USA Cricket News

USA Cricket: Norris stars on T20I debut as USA Women roll past Brazil by six wickets

2021 Oct 18 by DreamCricket USA

USA got their tournament off to a winning start with a six-wicket triumph over Brazil as Tara Norris starred with 2 for 5 in a Player of the Match performance. 

Image credit: Peter Della Penna

By Peter Della Penna in Mexico City (Twitter @PeterDellaPenna)
Left-arm fast bowler Tara Norris menaced Brazil’s batters with a hostile opening spell, taking 2 for 5 in four overs to help restrict Brazil to 63 before USA chased down the target with 23 balls to spare in a six-wicket win on the opening day of the 2021 ICC Americas Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier at the Reforma Club in Mexico City. Norris was named Player of the Match on her T20I debut, exploiting a bowler friendly wicket to great effect. 

"There's so much talent in this group," Norris said. "They're fantastic. Hopefully just keep bringing loads of energy to the team. The way they played today was brilliant. For my plans, obviously there wasn't much footage on the team. So for me it was trying not to overcomplicate it. Bowl full and straight."

Norris was one of six debutants on the day for USA as she was joined in the USA lineup for the first time by Moksha Chaudhary, Suhani Thadani, Anika Kolan, Gargi Bhogle, and Isani Vaghela. The 23-year-old took the new ball in the second over and struck with her second ball, pinning Marianne Artur with a full and straight delivery to win an lbw appeal. In her next over, Norris bowled a peach off a good length to bowl Laura Agatha for 2 to make it 15 for 2. 

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While Norris struck on her second ball of the day, 15-year-old Suhani Thadani went one better by taking a wicket on her very first delivery in T20 international cricket after entering the attack in the sixth over. Thadani got Brazil captain Roberta Moretti Avery to edge an attempted cut behind for an easy catch to captain Sindhu Sriharsha. Thadani became just the third woman in T20Is to accomplish the feat, following in the footsteps of South Africa’s Chloe Tryon in 2010 and USA teammate Akshatha Rao, who did it against Bangladesh at the 2019 Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier in Scotland.

"Honestly, it wasn't the ball that I expected to bowl," Thadani said. "It was a little outside off, almost a wide. But I was trying to stick to the plan like Tara said. I think a lot of the team got emotional and it was a very special moment."
Moksha Chaudhary was the next debutant to take a wicket, inducing a skied catch to Anika Kolan at point off the bat of Laura Cardoso in the seventh to make it 31 for 4. A string of runouts followed as USA showed off their sharp ground fielding and throwing arms to continue to keep Brazil contained. Kolan entered the fray again with a relay from point to Sriharsha to catch Erika Ribeiro out for 7 after a mixup between the wickets. Daniella Staddon fell in nearly identical circumstances as Shebani Bhaskar’s relay from cover to Sriharsha once again had a Brazil player out by several yards. The third in the sequence came from Akshatha Rao, whose relay to Uzma Iftikhar over the bowler’s stumps wound up claiming Evelyn De Souza without facing a ball to make it 49 for 7 in the 16th
Chaudhary came back to take the eighth and last wicket to fall in the innings as Nicole Monteiro was bowled attempting a leg side heave on the last ball of the 17th to make it 51 for 8. Chaudhary ended with 2 for 17 in her 4 overs. Norris bowled two maidens coming back late in the innings while Thadani also bowled a maiden to finish with 1 for 5 in three overs. Iftikhar bowled two maidens as well to finish with 0 for 2 in three overs. Akshatha Rao and Sara Farooq were the only wicketless bowlers on the day for USA, finishing with 0 for 6 in two overs and 0 for 14 in four overs respectively. Extras wound up top-scoring in the Brazil innings with 17 while Renata Sousa was the only player to reach double figures, ending unbeaten on 15 after entering at No. 6. 
In reply, USA got off to a slightly nervy start as vice-captain Bhaskar was runout without facing a ball in somewhat bizarre fashion. Bhaskar began the chase on strike but a first ball wide resulted in Bhaskar getting off strike with an extra run taken as the ball went past the wicketkeeper down the leg side. Off the first legal delivery, Gargi Bhogle pushed into midwicket and set off for a run that was denied by a direct hit from Brazil captain Avery to the striker’s end stumps. Bhogle then survived a missed runout chance on 4 in the seventh over and went on to make 10 before she flicked Sousa to Avery at midwicket in the 10th, making it 38 for 2.
Sriharsha and Kolan then set about getting USA closer to the finish line on what proved to be a very tricky wicket with uneven bounce as Sriharsha grinded out runs. Sriharsha had earlier struck USA’s first boundary over square leg before Kolan used her feet elegantly to Lara Bittencourt in the 13th, driving a pair of boundaries through extra cover and over mid-on to make it 56 for 2 after 13. 
USA then suffered a double hiccup with victory one stroke away. Kolan was bowled on a ball that stuck in the pitch from Monteiro with Kolan slightly early through the shot to go for 14. Isani Vaghela then fell for a four-ball duck on another delivery that popped off the pitch from uneven bounce to produce a catch behind giving Cardoso a wicket. But Norris struck a single on her only ball faced before Sriharsha ended the match with a two pulled through square leg, literally as the winning run came as a result of a misfield. Sriharsha ended unbeaten on 24 off 44 balls. 
In the day’s other game, Canada began their tournament on a winning note, clubbing Argentina by 72 runs. Divya Saxena was named Player of the Match after producing a run a ball 71 in Canada’s first innings total of 134 for 3 before Argentina was restricted to 62 for 9 in reply. 
USA faces Canada on day two of the tournament with the match slated for a 2 pm local start time in Mexico City. Brazil and Argentina will square off in the morning in a battle of winless sides to begin play at the Reforma Club.