USA's batting lineup struggled mightily after losing the toss and being sent in under moist conditions, ultimately succumbing for 105 before Ireland chased the total with ease.
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By Peter Della Penna (Twitter/X @PeterDellaPenna
Ireland U19’s pace bowling unit accounted eight of the ten wickets to fall as USA’s batting lineup struggled to deal with early morning moisture in the wicket at Bloemfontein after losing the toss, ultimately being bowled out for 105 in 40.2 overs before Ireland needed just 22.5 overs to chase down the target in a seven-wicket loss for USA to open up Group A at the 2024 ICC Men’s U19 World Cup. Ireland opening bowler Oliver Riley was named Player of the Match after finishing with figures of 3 for 21 in eight overs as well as claiming two catches in the field.
“I think losing quick wickets early put pressure on us at the start,” said USA U19 captain Rishi Ramesh at the post-match presentation. “All of the batsmen coming in had this sort of pressure where they had to stay down and consolidate. That put pressure on us and carried over throughout the innings and no one could really get a start going.”
Ireland struck before the end of the first over as Reuben Wilson’s impressive new ball spell began with the wicket of Aryaman Suri for 1, late flicking across the line only for his off stump to be knocked back to make it 6 for 1. After a boundary struck by Prannav Chettipalayam to begin the third over against Wilson, both Chettipalayam and Siddarth Kappa went into a shell as dot ball pressure began to mount. USA finally cracked in the sixth over when Riley claimed Chettipalayam, coming around the wicket to beat him playing back to a good length ball resulting in another clean bowled dismissal for 8 to make it 16 for 2. Kappa tried to play a release shot against Riley in the eighth over, but could not clear Harry Dyer on his attempted heave over mid-on and fell for 3 to give Riley a second wicket at 23 for 3.
Utkarsh Srivastava came and left quickly, lasting three balls before prodding away from his body to edge Riley behind making it 26 for 4 in the 10th
. USA ended the Powerplay with their second boundary of the match as Ramesh edged wide of second slip to make it 30 for 4 after 10. However, Ramesh managed just 9 before he drove flat-footed at a fullish length delivery to edge John McNally’s medium pace behind making the score 37 for 5 in the 14th
Parth Patel entered at No. 7 and wound up being one of just three USA players to reach double figures on the day, making 13 before Wilson returned for a second spell and claimed him with his first ball back into the attack, inducing a false poke by Patel away from his body to edge behind making it 58 for 6. Rayaan Bhagani entered next and struck USA’s first boundary since the 10th
over with a heave over mid-on to end the 25th
, having been dropped on 0 and 1 during the previous two overs. However, he fell trying to repeat the shot in the 27th
over and was caught 10 yards inside the rope for 9 to give left-arm spinner Carson McCullough his first wicket making it 70 for 7. Amogh Arepally’s 52-ball vigil, the longest stay by any USA batter on the day after entering at No. 6, fell in the next over for 11, trapped lbw flicking across the line to a full ball from McNally to make it 72 for 8.
Khush Bhalala arrived at No. 9 and battled valiantly to stretch the USA innings out. He struck two boundaries in his unbeaten 22 off 38 balls to top-score for USA, including an innings best 29-run partnership with Ateendra Subramanian for the ninth wicket. But the stand came to an end when Subramanian tried to heave over mid-on in the ring, picking out Riley to give Wilson a third wicket making it 101 for 9 in the 37th
. Last man Arya Garg made 2 before he drive Scott MacBeth’s offspin to cover two balls into the 41st
over. Extras wound up finishing as USA’s second-high score behind Bhalala with 19.
Aside from Riley’s player of the match figures, Wilson returned an impressive 3 for 23 in nine overs with two maidens while fellow pacer McNally ended with 2 for 17 in seven. Left-arm spinner McCullough was the only bowler to finish his full 10-over quota, returning 1 for 23 with two maidens. MacBeth ended with 1 for 17 in his 4.2 overs.
USA came out fired up at the start of the chase behind Garg’s opening spell, which reduced Ireland to 5 for 2 just 13 legal deliveries into the reply. After conceding a boundary off the first delivery he sent down to Jordan Neill, Garg struck back with a short ball pulled to Subramanian at deep fine leg just three balls later. After Subramanian bowled a maiden at the opposite end to Ryan Hunter in the second over, Garg returned to clean bowl Gavin Roulston for a second-ball duck to start the third after left-handed bat Roulston shouldered arms to a ball angled back in from over the wicket.
Ireland No. 4 Kian Hilton survived some nervy moments upon arrival as Garg nearly clean bowled him through the gate on an inswinger that just cleared the stumps before an edge split a pair of USA fielders at second slip and gully to go to the rope. But from that point forward, Ireland settled down though and capitalized on a series of loose deliveries to regain control of the chase, reaching 49 for 2 after nine overs. The third-wicket stand between Hunter and Kian Hilton accounted for 59 runs before Hilton pushed with hard hands at a flighted delivery from Bhalala’s left-arm spin to prod back a simple return catch for 23 to make it 64 for 3 in the 14th
Hunter and Ireland captain Philippus le Roux then teamed up for an assured 45-run stand to get Ireland across the line. While Hunter churned out runs at one end, le Roux impressed with his use of the reverse sweep for two of his three boundaries, including the game clinching shot. Hunter was able to reach his half-century with a single on the penultimate ball of play, ending 50 not out off 63 balls with five fours.
Garg ended with figures of 2 for 31 in five overs to lead USA in the field while Bhalala returned 1 for 10 in three. Subramanian (0 for 14 in three), Bhagani (0 for 8 in three), Patel (0 for 16 in four), Srivastava (0 for 18 in 2.5 overs), and Ramesh (0 for 12 in two) rounded out the rest of USA’s wicketless bowlers on the day.
USA now has six days off before their next Group A match on Friday January 26 against Bangladesh, who open up their tournament against India on Saturday.