USA crashed to their seventh straight defeat in Cricket World Cup League Two as another poor batting display set up an easy chase for Oman to win by four wickets with two balls to spare.
Mohammed Nadeem file photo credit: Peter Della Penna
By Peter Della Penna (Twitter @PeterDellaPenna
USA’s chronic struggles with the bat in ICC Cricket World Cup League Two continued again on Thursday as the visitors slipped to 96 for 8 before being bowled out for 178 in an eventual four-wicket loss to Oman at Al Amerat Cricket Ground. Karima Gore and Elmore Hutchinson did their best to rally USA back into the match with a 66-run ninth wicket partnership, but USA wound up being bowled out with 32 balls unused before league-leaders Oman took a very conservative approach in chasing the target with two balls to spare.
Sent in after losing the toss, USA lost four wickets in the Powerplay and a fifth three balls afterward as Oman dominated the first hour of play. Steven Taylor fell on the third ball of play, checking a drive to Bilal Khan to produce a simple lobbed chance to Zeeshan Masqsood at mid-off for 4. Monank Patel chipped a soft catch to Shoaib Khan at short midwicket two overs later for 8 for Bilal’s second. It could have been even worse had Sushant Modani not been spilled on 2 at backward point off Kaleemullah’s bowling in the fourth over as Oman kept the pressure on early.
But the wickets continued falling a short time later. On his ODI debut, Dominique Rikhi copped a rough decision from umpire Ahmed Shah Pakhteen, given lbw for 3 on a ball that looked like it could possibly be sliding past leg stump from tall medium pacer Kaleemullah in the sixth to make it 31 for 3. But there could be no blaming the umpire for Sushant Modani’s dismissal, trying to cut a ball off the stumps only to see his off stump knocked back by Maqsood for 20 to end the ninth at 42 for 4. Things went from bad to worse in the 11th
when Sanjay Krishnamurthi was caught ballwatching after a flick off his pads behind square and failed to respond to Jaskaran Malhotra’s call from the non-striker’s end for a single. With both batsmen at the same end, Krishnamurthi belatedly set off to sacrifice himself as wicketkeeper Suraj Kumar’s throw came over the non-striker’s stumps in plenty of time to Maqsood for a third-ball duck to the teenager.
Malhotra could not make the most of the sacrifice offered up by Krishnamurthi, top edging an attempted heave for midwicket off Mohammed Nadeem to produce a skied catch over cover for Sandeep Goud for 21 to make it 75 for 6 in the 20th
. Nisarg Patel fell three overs later for 13, cramped for room on an attempted back foot punch through cover as a thin edge was well held by Kumar for left-arm spinning allrounder Ayan Khan’s first wicket.
Ayan should have had his second in the 27th
when Gore, on 16, edged a straightforward chance to Maqsood at slip that was juggled before going down. Ayan wound up striking two balls later to trap Nosthush Kenjige with an arm ball for 3 to make it 96 for 8, but the second life for Gore proved especially crucial as he cultivated a valuable stand with Hutchinson soon after. The 39-year-old counterattacked upon his arrival at No. 10, clubbing Ayan for six in the 29th
and again in the 31st
. His approach spurred Gore to use his feet charging down the pitch to Maqsood in the 32nd
for a lovely straight six over long-off. The burst of boundaries sparked defensive tactics from Maqsood, who took his catching fielders out and pushed everyone back only for Gore to edge another chance on 34 through vacant slip in the 34th
off Maqsood to go to the third man rope for four.
Gore’s luck finally ran out against Nadeem in the 37th
, late on an attempted flick across the line and given lbw for 44 off 46 balls. Hutchinson, who had been scoring at better than a run a ball while he was together with Gore, slowed down in an effort to stretch out the innings with 13 overs left to bat out alongside last man Saurabh Netravalkar. Hutchinson was cruelly denied a maiden ODI half-century after Netravalkar made a fatal call for a run to mid-on and was runout by five yards on a direct hit by Shoaib Khan into the non-striker’s stumps. Netravalkar was last man out for 5, Hutchinson stranded on 49 off 61 balls as USA were all out for 178 in 44.4 overs.
Ayan had Oman’s best figures ending with 2 for 29 in nine overs with two maidens. Nadeem claimed 2 for 34 in 10 overs with a maiden. Bilal ended with 2 for 49 in 8.4 overs. Kaleemullah took 1 for 26 in an extended seven-over new ball spell. Maqsood finished with 1 for 38 in his 10 overs.
The first several overs of the chase saw momentum rapidly see-saw between both sides. Fresh off his 60-ball century against Nepal, opener Jatinder Singh heaved the first ball from Netravalkar for a monstrous six over midwicket before flicking a boundary off his pads two balls later. But once he got off strike, Netravalkar trapped Shoaib Khan for a golden duck with an inswinger on middle stump. After another eight runs were taken off Karima Gore’s only over with the new ball, Monank Patel came up to the stumps for the start of Netravalkar’s second over and the ploy worked with Jatinder chopping a length ball onto his stumps for 17 off 10 balls to make it 20 for 2.
Though Netravalkar tried to maintain aggressive field settings in the Powerplay with USA needing wickets, having three slips for his own bowling, the captain would go to the other extreme at times with costly consequences. In the first over after the opening Powerplay finished, Hutchinson replaced Netravalkar with just one staggered catching fielder – Malhotra hovering around third slip – only to see an edge off Ayan on 8 fly just wide of Monank behind the stumps and pass through where an orthodox first slip would have been stationed as the ball went to the third man rope for four.
Oman coasted through much of the next half-hour, with a required run rate of less than four per over as Ayan and Maqsood constructed a 37-run partnership before Ayan was finally teased into a slog against the spin by Taylor, skying a catch to Kenjige coming in off the sweeper rope for 18 off 56 balls to make it 57 for 3. Kenjige similarly sucked Maqsood into a needless charge and heave for long-on where a miscued chance was taken safely by Rikhi running to his left for a sharp tumbling effort to make it 82 for 4 in the 28th
But wicketkeeper-batsman Kumar played a vital knock alongside Nadeem to take back momentum for Oman, coming up with crucial boundaries to release pressure whenever USA had worked hard to build up dot ball pressure. Not long after Maqsood fell, Suraj got off the mark driving Kenjige over mid-off for six. But USA missed another golden chance one over later when Malhotra again was standing too wide at slip to Nisarg’s left-arm spin and couldn’t cling on to a chance off Nadeem on 20 as the ball went off his fingertips diving left in the 31st
Another six by Suraj in the 36th
sent Krishnamurthi out of the attack after just two overs. But USA finally broke the 39-run stand in the 39th
when Netravalkar brought himself back into the attack for a third spell with Monank standing up to the stumps and induced an edge behind well held to send Nadeem off for 32 at 121 for 5. Suraj hit the captain back out of the attack one over later though, clubbing a huge six over midwicket to keep the required run rate in check. With less than a run a ball needed, Suraj threw away his wicket trying to heave Hutchinson over midwicket as well in the 43rd
as a change in angle coming around the wicket resulted in Suraj’s off stump knocked back for 35 to make it 143 for 6.
But even without two of their best batsmen in Khawar Ali and Aqib Ilyas, who both sat out the match injured, Oman still had plenty of batting depth to get across the line. However, Naseem Khushi and Sandeep Goud also benefitted off more poor catching from USA, with two more chances going down off Netravalkar in the 45th
. Khushi was on 1 when a mistimed pull shot was shelled by Nisarg diving forward at midwicket. Goud was on 10 when his attempted steer off an open face to third man came too fine off the bat and went through Monank’s gloves, turning into two runs. They were the last and arguably the costliest chances of the day with only the tail left to come. Khushi and Goud made the most of the extra lives, Khushi creaming a full toss for six off the final ball of the day bowled by Netravalkar in the 47th
to get the required run rate back to a run a ball.
With much of the middle order – including Khushi and Goud – looking nervy against left-arm spin having taken just three singles off Nisarg in the 48th
, Netravalkar opted to toss the ball to Hutchinson for the 49th
rather than Kenjige, Gore or Krishnamurthi, who all had overs remaining. Goud made the most of the pace on the ball, driving the first ball of the over past Krishnamurthi’s sliding effort on the cover sweeper rope for a boundary before pumping a length ball for six back down the ground to bring the equation down to five required off nine balls. By the end of the 49th
, just two singles were required and the pair knocked them off Nisarg with two balls remaining. Nadeem was named Player of the Match after his 32 to go along with two wickets in the first innings.
Netravalkar ended with 3 for 39 in 10 overs including two maidens. Taylor bowled a quality spell of offspin to tie down the left-handed pair of Maqsood and Ayan, ending with 1 for 24 in 10. Kenjige claimed 1 for 25 in seven overs and Hutchinson 1 for 31 in five overs. Nisarg bowled a tremendous spell of left-arm spin that went unrewarded, ending with 0 for 27 in 9.1 overs including a maiden. Krishnamurthi (0 for 11 in two), Gore (0 for 16 in four), Modani (0 for 3 in one) and Malhotra (0 for 1 in one) were also used as Rikhi and Monank were the only players not to appear in the bowling column for USA.
USA is straight back into action on Friday, September 17 with their third ODI of the tri-series, taking on Nepal at 2:30 pm local time, 6:30 am EST in the USA.