Ritu Singh put in a scintillating power-hitting display with a series of straight drives, both to and over the boundary, in her 37 off 16 balls to lift the USA Women to a winning total against Canada at Woodley Park.
Photo credit: Peter Della Penna
By Peter Della Penna in Los Angeles (Twitter/X @PeterDellaPenna)
St. Louis teenager Ritu Singh jolted Canada’s bowling unit with a furious six-hitting barrage, clearing the ropes three times during a belligerent 16-ball 37 that boosted USA Women to a total of 133 for 6, which wound up being more than enough to defend in a 25-run win against their border rivals to the north on day three of the 2023 ICC Americas Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier at Woodley Park in Van Nuys California. The result means USA now stands alone at the top of the tournament standings with a 3-0 record after the first round of the double round-robin event while Canada falls back to 2-1.
Singh pulled her first ball at the crease for six over square leg in the 14th over and struck two fours down the ground in the 15th before unleashing her wrath once again in the 18th with consecutive sixes over long-on to run away with Player of the Match honors. USA were 40 for 1 at the halfway point of their innings after losing the toss and being sent in, but added 70 off their final seven overs thanks in large part to Singh before Canada were held to 108 for 6 in their reply.
Entering the start of play, USA made one change to their XI after having gone unchanged for the first two days of the event as Jessica Willathgamuwa was subbed out in favor of left-handed opener Gargi Bhogle. The presence of Bhogle allowed USA to have their best Powerplay of the tournament, reaching 24 for 0 after six overs. The opening partnership with Disha Dhingra reached 27 before Dhingra fell punching a waist height return catch to teenage legspinner Mannat Hundal for 9 on the first ball of the eighth over. Bhogle went on to make 24 before she overbalanced and was out stumped against Amarpal Kaur’s offspin to make it 53 for 2 in the 12th. Anika Kolan made 20 after entering at No. 3 before she was given out lbw for the second match in a row, this time stuck on the crease playing down the wrong line to Kaur to make it 66 for 3 in the 14th.
But Singh swung the pendulum quickly back USA’s way with her ferocious knock, beginning with her very first ball clearing the leg side boundary against Kaur to end the 14th. Singh teamed with USA captain Sindhu Sriharsha for a 38-run partnership off just 21 balls as Sriharsha was equally adept at finding the boundary, clipping three fours in her knock before she was caught for 24 off 21 balls after top-edging a slog against Kaur to Vijayani Vithanage at midwicket in the ring to make it 104 for 4 with 16 balls left in the innings.
However, Isani Vaghela took a single to put Singh back on strike and the 17-year-old from Missouri blitzed Kaur’s final three balls for two, six and six, the last two shots clearing the boundary at long-on with ease to reach the Woodley Park access road separating Wright field from Marder and Wong across the street. Singh added 26 runs in partnership with Vaghela off of just 14 balls before she was finally caught at deep midwicket trying to heave a fourth six off Vithanage. But by that stage the damage had been done by Singh. Geetika Kodali was run out for 3 off the final ball of the innings, well short of making her ground on an attempted two, to give USA their final total of 133 for 6.
Kaur ended with Canada’s best figures of 3 for 30 in four overs despite being targeted by Singh. Vithanage claimed 1 for 21 in four while Hundal was expensive in her three overs, conceding 1 for 28. Saniyah Zia, Krima Kapadia and Divya Saxena combined for 9 overs to give away 54 runs without taking a wicket to round out Canada’s bowling figures.
USA looked shaky in the field early in Canada’s reply as Kodali leaked 12 runs in her opening over as she leaked two boundaries to Danielle McGahey while also conceding four wides, which was more than Canada gave away in their entire 20 overs in the field. Uzma Iftikhar’s offspin induced a straightforward chance at deep midwicket off McGahey on 18, but Vaghela shelled the opportunity. However, it wound up costing USA just 3 more runes as Suhani Thadani struck three balls after her arrival in the fifth over to break the opening stand, getting McGahey to feather an edge behind after a tame poke outside off stump to make it 32 for 1 in the fifth.
Kaur and Divya Saxena combined for a 26-run stand to keep Canada on course to haul down USA’s total, but Kaur fell for 8 top-edging an attempted sweep off Singh’s offspin that was well held by Bhogle running from midwicket to square leg in the ring. USA struck an equally devastating blow two overs later as confusion between Saxena and Achini Perera while attempting to take a single off a misfield in the covers resulted in Saxena being run out for 21 when Thadani alertly backed up the initial fumble and relayed in plenty of time to Sriharsha behind the stumps to make it 63 for 3. Perera then fell three balls later, slicing Vaghela’s medium pace to Bhogle at backward point for 3 to make it 63 for 4 in the 13th.
Even though Canada’s run rate was well ahead of USA at the same stage of the chase, they could not match USA’s middle-order power-hitting and the visitors soon wilted. Vithanage fell for a second-ball duck skying a heave to mid-on where Chetna Reddy Pagydyala took a simple catch to secure a wicket for Aditi Chudasama making it 68 for 5 one ball into the 14th. Kainat Qazi and Rhea Misra combined for a 38-run sixth-wicket partnership, but it came off of 34 balls, too slow to make up the ground needed to get to the target. The stand ended when Qazi was short of her ground for 24 at the non-striker’s end failing to beat a relay from Vaghela at extra cover to Thadani over the stumps. Misra ended unbeaten on 19 of 22 balls while Zia ended up on 1 not out.
In addition to top-scoring with 37 for USA, Singh ended with 1 for 6 in two overs. Chudasama and Vaghela claimed identical figures of 1 for 20 in four overs while Thadani ended with 1 for 21 in four. Iftikhar returned 0 for 19 in four overs while Pagydyala and Kodali each bowled a lone over conceding 9 and 13 runs respectively.
In the day’s other match, Brazil defeated Argentina by 78 runs. Brazil captain Roberta Moretti Avery top-scored with 47 not out in her side’s total of 105 for 4 before Argentina was bowled out for 27 in reply.
USA returns to action on Friday against Argentina at Woodley Park with a scheduled start time of 2 pm local time, 5 pm on the east coast.