin to end with figures of 2 for 30 in nine overs while Scholtz ended with 1 for 20 in seven. They were well supported by the left-arm medium pace of Smit and Frylinck, who ended with 1 for 20 and 1 for 11 in fours overs each respectively.
Namibia has a day off before playing back-to-back matches against Papua New Guinea on Sunday and Monday. USA’s next action is expected to be in the West Indies for the Regional Super50 tournament before heading off to the UAE in December for their next tri-series in Cricket World Cup League Two.