USA Women's U19 committed five runouts against Australia and most were completed without the runner in the frame, quite literally as shown in this moment when Australia wicketkeeper Kate Pelle took the bails off to dismiss Isani Vaghela during USA's nine-wicket loss at the 2023 ICC Women's U19 T20 World Cup in South Africa.
Photo credit: Peter Della Penna
By Peter Della Penna in Benoni, South Africa (Twitter @PeterDellaPenna)
The historically poor running between the wickets by USA Women’s players at senior level has reared its head in the Women’s U19 squad in South Africa as poor fundamentals and poor communication lead to five runouts out of the ten wickets taken by Australia, who bowled USA Women’s U19 out for 64 in 15.3 overs before chasing the target with 11.2 overs to spare in a nine wicket rout in the second match of Group A on Monday afternoon at the 2023 ICC Women’s U19 T20 World Cup at Willowmoore Park in Benoni, South Africa.
Australia won the toss and chose to bowl first as USA made one change to their starting lineup from the loss to Sri Lanka. Suhani Thadani entered the XI in place of Pooja Shah.
USA’s best over of the match was the first one of play as 10 runs were taken off medium pacer Milly Illingworth. Disha Dhingra edged the second ball of play to the right of wicketkeeper Kate Pelle, but she waved underneath the ball as it carried on to the rope for a boundary. However, Dhingra could only manage 6 when she was eventually dismissed for the first runout of the day in the third over. A full length ball was driven by opening partner Laasya Mullapudi through cover and bounced away toward the rope. But Amy Smith gave chase and slapped the ball back before it could reach the rope. Smith’s effort was supported by Player of the Match Maggie Clark, who fired a relay over the stumps to Pelle. In the midst of this, both Mullapudi and Dhingra had hesitated on whether or not to stop at two runs or continue to run for a third. Even though they eventually started running for the third before Clark released her relay, the throw was powerful enough to beat Dhingra’s diving effort when the bails came off to make it 18 for 1.
Runout number two occurred in the fifth over when Mullapudi pushed a full delivery from captain Rhys McKenna to mid-off and called for a run. Anika Kolan was very late responding to the call and the throw from Sianna Ginger to the keeper Pelle at the striker’s end was in time as Kolan’s bat also became stuck in the turf short of the crease when she attempted to ground her bat across the line and resulted in her being dismisse for a five-ball duck to make it 19 for 1.
Mullapudi fell nine balls later for 10, driving a full delivery back at left-arm medium pacer Lucy Hamilton, who took a sharp return catch in front of her face to make it 27 for 3. Snigdha Paul entered at No. 5 and could have been runout victim number three when she pushed a full delivery from Hamilton to mid-on while on 6. Miller charged in and had three stumps to aim at from eight yards out but her throw was wide of the mark with Paul two yards short.
However, Australia did not miss their next opportunity in the following over when Paul got into a mixup with Isani Vaghela that resulted in Vaghela going back to the dugout for 8. Shortly after Vaghela was dropped on a regulation chance at mid-off, Paul drove straight to extra cover and called for a non-existent single. Vaghela initially stopped and looked to turn back to the non-striker’s end before being stranded mid-pitch as Paul passed her by the time the relay from Ella Hayward came over the striker’s end stumps to Pelle. One ball later, new batter Ritu Singh missed a straight ball playing across the line to Clark’s medium pacer for a golden duck to make it 41 for 5 in nine overs.
In the 10th over, Paul was then involved in the fourth runout of the innings which resulted in USA captain Geetika Kodali going off for 1. A flick straight to short midwicket was followed by another call of yes by Paul, and Kodali responded. The relay from Claire Moore to Pelle caught Kodali short by three yards, making it 48 for 6 at the 10-over drinks break.
Yet another runout was narrowly missed moments later to start the 11th over when Paul flicked to midwicket and set off on contact once again. Aditi Chudasama would have been out by two yards, but the relay to Pelle was wild and wound up resulting in five overthrows credited to Paul. Chudasama wound up lasting for eight balls before she chopped a cut onto her stumps against legspinner Smith to make it 56 for 7. Paul eventually made 17 before she also chopped on to her stumps, this time off a good length ball from the medium pace of Clark for her second wicket to make it 61 for 8 in the 15th.
Thadani was bowled for 3 playing across the line to a full delivery from Hayward at the start of the 16th. Two balls later, another runout appropriately ended USA’s innings for 64. Bhumika Bhadriraju flicked a good length ball off her pads behind square leg for what should have been an easy single. But Sai Eyyunni was very late setting off for a single and it allowed Smith to circle around from fine leg and relay in time to Pelle, who took the bails off with Eyyunni inches short.
Clark took 2 for 14 in four overs, in addition to contributing to the first runout of the day. Smith ended with 1 for 8 in three overs and was also involved in a runout. Hayward had figures of 1 for 4 in 2.3 overs including a maiden as well as her own runout contribution in the field. Hamilton was the other wicket-taker for Australia, claiming 1 for 8 in two overs. Australia captain McKenna went wicketless with 0 for 10 in two overs while new ball bowler Illingworth ended with 0 for 14 in two overs.
Aside from the stark contrast in fielding quality, Australia also showcased the difference in physical batting strength between the two sides when they came out for the start of the chase as Pelle drove the fourth ball of the innings by Paul over long-on for the first of three sixes by Australia. Pelle survived a simple dropped chance at mid-off on 10 two overs later, then rubbed salt into the wound in the fifth against Paul by driving her over midwicket for her second six.
Paul wound up being the only wicket-taker for USA on the day when she bowled Paris Bowdler with a good length delivery resulting in a missed heave across the line for 7. But that was USA’s last moment of joy on the day. Pelle charged Chudasama’s offspin and drove her over mid-off for a boundary in the sixth over to get momentum back in Australia’s direction. After a no ball was called for a delivery over waist height bowled by Bhadriraju to Pelle in the eighth over, Moore charged down the wicket on the free hit and launched Bhadriraju over wide long-on for six to cap a 16-run eighth over which put Australia two runs away from victory. Two more singles in the ninth over sealed the match as Pelle ended unbeaten on 30 off 26 balls while Moore ended on 22 not out off 17 balls.
Paul ended with figures of 1 for 21 in three overs. Thadani conceded nine runs in her only over with the new ball. Chudasama ended with 0 for 11 in two overs as USA’s most economical bowler on the day. Bhadiraju had 0 for 16 in her lone over while Eyyunni returned 0 for 8 in 1.4 overs.
Bangladesh defeated Sri Lanka by 10 runs in the other match of the day in Group A. Bangladesh scored 165 for 2 before restricting Sri Lanka to 155 for 4.
USA has a day off on Tuesday before resuming play in Group A on Wednesday when they take on undefeated Bangladesh in their final match of Group A starting at 10 am local time in South Africa, 3 am on the east coast in the USA. USA needs a win to have any chance of qualifying for the Super Sixes stage. A loss will guarantee that they will fall back into the 4th place crossover playoff with the last place team in Group D, which based on current standings projections will wind up being Scotland.
USA has also made one change to their touring squad in South Africa. Taranum Chopra sustained a fractured left thumb on January 9 on the day of USA’s first warm-up match against Scotland. The ICC announced on Tuesday that Tya Gonsalves has been confirmed as her replacement in the USA squad. Gonsalves arrived in South Africa on Tuesday morning, participated in the USA training session at Steyn City School in the afternoon and will be eligible for selection for all of USA’s remaining matches on tour.