Photo credit: Peter Della Penna
Jason Mohammed's six on the last ball of the first innings capped a 100-run partnership over the final 42 balls with Odean Smith and raised a 62-ball century that floored USA in an eventual 43-run win for Trinidad & Tobago.
By Peter Della Penna in Tarouba (Twitter @PeterDellaPenna)
Jason Mohammed made the most of a dropped chance on 14 to blaze a stunning 62-ball century as he propelled Trinidad & Tobago to an easily defendable total of 244 for 4 in an eventual 43-run win over USA at Brian Lara Academy on Friday night. Mohammed and Odean Smith added 100 runs for the final seven overs as the former West Indies international struck nine sixes following the miss, including one on the final ball of the innings, which had been reduced to 30 overs after a four-hour rain delay before play began.
Trinidad & Tobago won the toss and elected to bat first under overcast skies, but just minutes before the players were set to take the field, a storm cell arrived that produced the lengthy delay. After Tion Webster and Jeremy Solozano had given the hosts a confident start, including 15 runs off the fifth over bowled by Jessy Singh, Karima Gore was brought on in the sixth over and for the second time in the tournament struck on his first ball of the match, inducing a leading edge for a return catch off the bat of Solozano for 12 to make it 31 for 1. Webster had visible struggles against Gore and after being dropped at midwicket five balls late on a tough chance to Ian Holland, Gore claimed him two balls into his next over on a skied slog that swirled over point for a simple catch to Nisarg Patel.
Nisarg should have had new batsman Darren Bravo for a duck in the following over, but Akshay Homraj spilled a thin edge on a leg side chance off Bravo’s seventh ball. The error was punished by Bravo in Nisarg’s next over in the 11th as the left-hander drove Nisarg for six over long-on. Another two sixes came over long-on and midwicket off Gore in the 12th over before Steven Taylor claimed Bravo for 20 in the 13th on another leg side chance that was held onto this time by Homraj to make it 66 for 3. However, the USA wicketkeeper appeared to sustain a leg injury in the sequence and had to leave the field. Monank Patel took over the gloves while Homraj took no further part in the match.
Mohammed came to the crease and his innings started slowly as Kyle Hope maintained the role of aggressor at the opposite end since his arrival at No. 3. Hope pulled a pair of sixes over the leg side in his 47 off 41 balls and fell trying to bring up a half-century with a six but was caught at deep square leg by Aaron Jones off the bowling of Singh in the 23rd to make it 144 for 4.
Mohammed scored just 14 off his first 21 balls and should have been caught off his 22nd when Holland created a chance with a slower ball that Mohammed gently chipped back to Holland’s right. But the allrounder was off balance in his follow-through and snatched at it above head height as he was falling to the ground. Though Holland got two hands to it, he couldn’t clasp on firmly and it burst through for two runs.
That miss was the opening Mohammed needed to turbo-charge his innings as he wound up scoring 87 runs off his final 41 deliveries. His first six of the night was clubbed over midwicket off Holland in the 21st. A sloppy overthrow by Xavier Marshall allowed a second run on the first ball of the 26th by Netravalkar to keep Mohammed on strike and he followed it with a six and a single to bring up a half-century off 45 balls. He only needed another 17 deliveries to score his second 50 runs. The shot of the night came in the 27th off Jessy Singh, one ball after flat-batting him over long-on for six, Mohammed drove a length ball on the up outside off stump for an extraordinary six over extra cover.
At the opposite end, Odean Smith was just as relentless in the final seven overs. He punished Nisarg’s left-arm spin in the 29th for two sixes to race to 26 off 15 balls while Mohammed clubbed his seventh six to enter the final over on 85 as USA's bowlers struggled to grip the wet ball over the latter stages of the innings. A no ball ball called over waist height was hit for four off the first ball of the 30th from Holland to Smith and was followed by a single on the free hit to put Mohammed back on strike with five legal balls remaining.
After a dot ball missing slower delivery, Mohammed slashed an edge fine through third man for four, then heaved Holland for six over midwicket to move to 95 with two balls left. He mistimed one back to Holland on the penultimate ball, though a misfield opened the door for a single that he turned down in order to stay on strike with one more crack at a six to bring up his ton. He did so, clubbing a length ball back over Holland’s head for the right-hander’s fifth List A century.
Gore ended with USA’s best figures on the night taking 2 for 21 in six overs including two maidens. Taylor ended with 1 for 24 in 3 and Singh 1 for 52 in six as USA’s only other wicket-takers on the night. Holland conceded 0 for 51 in five while Nisarg was also expensive in conceding 0 for 48 in five. Elmore Hutchinson only bowled one over for 14 runs while captain Netravalkar only bowled himself for four overs, conceding 32 runs.
Marshall faced every delivery of the first two overs of the chase, scoring just one run off the bat, but Monank helped USA get the scoring rate going in the fourth with a pair of fours, including one driven very elegantly through mid-on. He was dropped on the final ball of the over off Anderson Phillip on a tough low chance by Odean Smith at slip with Monank on 11. However, he only added seven more runs to his total. After driving Phillip for six, he was bounced out next ball ramping a short ball straight to Webster at deep third man for 18.
At the other end, Marshall was finally hitting his stride after going 13 consecutive innings without a 50-plus score for USA. He swatted Jon-Russ Jaggesar through mid-on in the fifth for his first boundary, then drove him straight over long-on for six and followed it two balls later with another drive over extra cover for four as USA reached 50 for 1 by the end of the six-over Powerplay.
But USA suffered another major blow two balls into the seventh over when Taylor was out second-ball for 1, skying a drive off Smith to Webster at mid-off. Momentum stalled with Jones struggling to get going upon his arrival at No. 4. After five dots by Jones to left-arm spinner Yannick Ottley in the eighth, Marshall played out a maiden in the 10th followed by another scoreless over to Ottley from Jones in the 12th as USA’s scoring rate dropped from almost 10 an over in the Powerplay to under six per over at the 12-over mark.
Marshall brought up a 54-ball half-century on the first ball after the 15-over drinks break, clubbing Imran Khan’s legspin for six. But Jones fell four balls later for 16, bowled charging a googly. Marshall made it two in three balls when he slashed a thick edge off Jaggesar to Phillip at short third man for 53 to start the 17th over, making it 98 for 4 as USA needed to score at 10 per over for the rest of the way to overhaul the target.
Hutchinson gave USA brief hope alongside Holland when he belted a pair of straight sixes off Imran and Jason Mohammed as part of a 28-run sequence in the 20th and 21st overs. Webster spilled Hutchinson in that same stretch after nearly overrunning a chance on 12 skied to cover sweeper that he clumsily dropped. But Hutchinson perished for 23 in the 22nd over, driving Imran to Bravo at long-off. Imran then took his third in the 24th over when Holland’s charge failed and resulted in the third wicket for the Trinidad & Tobago captain to make it 148 for 6.
Nisarg and Gore then added 41 for the seventh wicket, USA’s fourth 40-plus partnership of the night. But none of them went past 50, symbolizing USA’s inability to sustain momentum. Gore played a delightful cut for four off Imran for his first boundary and made 19 off 16 balls before he fell on the final ball of the 29th, missing a slog to Ottley. Nisarg continued to play a series of delightful drives over the offside striking two more boundaries in the final over and four overall in his unbeaten 31 off 24 balls to take USA past 200, but well short of the target. Imran ended with 3 for 38 in his six overs while Ottley was the most difficult to score off, ending with 1 for 16 in five overs.
USA is the only winless team in Zone B after the first round of play in the double-round-robin group stage. Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago and West Indies Emerging all sit on three wins with net run rate separating West Indies Emerging in first place from Guyana in third. Windward Islands sit in fourth place on one win while USA are last in fifth place. USA has three days off before their next encounter against West Indies Emerging at Brian Lara Academy on Tuesday.