USA has now lost 10 straight matches against their gulf rivals after a 72-run defeat in Muscat on Monday despite a half-century from Monank Patel.
Zeeshan Maqsood file photo courtesy: Peter Della Penna
By Peter Della Penna (Twitter @PeterDellaPenna
Oman captain Zeeshan Maqsood’s run a ball 53 laid the platform for a disciplined bowling effort capped by Player of the Match Ayaan Khan’s 4 for 36 as USA ended their tour of Oman with a 72-run loss to the hosts in the final ODI on Monday at Al Amerat Cricket Ground. USA’s attempt to chase down what would have been their highest successful chase in 50-over cricket crumbled after the final drinks break under lights as they ended the ODI tri-series in Oman against Nepal and table-toppers Oman with just one win out of four matches. It's Oman's 10th straight win over USA in 50-over cricket, with USA's last victory over them coming all the way back in the 2016 WCL Division Four Final at Woodley Park in Los Angeles.
Set a target of 275, USA entered the final passage of play at 161 for 5 in 34 overs. But in the first over after play resumed, Karima Gore was given out for 17 to Ayaan on one of several questionable lbw decisions during the match. From 187 for 6, USA were still in with a decent chance before losing their last four wickets in the space of 14 balls as Gajanand Singh’s ill-fated charge to legspinner Khawar Ali triggered a rapid collapse to be 202 all out in 39.5 overs.
USA captain Saurabh Netravalkar won the toss and chose to send Oman in to bat first as Jatinder Singh came out to the middle with a new opening partner in Pruthvikumar Macchi, who was making his ODI debut for Oman. USA also made two changes to their lineup, bringing in Gajanand and Dominique Rikhi in place of Sushant Modani and Sanjay Krishnamurthi.
Jatinder took a more measured approach at the start compared to his guns blazing starts from the first three ODIs Oman played in the series, as he didn’t hit his first boundary until the third over. The new opening partnership with Macchi produced a 58-run stand before USA finally made their first breakthrough just after the end of the Powerplay as Macchi edged an attempted cut behind the stumps to Monank Patel for 25 off the bowling of Nosthush Kenjige. Jatinder carried on to 42, surviving a pair of tight runout chances from Elmore Hutchinson and Kenjige, each off their own bowling on 36 and 41 respectively, before he finally was given out on a dubious lbw decision after missing an attempted switch hit. Replays showed he was struck well outside the line of off stump but Kenjige’s appeal was upheld to claim his second wicket at 86 for 2 in the 19th
. Mohammed Nadeem became the third player to fall to left-arm spin on the day, slog sweeping Karima Gore to deep midwicket where a swirling top edge was taken by Netravalkar for 11 to make it 115 for 3 at the halfway mark of the innings.
Maqsood arrived at No. 5 and signaled his intentions to reprise the swashbuckling theatrics of hie early days in the Oman lineup when he opened the batting with incredible flair. A slog swept six sent Kenjige out of the attack in the 21st
, one of six sixes he smashed over the leg side rope as he dominated a 69-run stand with Ayaan. Maqsood was at it again in the 28th
off Netravalkar, pulling him over the leg side rope for his second maximum before another pair of maximums off Gore in the 30th
cleared the rope. After calming down for a brief five-over stretch, he smashed Hutchinson over the leg side rope for his fourth six, then slog swept Taylor over wide midwicket for another in the 37th
He brought up his half-century off 48 balls in style with his sixth six pulling Kyle Phillip flat over midwicket. Maqsood’s downfall came in the following over, trying to repeat the slog sweep that had brought him so many runs but he failed to get the elevation in smoking a Taylor delivery straight to Monank on the ring at midwicket, who had taken the wicketkeeping gloves off midway through the innings and handed them to Jaskaran Malhotra.
Ayaan fell two overs later to Kenjige upon his first over back into the attack, slogging flat to Phillip at long-on for 41 to make it 191 for 5 with 9.3 overs to go. But Oman’s lower order continued to power on, adding 85 runs off the last 57 balls in spite of losing a few more wickets. Suraj Kumar was runout by an outstanding relay from Taylor in the covers to Malhotra for 9 before Sandeep Goud was out for 25 missing a sweep to be stone dead to Nisarg Patel in the 48th
over at 241 for 7. But Naseem Khushi provided a powerful final flourish for Oman, bashing Netravalkar for two sixes over midwickets in the 47th
before taking advantage of a costly drop off Phillip on the last ball of the 49th
when a mistimed scoop was shelled by Nisarg at short fine leg on 26. Kaleemullah heaved Nisarg for six over midwicket on the fourth ball of the final over before Khushi rubbed salt into the wound by dancing down the track and smashing a six over long-on off the last ball of the innings to complete a 16-run frame, ending on 35 not out off 22 balls. Kaleemullah finished unbeaten on 16.
Kenjige ended with 3 for 49 in 10 overs while Taylor bowled an efficient spell against Oman’s left-handers to end with 1 for 38 in 10. Barring his final over, Nisarg bowled very well and ended with 1 for 44 in eight with a maiden while Gore claimed 1 for 27 in three overs. Netravalkar was hit hard at the death to end with 0 for 54 in seven while Phillip (0 for 43 in six) and Hutchinson (0 for 18 in six) completed a wicketless day for USA’s seamers.
With Modani dropped, Rikhi was sent in to open with Taylor but it failed to have the desired result for either player. Rikhi struggled in his eight-ball stay before he was finally given out lbw to an inswinger from Bilal Khan. Taylor struggled for fluence at the other end, eventually striking USA’s first boundary in the sixth over before perishing two overs later when he dragged a length ball from Kaleemullah onto his stumps for 7 to make it 22 for 2.
Nisarg was sent in at No. 4 to join Monank and the pair did reasonably well to rebuild USA’s innings with a 44-run partnership. But like he had done throughout the tour, Nisarg failed to capitalize on what looked like a promising start, misreading a googly from Khawar to be bowled for 16. It was the fourth time Nisarg had passed 10 on tour without getting past his top score in Oman of 21. Monank carried on for his second fifty-plus score of the tour having survived an edged chance in Ayaan’s first over that was spilled at slip by Khawar on 37. He brought up the half-century off 52 balls with a beautiful drive over long-off for six against Ayaan but was given out caught behind for 56 in Ayaan’s next over on a sharp turning delivery, though replays indicated no deviation as the ball passed the bat on Monank’s attempted flick.
Malhotra repeatedly tried and failed to slog sweep Oman’s spinners over midwicket before he finally paid the price when Maqsood bowled him with an arm ball to defeat Malhotra’s slog sweep for 17 in the 29th
at a time when USA’s required run rate was only a touch above a run a ball. Gajanand survived a missed runout chance in the next over on 20 by Khawar at cover but gave USA a momentum boost heading into the final drinks break with a pair of boundaries off Kaleemullah as part of a 12-run over.
Coming out of the drinks break though, Gore once again fell victim to a very optimistic lbw appeal prodding forward to an arm ball from Ayaan as replays showed he may have been struck outside the line of off stump. Gajanand and Hutchinson fired back in the following over, each smashing Khawar for six. But with USA’s required run rate still hovering at a very manageable 6.95, Gajanand’s attempt to bring up a would-be maiden ODI half-century for USA with a charge down the pitch backfired as he swiped and missed at Khawar to be stumped for 48 at 187 for 7.
Hutchinson struck a pair of lusty blows off Khawar to the boundary to end the 38th over, but that was the last bit of fight left in USA. Netravalkar cut the first ball of the 39th
from Ayaan to backward point for a diving catch to be pulled off by sub fielder Nestor Dhamba. Hutchinson then drove Ayaan four balls later to Jatinder at long-off to fall for 14 before Phillip become Khawar’s third victim to end the match, walking through an attempted flick to be stumped for 1.
Aside from Ayaan’s career-best figures, Khawar capped a strong comeback to the side with 3 for 49 having missed the rest of the tri-series due to injury. Bilal took 1 for 17 in his five overs while Maqsood ended with 1 for 30 in seven. Kaleemullah claimed 1 for 37 in his seven overs. Nadeem was the only wicketless bowled in the Oman attack, ending with 0 for 27 in four limp overs before leaving the field for Dhamba.
USA has five ODI tri-series remaining as part of Cricket World Cup League Two. They are due to host a pair of series in 2022 welcoming Nepal and Oman in the corresponding leg of this series as well as another tri-series involving UAE and Scotland that was the first series postponed due to the Covid pandemic from its originally scheduled date of April 2020. USA is also due to tour Papua New Guinea, Scotland and Namibia at some point in 2022 or early 2023. USA currently sits in second place on 14 points from 16 matches, eight points behind Oman. However, Scotland and Nepal on nine and eight points respectively have played half as many matches as USA in the tournament thus far. Namibia also sit alongside Nepal on eight points having played just seven matches while UAE sit in sixth place on seven points from seven matches. Papua New Guinea is in last place, having lost all eight of their matches thus far.