Photo credit: Peter Della Penna
Nadia Gruny shapes to ramp over fine leg during her unbeaten half-century, the first fifty made for USA in Women's T20I cricket, but it was ultimately in vain as Netherlands chased down a target of 91 with ease to keep USA winless on tour in Scotland.
By Peter Della Penna in Arbroath, Scotland (Twitter @PeterDellaPenna)
USA’s batting lineup continued to struggle in the loser’s bracket playoffs at Arbroath Cricket Club, racking up 71 dot balls to finish on 90 for 4 in their 20 overs before the Netherlands trio of Sterre Kalis, Denise van Deventer and Babette de Leede took Netherlands over the line by nine wickets with 13 balls to spare. USA’s Nadia Gruny was named Player of the Match in a losing effort by top-scoring in the match with an unbeaten 53 off 60 balls, scoring USA’s first Women’s T20I half-century.
USA won the toss and elected to bat first under sunny conditions making two changes to their XI as Uzma Iftikhar and Onika Wallerson came out in favor of Claudine Beckford and Mahika Kandanala, who was making her Women’s T20I debut. USA overcame a setback on the second ball of the match when Erica Rendler spooned a catch to Kalis at extra cover to have a fantastic start overall behind Gruny and Sindhu Sriharsha to reach 37 for 2 in five overs.
But Sriharsha’s wicket for 11, edging behind an attempted cut to end the fifth for Heather Siegers’ second wicket, caused USA’s momentum to stall for good. Over the last 15 overs, USA scored just 53 runs, accumulating 55 dot balls in that stretch.
USA regularly failed to capitalize on numerous full tosses sent down by the Dutch bowling attack, while other deliveries were regularly driven straight to fielders inside the ring. Mid-on and mid-off were regularly kept up with USA unable to force them to go back by driving through or over the infield as frustration mounted.
Shebani Bhaskar’s poor tournament continued as she took nine balls to get off the mark before falling on her 10th delivery, playing around her pads to be given lbw to Silver Siegers in the eighth. Sugetha Chandhrasekar struggled as well, wrapping up a wicket maiden by slapping a waist high full toss off Silver to Miranda Veringmeier at extra cover in the circle to go for 5 off 14 balls making it 59 for 4 in 12.
Gruny had gotten off to a hot start on 26 off 22 balls, but went cold as her partners struggled to rotate the strike to keep her in rhythm. She wound up scoring just 19 runs off her next 34 balls before a pair of boundaries in the space of three balls in the final over took her past 50. They were the last of six boundaries in all struck by Gruny in her innings, with the only others for USA coming twice off the bat of Sriharsha.
Gruny shared an unbroken 31-run stand with Lisa Ramjit for the fifth wicket spread across the final eight overs to take USA to their final score, a way below par effort especially considering USA used the exact same top four in the batting order when they made 148 for 5 against Netherlands two years ago the last time they faced off in Scotland. Silver ended the day with 2 for 10 in four overs bowling spin while her sister Heather ended with 2 for 26 in a spell of medium pace.
Kalis and van Deventer opened the chase and were hardly troubled in the Powerplay, striking four boundaries in the first six overs to take the score to 33 for 0. The opening pair was relentless in pinching singles to short third man and fine leg in the ring, almost always a step ahead of USA’s fielders during a 52-run opening stand.
The partnership was broken by Akshatha Rao in the 10th. After three dot balls to start the over to Kalis, the Dutch opener lost patience and was beaten charging the offspinner for a simple stumping by Sriharsha. But de Leede joined van Deventer and the pair wrapped up a clinical chase by continuing to put pressure on USA’s fielders with clever running between the wickets. Van Deventer started on 8 off 16 balls, but once she got her eye in commenced a sequence of 19 scoring shots off her next 20 deliveries, never allowing pressure to build.
Van Deventer eventually hit the winning single off debutant Kandanala’s only over to finish 38 not out while de Leede ended up unbeaten on 15. Rao ended with USA’s best figures, claiming 1 for 21 in her four overs while Ramjit was economical with the new ball, ending with 0 for 10 in three overs.
USA will face Namibia in the 7th place playoff on Saturday at Arbroath CC after the African side was trounced by Scotland. The tournament hosts registered a 10-wicket win, bowling Namibia out for 67 before chasing the total in 8.4 overs.
At Forfarshire CC in Dundee, Bangladesh defeated Ireland by four wickets in the morning semi-final chasing a target of 86 with nine balls to spare to clinch a return trip to the Women’s T20 World Cup in Australia. Thailand followed suit with an eight-wicket triumph over Papua New Guinea in the afternoon’s second semi-final, chasing a target of 68 with 15 balls to spare to book their first ever trip to a major ICC global tournament.