Anika Kolan fell two short of her second half-century of the tournament, but her 48 was still enough to claim Player of the Match honors in a victory over Argentina to push USA Women to a 4-0 record in the 2023 ICC Americas Women's T20 World Cup Qualifier.
Photo credit: Peter Della Penna
By Peter Della Penna in Los Angeles (Twitter/X @PeterDellaPenna)
After a maiden T20I half-century in the first matchup between the two sides four days earlier, 17-year-old batter Anika Kolan top-scored with 48 off 60 balls to pace USA Women’s innings in a 72-run win over Argentina on day four of the 2023 ICC Americas Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier at Woodley Park in Van Nuys, California. Kolan top-scored in USA’s total of 132 for 7 before Argentina was bowled out for 60 in reply to maintain USA’s undefeated record in the tournament while Argentina is still in search of their first victory.
USA lost the toss and was put in to bat for the fourth match in a row with two changes made to the lineup. Onika Wallerson made her first appearance for USA since September 2019 while 19-year-old Jivana Aras made her USA senior debut as Chetna Reddy Pagydyala and Uzma Iftikhar were rotated out.
Kolan stayed until the penultimate ball of the innings after arriving in the second over when Gargi Bhogle’s attempted whip through the leg side off a full delivery from Mariana Martinez that was tailing well down the leg side wound up clipping her back foot before ricocheting back onto the stumps to fall for 12 making it 16 for 1. Kolan was given a life in the fifth over on 1, driving straight to extra cover where Maria Castineiras grassed the chance. Castineiras atoned for the error one over later by making a sharp relay to wicketkeeper Malena Lollo from the same fielding region on Kolan’s attempted tap and run single as Disha Dhingra was slow responding from the non-striker’s end and wound up being run out for 9 to make it 26 for 2.
Kolan and USA captain Sindhu Sriharsha teamed to add 35 for the third wicket as Sriharsha dominated the partnership with a fluent 23 off 22 but could not convert a solid start and was given out lbw to Albertina Galan after shuffling too far across her stumps to repeat a pull behind square. Ritu Singh lasted just two balls and was caught at deep midwicket for the second day in a row, this time for 1, to give Alison Stocks a wicket making it 66 for 4 in the 13th. Galan took her second in the 14th to make it three wickets in three overs when she had Isani Vaghela splicing a drive to Alina Emch at mid-off for 5 to make it 76 for 5.
Geetika Kodali arrived at No. 7 though and along with Kolan the pair quelled any thoughts of a possible upset by producing a 55-run partnership for the sixth wicket that was dominated by Kolan. It began with a pair of boundaries struck by Kolan in the 15th, her first of the innings, before she took the aerial route again to clear mid-on in the 18th for another boundary. With Kolan on 48 and Kodali on strike with two balls remaining in the innings, Kodali heaved out to deep midwicket for a single, but Kolan bypassed the chance to keep the strike for a possible half-century off the final ball of the innings and instead charged back for an attempted two that wound up in vain as a relay from Castineiras at deep midwicket to Stocks over the non-striker’s stumps resulted in Kolan’s innings coming to an end. Kodali was runout off the final ball of the innings for 20 off 14 balls similarly attempting a non-existent two and falling well short of the relay to the wicketkeeper.
Galan ended with figures of 2 for 19 in her four overs. Martinez tallied 1 for 22 in four while Stocks returned 1 for 25 in four. Lucia Taylor, Constanza Sosa and Emch combined to return figures of 0 for 65 in eight overs.
A day after being bowled out for 27 by Brazil, Argentina generated a much feistier effort with the bat. Veronica Vasquez partnered with Taylor in an 18-run opening stand before Vasquez fell to Vaghela driving low to Kolan diving forward at mid-off for 11. Taylor fell to Singh’s first ball in the seventh over for 11 without anything further added to the team total, slicing a catch to Wallerson at short third on the circle. Galan then played down the wrong line to a good length ball from Suhani Thadani for a five-ball duck to make it 22 for 3 in the eighth.
Castineiras and Martinez partnered for a 20-run partnership for the fourth wicket, Argentina’s best of the match, to keep USA’s bowling unit frustrated for the next 20 minutes of play before Aras finally broke the stand with her maiden T20I wicket by trapping Castineiras for 18 on the crease with a back of a length delivery to win an appeal lbw making it 42 for 4. Singh then teamed up with Wallerson who took her second catch at short third to dismiss Stocks for a four-ball duck.
Argentina wicketkeeper Malena Lollo skied an attempted pull against Aditi Chudasama’s offspin that swirled over the pitch before Sriharsha ran forward to complete a juggling catch making it 54 for 6. That sparked a slide of four wickets for two runs as Chudasama produced a classical offspinner’s dismissal with a sharp turning delivery to pierce the gap between bat and pad on a forward poke by Julieta Cullen for a three-ball duck. Kodali returned to the attack in the 18th after a lone over with the new ball and speared in a pair of yorkers that connected with the base of the stumps to remove Martinez for 10 and then Sosa three balls later without scoring leaving the score at 56 for 9. Thadani came back to wrap up the innings getting Catalina Greloni to slice a straightforward catch to Dhingra at backward point for 5 as Argentina were dismissed in 18.4 overs.
Four bowlers shared two wickets apiece for USA, led by Kodali’s figures of 2 for 3 in two overs. Thadani claimed 2 for 9 in 2.4 overs while Chudasama had an economical haul of 2 for 11 in four overs. Singh rounded out the group with 2 for 14 in her four overs. Vaghela ended with 1 for 5 in three overs to give her a team-leading nine wickets in the tournament while Aras ended with 1 for 8 in two overs. Wallerson was the only bowler to go wicketless on the day for USA, conceding 10 runs in her only over.
In the day’s other match, Canada defeated Brazil by 60 runs as Amarpal Kaur picked up her second four-wicket haul of the tournament to be named Player of the Match, helping to bowl out Brazil for 62 in reply to Canada’s 122 for 9.
All teams have a rest day on Saturday before the tournament resumes on Sunday September 10. Canada faces Argentina in the first match of the day at 9:30 am local time in California before USA takes on Brazil in the afternoon with a scheduled 2 pm start at Woodley Park.