Photo credit: Peter Della Penna
Legspin sensation Sandeep Lamichhane sent USA home in shame after sparking a collapse that saw USA lose their last eight wickets for eight runs on the way to being 35 all out in an eventual eight-wicket defeat to hosts Nepal in Kathmandu.
By Peter Della Penna in Kathmandu, Nepal (Twitter @PeterDellaPenna)
Just when anyone following at home thought the tour of Nepal couldn’t get any worse, it did on Wednesday morning at Tribhuvan University Stadium as USA suffered one of their most embarrassing losses in their one-day cricket history, bowled out for 35 in just 12 overs before Nepal needed just 32 balls to clinch the chase in an eight-wicket win for the hosts. It was USA’s second lowest score in their 50-over cricket history, behind only a 32 all out performance against Kenya at the 1997 ICC Trophy (World Cup Qualifier) in Malaysia.
Sandeep Lamichhane starred for Nepal, taking a career-best 6 for 16 which are the second-best figures by an Associate bowler in an ODI behind Rashid Khan’s 7 for 18 against the West Indies just weeks before Afghanistan became a Test nation in 2017. Lamichhane was well-supported by left-arm spinner Sushan Bhari, who took 4 for 5 to mark 10 wickets falling to spin on the day for USA.
USA’s total was the joint-lowest in ODI cricket history, alongside Zimbabwe’s 35 against Sri Lanka in 2004. It was the shortest completed innings by deliveries in an ODI, lasting just 12 overs. USA’s innings took a grand total of 51 minutes, and the entire match lasted just an hour and 38 minutes, which included a 30-minute interval at the innings break. The match itself was the shortest ODI in terms of combined deliveries, lasting just 17.2 overs while Nepal’s chase was the third quickest in terms of deliveries needed to achieve the target.
The day initially began as a joyous occasion for the visitors as US Ambassador to Nepal Randy Berry came to the ground to meet with players from both sides before the start of play. However, the Ambassador reportedly only spent the first half-hour of match play inside the ground, meaning he was spared the carnage that ensued in the final six overs of USA’s innings in which they lost nine wickets for 12 runs.
After losing the toss, USA were sent in to bat, making two changes. Steven Taylor was dropped for the first time in his USA career since the final of 2010 WCL Division Four in Italy. Karima Gore was pulled out of the starting XI with him in favor of Timil Patel and Nosthush Kenjige, playing his first match on tour.
Another change was made to the batting order. Despite scoring just five runs in four warm-up matches spent opening the batting prior to the start of the ODI series, Ian Holland was moved from his successful role in the middle order during the first three ODIs back up to open the batting. The move backfired when he was out to the final ball of Lamichhane’s first over with the new ball in the second, edging to Paras Khadka at slip for a six-ball duck.
Xavier Marshall and Monank Patel then added 23 for the second wicket across the next four overs as USA looked to be making a confident start in a stand dominated by Marshall. He drove Karan KC’s medium pace down the ground for a boundary to get off the mark in the third over, then struck another before the end of the frame. But he fell pushing too hard at Bhari’s first ball replacing Karan for the seventh, giving Khadka another slip catch.
Aaron Jones got off the mark second ball with a four cut through point off Bhari, but that would be one of the last handful of scoring shots on the day for USA. Monank was bowled by Lamichhane for 4 two balls into the eighth attempting a back foot punch. Nisarg Patel lasted three balls before he was bowled prodding forward for two. Jones was bowled in identical fashion by Bhari three balls into the ninth to make it 29 for 5.
Lamichhane pinned Timil on the crease with a googly for his fourth wicket to make it 30 for 6 in the 10th. Bhari struck twice in the 11th, getting Cameron Stevenson out bowled prodding forward on the first ball of the overs for 1 before Rusty Theron fell on the final ball of the over playing down the wrong line of an arm ball to be lbw for a fifth-ball duck.
Lamichhane then read last rites in the 12th. After an edge flew past Khadka at slip on the first ball of the over off the bat of Akshay Homraj, Khadka held onto a much easier edge two balls later. Kenjige blocked the next two balls out but in an effort to jam out the last ball of the over, enough backspin was produced off the toe of the bat to clatter the stumps, ending USA’s innings in less than an hour.
Kenjige was able to strike two blows in Nepal’s brief chase. Captain Gyanendra Malla was bowled for 1 offering no shot to an arm ball on Kenjige’s second delivery. After a single by Khadka to get off the mark two balls later, Kenjige bowled Subash Khakurel beating a front-foot prod for a four-ball duck. But those were the last moments of delight for USA on a morning of despair.
Dipendra Singh Airee arrived at No. 4 and slammed his first ball off Kenjige over mid-off for four to end the second. Khadka then whipped Timil over midwicket for four in the third before torching Timil for a pair of fours and a six in the fifth over, the first two shots straight down the ground before ending the over with a punch through extra cover. Airee then ended the match two balls into the sixth, clubbing Kenjige for six over the sightscreen. Kenjige ended with figures of 2 for 15 while Timil, in what could be the 36-year-old’s final match for USA, ended with 0 for 21 in three.
The string of defeats in Nepal means that USA is now four points behind Oman on the CWC League Two points table, while Oman has two games in hand after a pair of cancellations following the death of Sultan Qaboos in January. USA now has six weeks before their next ODI assignment in Florida, a home tri-series against UAE and Scotland.