USA Women's captain Sindhu Sriharsha piloted her side to a sometimes nervy win over Brazil by steering USA out of early trouble with an unbeaten 52 off 50 balls including four boundaries.
Photo credit: Peter Della Penna
By Peter Della Penna in Los Angeles (Twitter/X @PeterDellaPenna)
USA Women’s captain Sindhu Sriharsha dug her side out of early trouble, entering in the final over of the Powerplay and batting through to the end to finish with an unbeaten 52 off 42 balls in a total of 106 for 6 before Isani Vaghela and Chetna Reddy Pagydyala took three wickts apiece to help wipe out Brazil for 67 in a 39-run win on day two of the 2023 ICC Americas Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier at Woodley Park in Van Nuys, California. Sriharsha was named Player of the Match after striking four boundaries in her third career T20I half-century which took USA’s record to 2-0 in the double round-robin event.
USA played an unchanged XI from their day one win over Argentina but lost the toss for the second match in a row and was sent in this time by Brazil. Disha Dhingra was the first wicket to fall in the fourth over, top edging an attempted pull against Carolina Silva Nascimento that found the hands of Maria Garcia Silva at midwicket inside the ring for 5 to make it 11 for 1. Anika Kolan entered next and made just 4 before paying the price for going back and playing across the line to a fuller delivery from Nicole Monteiro and was given out lbw for 4 to make it 16 for 2.
Sriharsha arrived and teamed with Jessica Willathgamuwa for a 37-run stand to get USA back on course despite sluggish outfield conditions combined with early morning dew at Wright Field. Willathgamuwa stroked two boundaries during the partnership as part of her 24 off 36 balls before tried to clear Lindsay Vilas Boas in the ring at mid-on and was caught to give Brazil captain Roberta Moretti Avery her first wicket of the day to make it 53 for 3 in the 13th.
Wickets continued to fall regularly through the rest of the innings, but Sriharsha ensured that USA doubled their score across the final 45 balls with her typical blend of wristy glances behind point combined with straight drives over the top of the infield to keep Brazil from gaining momentum. Ritu Singh was the fourth wicket to fall, edging an attempted cut behind off Avery for 2 in the 15th before Vaghela spliced a return catch to Renata de Sousa for 3 to make it 68 for 5 in the 16th. Geetika Kodali made 6 before she tried to take on a suicide single and was defeated by a relay from Avery to Laura Cardoso over the stumps for 6 to make it 91 for 6 with 7 balls to go in the innings.
However, Sriharsha saved her best for last, striking three of her four boundaries across the final two overs including a 13-run 20th over alongside Pagydyala. The USA captain brought up her half-century off 41 balls with a pull through square leg, then capped off the innings with a two through the off side to end undefeated on 52.
Avery finished with 2 for 16 in three overs to lead Brazil in the bowling column. Nascimento ended with 1 for 16 in her four overs while de Sousa and Monteiro each finished with 1 for 18 in their four overs.
Though the final margin may not indicate it, Brazil threatened to upset USA in the early stages of their chase, reaching 31 for 1 at the end of the six-over Powerplay. Vilas Boas got Brazil off to a sensational start, striking two boundaries off Willathgamuwa’s left-arm pace during a 12-run opening over. USA struck back in the second thanks to Aditi Chudasama as a sharp turning offbreak resulted in an inside edge from Laura Agatha onto leg stump for a second-ball duck.
Vilas Boas combined with Avery for a 20-run stand across the next four overs as both found the boundary to make USA sweat the prospect of a historic result against the hosts. But with the Powerplay restrictions over and more fielders pushed out to the boundary, Vilas Boas tried to take on Vaghela’s first ball after entering in the seventh over and heaved a chance to long-on that was easily held by Dhingra five yards inside the rope to dismiss Vilas Boas for 18 off 14 balls at 32 for 2.
Nobody else would come remotely close to having a strike rate of a run a ball as Brazil suddenly spiraled quickly downhill. Vaghela had a hat-trick ball to bowl for the second day in a row when she bowled Cardoso with a full delivery for a golden duck to make it 32 for 3 before she claimed her third in the 11th, getting Monnike Machado to shovel a leading edge to Singh at cover for 4 making it 47 for 4.
Pagydyala entered the attack in the 15th over and quickly made her mark with the ball, taking a sharp return catch off her first delivery to dislodge Avery for 25 making it 58 for 5. Chudasama returned at the opposite end in the 16th and took her second wicket, inducing a drive from Nascimento to Pagydyala at mid-off for a six-ball duck to make it 60 for 6. Pagydyala then took two more in the 17th in what was a team hat-trick that began with the runout of de Sousa, who was defeated by an underhand flick from 10 yards at mid-off into the non-striker’s stumps by Dhingra to fall for 9. Pagydyala then got a very generous lbw decision on a ball that pitched six inches outside leg stump but defeated Marianne Artur playing across the line for a four-ball duck. Pagydyala rounded out the sequence by claiming Maria Garcia with another heave across the line that resulted in the stumps being knocked back for a golden duck.
The 15-year-old Pagydyala never got to bowl her hat-trick ball though to start the 19th over after she was replaced in the attack by Suhani Thadani, who took the final wicket by getting Maria Riberio to sky a catch to Vaghela at mid-off for 2 as Brazil ended all out for 67 in 18.5 overs. Monteiro was left unbeaten on 2 for the Brazilians.
Pagydyala ended with USA’s best figures on the day, claiming 3 for 4 in two overs while Vaghela’s impressive tournament continued with figures of 3 for 8 in four overs which gives her an overall tally of 7 wickets for 15 runs across the first two matches. Chudasama ended with 2 for 9 including a maiden in her four overs of offspin while Thadani claimed 1 for 13 in 2.5 overs. Willathgamuwa, Uzma Iftikhar and Kodali combined to finish with 0 for 32 off six overs.
In the second match of the day, Canada defeated Argentina by 86 runs to also move to 2-0 alongside USA. Canada captain Divya Saxena was named Player of the Match after top-scoring with 64 off 51 balls in Canada’s total of 131 for 6 before Argentina was bowled out for 45 in reply. It means that Canada now has a +0.525 net run rate advantage over USA after two days of the tournament, putting them in first place on the tournament tiebreaker.
All teams have a rest day on Wednesday before play resumes on Thursday when USA takes on Canada in the opening match of the day starting at 9:30 am local time in California.