Photo credit: Peter Della Penna
It was deja vu for Monank Patel as he ended USA's Super50 tour with a Man of the Match performance for the second year in a row, taking USA past Guyana with 85 off 105 balls that included three fours and three sixes.
By Peter Della Penna in Tarouba (Twitter @PeterDellaPenna)
Monank Patel made the most of being dropped at slip on 1 to punish Guyana with a brilliant 85 before Ian Holland’s crucial late burst of 59 off 37 balls ensured USA had just enough to defend in a thrilling eight-run win on DLS Method at Brian Lara Academy on Monday night. Rusty Theron bowled an immaculate final over, conceding just two runs while taking two wickets including the well-set Jonathan Foo for 41 to clinch the match for USA and prevent Guyana from reaching the semi-finals of the CWI Super50 Cup. It's the second year in a row that Monank ended the Super50 tour with a Man of the Match performance, having also received an award for his century in a win against Jamaica in October 2018. Monank similarly finished as USA's leading scorer at the Super50 for the second season in a row, winding up with 230 runs in eight innings in Trinidad.
USA captain Saurabh Netravalkar won the toss and elected to bat first after a 30-minute delayed start due to afternoon rain. USA made two changes, bringing back Nisarg Patel and Elmore Hutchinson in place of Nosthush Kenjige and Cameron Stevenson.
The biggest moment of the match occurred on the fifth ball of the second over, bowled by Raymon Reifer. The man who had taken five wickets against USA in their first encounter at Queen’s Park Oval appeared to have struck right away in the second as Monank Patel fended at the fourth ball of his innings and edged straight to Guyana captain Leon Johnson at first slip, but a basic waist height chance was shelled. Guyana struck in the next over as Clinton Pestano bowled Xavier Marshall for 7 with a delivery angled past Marshall’s drive to bowl him through the gate, but Guyana would rue the missed chance on Monank.
A 25-minute delay occurred at the 7.3 over mark with USA 29 for 1 but Monank struck the first ball after play resumed for six over midwicket to get USA’s momentum building once again. Another brief hiccup occurred when Steven Taylor was bowled by Ramaal Lewis’ offspin for 17 to make it 50 for 2 and a second delay occurred in the 21st over with USA 71 for 2. After 70 minutes off the field, play was reduced to 41 overs.
Monank started to accelerate when play resumed, driving the left-arm spin of Gudakesh Motie over long-on for six, then brought up his 50 in 74 balls with a two cut behind point in the 26th over. Aaron Jones provided excellent support at the opposite end during a 79-run stand. Jones swept Veerasammy Permaul behind square for four in the 24th, then drove Motie over mid-on in the 27th for another. The 79-run stand between the pair was finally broken when Jones slashed at a slower ball to edge behind for 37 off Reifer in the 31st.
Holland came to the crease with 63 balls left and saw the majority of the strike the rest of the way, taking over for a drained Monank. Holland creamed Chandrapaul Hemraj’s left-arm spin for two sixes and a four over the leg side in a 20-run over in the 34th to spark a late innings rally. Monank finally fell in the 37th just 15 short of what would have been his third century in 50-over cricket for USA, pulling Lewis to deep square leg. But Holland continued to power ahead, slogging Permaul over the leg side for a third six in the 38th. Hutchinson drove straight for four and six in the 39th before he was caught at long-off by Foo for Lewis’ third wicket.
Rusty Theron was then sent in at No. 7 and though USA did not strike any boundaries over the final 14 balls, Theron crucially ran six twos off the bat of Holland. Holland seized on the expansive leg side to the western boundary, bringing up a 32-ball half-century as USA scored nine off their last over to end on 230 for 5.
Lewis ended with 3 for 24 in just four overs while Reifer took 1 for 39 in eight and Pestano 1 for 54 in eight. Permaul ended as Guyana’s most economical bowler on the day with 0 for 35 in nine overs.
Guyana’s target was adjusted at the innings break to 242 in 41 overs taking into account the disruptions to USA’s innings. Netravalkar bowled a wicket maiden in the second, getting Hemraj for 9 edging behind a back of a length ball through to Akshay Homraj. The USA captain should have had two more wickets in the sixth over but a pair of chances were left on the table. Anthony Bramble skied a drive high over mid-off that sub fielder Stevenson – who was on for a dehydrated Monank – covered 25 yards running back from the 30-yard circle but was unable to hold onto just inside the boundary. Johnson then edged between Homraj and Taylor, who was standing at a wide slip position, as the ball split them for four.
Bramble played exceptionally in his 38, playing a trio of exquisite cuts behind point for four. He added 54 with Johnson before the Guyana captain swept Karima Gore’s spin straight to Netravalkar on the ring at short fine leg to fall for 18. Rain arrived once more at 71 for 2 in the 16th over of Guyana’s chase and five overs were lost to set a revised target of 222 in 36 overs.
Three balls after play resumed, Bramble lost his wicket in a mixup with Christopher Barnwell as both batsmen set off for a tight run to short cover before Barnwell changed his mind. Taylor charged in and alertly tossed a gentle relay to Gore with Bramble halfway down the pitch and the bails were removed by Gore in plenty of time to make it 75 for 3.
Barnwell atoned for his role in that sequence by continuing on in a 78-run stand with Reifer to keep Guyana within striking distance of the target. But Gore continued to repel them with a masterful spell of 1 for 25 in eight as the 21-year-old left-arm spinner did not concede a boundary on the night and when he came off, Guyana needed 106 in 12 overs.
But Barnwell attacked as soon as he had seen off Gore’s last over, heaving Taylor and Nisarg for sixes in back-to-back overs that provided a 22-run surge and entering the final 10 overs, Guyana needed a very manageable 84 off 60 balls. Barnwell heaved his fourth six off Theron in the 28th to bring up a 45-ball half-century, his second of the tournament against USA.
Netravalkar returned in the 29th though and finally dislodged Barnwell to break the stand with a slower ball skied to Hutchinson at long-off for 54. The USA captain took his third in the 31st as a stroke of luck went USA’s way when a full toss was skied to sub fielder Kenjige at deep midwicket to claim Reifer for 33.
At 164 for 5 and with two new batsmen in, everything pointed toward USA closing the match out. But Foo was relentless, scoring off his first 11 balls. He ended that sequence clubbing a full toss from Netravalkar over extra cover for six as Netravalkar struggled to grip the ball in his final over. Another full toss to Lewis was caught by Taylor for what looked like Guyana’s sixth wicket but it was immediately signaled no ball by Gregory Brathwaite for being over waist height and the over wound up costing 15 runs in the end.
Foo took another 13 off the 34th bowled by Theron, including an audacious one-handed slap for six over Stevenson at long-off as Guyana entered the final 12 balls needing 22 to win. With Netravalkar bowled out, Holland was brought back for his third over of the night and bowled a brilliant first five balls to concede just five runs. But with Guyana needing 17 off seven, Foo struck Holland’s last ball for a straight six to bring the equation down to 11 off six against Theron.
Crucially, the last-ball six in the 35th meant Foo was off strike to begin the final stanza. Rather than look for a single to get Foo back on strike on 41 off 21 balls, Lewis swung wildly at the first two balls from Theron, edging the second behind to Homraj. Ronaldo Ali Mohamed entered and finally got the needed single to put Foo back on struck, but from 11 off six balls, he now needed to get 10 off three. With the pressure on, Theron delivered with a full delivery that Foo dragged onto his stumps. Permaul arrived needing a six and another boundary to win the match, but could only flub the next ball for a single to effectively clinch the match. Ali Mohamed swung through a slower ball on the final delivery.
Had Guyana won, they would have faced Barbados in the semi-finals of the Super50. Instead, West Indies Emerging advanced in second place from Zone B. Trinidad & Tobago faces Leeward Islands in the other semi-final. The two winners face off in the tournament final on Sunday, December 1 at Queen's Park Oval.
Netravalkar ended with figures of 3 for 42 in seven while Theron’s spectacular final over meant he finished with 2 for 44 in six. Hutchinson went wicketless but was USA’s most economical bowler in a four-over new ball spell of 0 for 19.
USA will remain in Trinidad for another week of squad training that will include a warm-up match against a Trinidad academy side on Sunday, December 1 at the National Cricket Centre in Couva. USA then departs for Dubai on December 3 before their first ODI of the Cricket World Cup League Two tri-series against the UAE on December 8 in Sharjah.