USA U19 Women rampaged through the six regional sides in the West Indies Women's U19 T20 tournament to claim the tournament title in Trinidad on Wednesday.
Photo credit: Peter Della Penna
By Peter Della Penna (Twitter @PeterDellaPenna
The USA U19 Women’s squad left a lasting impression in their first appearance at the Cricket West Indies Rising Stars U19 Women’s T20 Championship, rampaging through the field of West Indies regional sides to finish undefeated in six matches and run away with the tournament title following a seven-wicket victory over Trinidad & Tobago to end round-robin play on Wednesday at Brian Lara Academy in Trinidad.
USA captain Geetika Kodali led the way for USA as one of four players tied for the team lead with four wickets during the tournament. Though USA’s internal depth and dominance over the tournament field meant allowed for a rotational policy to be used to ensure every player got an opportunity to contribute, Kodali still stood out not just for her wicket-taking ability, she finished with an average of 6.25, but also for her near flawless control as she tied down the opposition with a 1.92 economy rate in 13 overs through the event. Offspinner Bhumika Bhadriraju also claimed for wickets as did Jivana Aras, whose 3 for 6 in 1.5 overs in the abandoned match against Barbados were the best figures by a USA player in the tournament.
On the batting side, the rotational policy also allowed for numerous players to shine in an event where batting opportunities were limited due to USA fielding first in five of their six matches, and holding their opponents to under 100 runs in all but one match. Still, five players scored at least 50 runs in the event: Lisa Ramjit (50), Laasya Mullapudi (50), Anika Kolan (57), Chetnaa Prasad (67), and Snigdha Paul (82).
Both Kolan and Paul also had the distinction of not being dismissed in Trinidad. Paul scored USA’s best innings of the tournament when she blasted an unbeaten 81 off 53 balls with 14 fours in USA’s total of 169 for 2 against Leeward Islands. She was on course for a century when rain stopped the innings at the 17.5 over mark, denying her an opportunity to get to three-figures in an eventual 47-run win on DLS Methord after Leewards chase was ended by rain after they crawled to 16 for 1 in seven overs. Kolan then capped USA’s championship performance on the final day against Trinidad & Tobago with an unbeaten 46 off 45 balls, including four fours, to help USA chase a target of 94 with 23 balls to spare.
USA began the tournament with a seven-wicket win over Jamaica, chasing down a target of 50 with 8.4 overs to spare. They followed it up on day two with an eight-wicket win over Windward Islands, chasing down a target of 106 with 14 balls to spare. On match day three, they had Barbados under severe pressure at 16 for 3 in 3.5 overs before rain forced the game to be abandoned. But USA then came out a day later to crush Leeward Islands by another lopsided margin. USA’s most dominant win came by 10 wickets over Guyana on match day five when they held Guyana to 47 for 5 in 15 overs before chasing a revised DLS target of 53 in just 9.1 overs. They then knocked off Trinidad & Tobago on the final day in convincing fashion.
USA U19 Women are expected to host a West Indies U19 Women’s side in Florida in August with official dates and venue yet to be announced. The squad will travel to South Africa in January 2023 to take part in the inaugural ICC U19 World Cup as the representative from the Americas region.