The wicket of USA Women's captain Sindhu Sriharsha sparked a collapse for USA as they lost their last eight wickets for 25 runs before Ireland coasted to a nine-wicket win in Abu Dhabi.
Photo credit: Peter Della Penna
By Peter Della Penna in Abu Dhabi (Twitter @PeterDellaPenna)
A promising start for the second match in a row ended in disappointing fashion as USA could not capitalize on a 44-run partnership between captain Sindhu Sriharsha and Disha Dhingra, spiraling from 66 for 2 in 12 overs to lose their last eight wickets for 25 runs before Ireland chased a target of 92 with 6.5 overs to spare in a nine-wicket defeat of USA on match day two of the 2022 ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier in Abu Dhabi. Amy Hunter was named player of the match for Ireland after making 43 off 40 balls in Ireland’s chase before she was dismissed by 15-year-old legspinner Sai Eyyunni when only one run was needed to win. T
The loss means that USA is eliminated from semifinal contention while Ireland has setup a de facto quarterfinal against Scotland on the last day of group play. With both teams at 1-1 following Scotland’s loss to Bangladesh, it means that the winner of the Scotland v Ireland match will advance to the semifinals with Bangladesh while the loser will drop back into the plate semi-final along with USA.
USA won the toss and chose to bat first with one change in the lineup as Anika Kolan came in for Taranum Chopra. USA’s woes between the wickets were evident once again in this match as Mahika Kandanala became the first of four runout victims on the night when she chipped into midwicket and set off for a run but was sent packing for 6 in the third over by a direct hit from Hunter into the non-striker’s stumps.
But USA rebounded well from the early loss behind Sriharsha, who got off the mark second ball gliding a late cut through third man for the first of her three boundaries. Both of her other fours came in similar fashion as she steadily rebuilt the innings with Dhingra. The 15-year-old scored two boundaries of her own and survived a one-handed chance at mid-on that could not be held by Leah Paul off the bowling of Eimarr Richardson on 14 in the 9th over. However, Dhingra only managed to add nine more to her total before she fell slicing a drive to backward point off legspinner Cara Murray for 23 to make it 52 for 2.
Still, USA was in a good position at the 12-over mark to launch for a total well past 100, but Sriharsha was bowled by Ireland captain Laura Delany going for an expansive heave over the leg side to fall for 25. That’s as many runs as USA managed collectively for the rest of the innings as a catastrophic middle-order collapse soon followed with another three runouts mixed in.
Lisa Ramjit fell three balls after Sriharsha for 3, runout after calling for a run from the non-striker’s end off a flick to square leg by Isani Vaghela only for a relay from Jane Maguire to catch Ramjit short despite a diving effort. Ritu Singh survived being caught off a no-ball before she had scored before she and Vaghela inched along to 82 for 4 with 15 balls to go. But USA’s last six wickets fell off the last 15 balls for just nine runs. Singh was runout for 5 after hesitating on a push to point with a relay from Delany to bowler Arlene Kelly arriving in plenty of time.
Vaghela survived a dropped chance off the final ball of the 18th at mid-on only to fall on the very next ball to start the 19th, slicing Delany to backward point off the bowling of Richardson to fall for 13. Geetika Kodali was spilled first ball at midwicket before slicing a catch to cover two balls later for 1.
Snigdha Paul made 1 before she began the final over beaten trying to drive Kelly and bowled to make it 87 for 8. Bhumika Bhadriraju late cut Kelly for four through third man off her first ball after entering at No. 10, but those were the last runs of the innings for USA. Off the penultimate ball of the innings, Bhadriraju set off after a swing and miss that was briefly fumbled by wicketkeeper Mary Waldron before Waldron recovered to take the bails off for the fourth runout against USA. Sai Eyyunni then was stumped off the final ball of the innings overbalancing after a big heave to become Kelly’s second victim.
Kelly ended with 2 for 17 in four overs while Richardson took 2 for 19 in her four. Murray ended with 1 for 26 but Delany was Ireland’s standout contributor in the field, ending with 1 for 6 in four overs including a maiden as well as taking three catches and contributing to one runout.
Ireland was merciless in pursuit of the target as Hunter and Gaby Lewis peppered the boundaries regularly behind point. Lewis ended with four fours, all of them behind point, while Hunter finished with two boundaries as well as one six that was driven back over Vaghela’s head in the third over.
USA had two brief opportunities to dent Ireland’s progress, but neither was taken. An edge by Hunter one ball after her six in the third over on 15 just barely eluded Sriharsha’s diving effort going full extension to her right. Lewis was shelled on a much easier chance on 26 trying to slog sweep Eyyunni’s legspin to deep midwicket where Vaghela could not hold on to a regulation chance at waist height five yards in from the rope.
Eyyunni finally struck for her maiden T20I wicket on the fifth ball of the 13th over as Hunter charged down the track trying to smash the ball down the ground to end the match but was foxed by a googly and bowled with one run left to win. Lewis ended the match with a single through the off side two balls later. Aside from Eyyunni’s figures of 1 for 22 in four overs, Bhadriraju ended as USA’s most economical bowler conceding 0 for 16 in her three overs.
USA has a rest day on Tuesday before going back into action on Wednesday against Bangladesh in the final match of Group A. Start time is 3 pm local time, 7 am EST in the USA.