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USA Cricket: 2019 ICC T20 WCQ Americas Regional Final Report Card Part 2 – Player Grades

2019 Aug 28 by DreamCricket USA

Photo credit: Peter Della Penna

In part two of DreamCricket's tour report card breakdown of the disappointing tour of Bermuda for 2019 T20 World Cup Qualifying, all 14 players have been graded based on their performances throughout USA's six matches on tour. 

By Peter Della Penna (Twitter @PeterDellaPenna)
 
For those unfamiliar with how individual players have been graded in the past as part of DreamCricket’s post-tournament report cards, each player is evaluated with regards to their specific role in the team on a match-by-match basis and not solely based on overall aggregate stats.
 
In T20 cricket in particular, heavy emphasis is given to top-order batsmen, who generally have the most opportunities to influence a match, compared to middle or lower order batsmen. On the bowling side, new ball and death bowling are likewise given extra attention.
 
Players who excel under pressure and against higher quality opposition are graded more favorably. Overall chances given by a batsman, as well as overall chances created by a bowler, are taken into consideration regardless of total runs scored or wickets taken. Bonus marks are given for good fielding while a player can also be downgraded for weak fielding including dropped chances.
 
For this particular tour, heavy emphasis has also been given to the performances through the first four matches, when USA was still alive in the tournament. After their loss to Bermuda on day four, they were eliminated from advancing to the qualifier in the UAE in October, turning the final two matches against Cayman Islands and Canada into dead rubbers.
 
With those guidelines laid out, here are DreamCricket’s player grades for 2019 ICC T20 World Cup Qualifier Americas Regional Final in Bermuda, where USA finished in third place with a 2-4 record, failing to qualify for the T20 World Cup Qualifier.
 
Xavier Marshall: F
 
From the moment he got to the crease against Bermuda on the opening day of the tournament, Marshall looked completely out of sorts. Not once did he try to hit a genuine power shot in the 10 balls he stayed at the crease, eventually getting out to a limp flick to square leg for 4. That innings set the tone for USA’s entire week in Bermuda.
 
Marshall stumbled again against Cayman Islands the next day, at fault for the runout of Jaskaran Malhotra when Marshall had gone into a shell refusing to take any risks. He was dropped on 3 in the fourth over, which actually was beneficial to Cayman Islands because he scratched his way to 12 before being caught off a full toss at deep midwicket in the 12th over. USA management tried to coax him out of his shell on day three against Canada and it worked for two overs as he reached 15 off 10 balls, but he scored just 7 off his final 14 deliveries before he was stumped charging Nikhil Dutta. Marshall was given a long leash for his early failures and kept in the lineup against Bermuda on day four but got out playing a low percentage shot trying to clear long-on, one of the only two men outside the ring in the Powerplay. He was also a liability in the field, dropping a basic chance at long-off in the waning stages of Bermuda’s chase before shelling another chance at deep midwicket on day five against Cayman Islands. His tournament ended somewhat symbolically, bowled by a straight ball for a second-ball duck against Cayman Islands before he was mercifully dropped for the last day against Canada.
 
On the whole Marshall scored 55 runs in five innings. It’s far below what’s expected of a hard-hitting opening batsman in T20 cricket, but especially someone who was taken in the 2019 CPL Draft by Jamaica Tallawahs after having helped USA to ODI status with a century against Hong Kong at WCL Division Two in Namibia. Nobody doubts Marshall’s talent, but his confidence levels need to be rebuilt from the low point of this tour.
 
Monank Patel: F
 
As bad as Marshall was over the first four matches, Monank was even worse. He scored 31 runs in four innings, with a best of 19 off 12 balls on day three against Canada when he had been promoted up the order in place of Jaskaran Malhotra having failed at No. 4 on the first two days with scores of 3 off 8 balls and 3 off 12 balls. It was a classic case of failing upwards. Monank did nothing to justify a promotion and yet there he found himself back at the top of the order.
 
It also highlighted a major problem with USA’s T20 selection. Essentially, four openers were in the squad once Sunny Sohal arrived mid-tour. USA management made clear that they preferred Marshall and Malhotra as the best opening combo at the start of the tour. The issue is that Monank takes a long time to build an innings. Slotting him in alongside Aaron Jones means two similar style slow starters batting alongside each other when there is really only room for one in the middle order. At the moment, Jones is a far more consistent performer. It means that if Monank wasn’t one of the best two openers, then he really should have been on the bench. Instead, team management tried to put a square peg in a round hole and the entire batting order became disrupted as a result throughout the tournament.
 
Given another chance to open against Bermuda on day four, he failed again, caught for 6 at midwicket. Like Marshall, he should have been out for a duck against Cayman Islands on day five but a simple chance was shelled by Cayman Islands’ worst fielder at extra cover. On the last day, when the tournament was already over for USA, he made 26 off 15 balls against Canada which was his best start and best score of the tournament.

But that final day knock highlights another problem with Monank: he hasn’t made a meaningful run in pressure circumstances since his opening day century against Uganda at WCL Division Three in Oman, and even that came after Uganda captain Roger Mukasa missed a free shot from midwicket to run him out in the first over before he had scored a run. His only two 50+ scores since then were making 60 not out in a nine-wicket win on the last day of USA’s tour of the UAE, chasing a small target of 143 after Steven Taylor and Ali Khan had ripped apart the UAE lineup, and likewise scoring 70 not out in a 10-wicket win against Papua New Guinea in Namibia when Karima Gore and Khan had wiped out PNG for 127. Needless to say, neither scenario was filled with any meaningful pressure. Otherwise, his contributions are sparse, especially under pressure, and serious consideration needs to be given to his role going forward.
 
Steven Taylor: C-
 
Six years ago as a 19-year-old, Taylor blasted twin hundreds against Bermuda and Cayman Islands at this same tournament when it was staged in Florida. Match-winning performances with the bat have been few and far between since then. His 162 against Nepal on the opening day of 2013 WCL Division Three in Bermuda occurred a month later but the tournament was more memorable for his own failures over the next four days that contributed heavily to USA being overtaken by Nepal on net run rate to go to the World Cup Qualifier. It took three years for him to make another meaningful score with his unbeaten 124 against Oman on home soil at WCL Division Four in Los Angeles. He went quiet again for two years before playing the finest knock in USA’s T20 history, making an unbeaten 96 off 54 balls including 22 off the final over to beat Canada by two wickets in North Carolina last September.
 
The hope at the time was that the innings he played at Church Street Park against Canada would galvanize Taylor and reignite the batting spark he had as a 19-year-old. When asked on the eve of the tournament who had improved the most at USA’s three-week prep camp in Los Angeles, the answer from teammates was unanimous: Steven Taylor.
 
But instead of that 96* being a turning point for Taylor, the last year has shown it to be just another false dawn. He walked out against Bermuda on the first day of the tournament and was bowled first ball. Over the next three days, he added 78 runs – with a best of 38 off 31 balls against Canada – but did so at an overall strike rate of 92.85 from his position at No. 3. Remarkably, he was USA’s leading scorer over the first four days, highlighting the failures of everyone around him. But for a player of his talent, his results were incredibly underwhelming and his timid approach – he struck just three sixes in 84 deliveries in the first four matches – also sent a signal to the opposition that USA’s most fearsome hitter of the last decade was no longer worth fearing.
 
The redeeming part of Taylor’s game that prevented him from getting a lower grade was his generally tight bowling and his excellent fielding. He took an incredible diving catch at slip in the second over of the tournament against Bermuda and ended up with four catches in all, plus a runout, with no drops. Though he wasn’t incisive with his bowling, he had a generally good economy rate of 5.38. However, he lost focus at times on that end. In the stat mentioned in the Team Grades regarding USA conceding a tournament high 19 boundary balls off the final ball of an over, Taylor was responsible for doing it three times in his 13 overs.
 
On the whole, Taylor remained USA’s leading scorer through the end of the tournament with 144 runs, but his highest score and USA’s best on the week with an unbeaten 56 off 39 balls against Cayman Islands was hollow coming two days after USA had been eliminated.
 
Sunny Sohal: F
 
The former IPL star continued his indifferent form for USA. Sohal worked hard to return from a torn ACL in just nine months and produced a few sharp knocks at the GT20 Canada for champions Winnipeg Hawks, making 175 runs in seven innings at an average of 29.16. But he had struggled in both knocks against Canada in his last performance for USA in North Carolina, scoring a sluggish 38 off 39 balls in the match that went to a Super Over loss before he was bowled for 2 in the rematch.
 
Coming straight into the squad ahead of Akshay Homraj and Sagar Patel in the list of possible batting replacements, he played a timid knock in USA’s must-win day four match against Bermuda, getting out for 5 off 11 balls lbw to Malachi Jones’ medium pace. He wasn’t much better against Canada, making a run a ball 18 in an innings that killed momentum as USA scored just 98 runs off the last 14.4 overs in a 15-run loss on the final day. USA saw nothing approaching the player who scored his runs at a strike rate of 149.57 at the GT20.
 
Sohal is not much better in the field either, regularly being hidden at fine leg or short third man. When Ravinderpal Singh top-edged a sweep in the last day match against Canada, Sohal was at deep square leg and though the ball was in the air for quite awhile, Sunny was slow to react coming off the short east side boundary and never got his hands to the ball with Ravinderpal on 50. He want on to bash two more sixes in his match-winning 67. Again, with the logjam of openers, Sohal hasn’t done much as a square peg in a round hole placed into the middle-order for USA.
 
Aaron Jones: C+
 
Jones was USA’s best batsman on the opening two days of the tournament. He top-scored with 39 off 29 balls at No. 5 in the failed chase against Bermuda. His wicket, dismissed with an excellent catch at deep midwicket by Rawlins just one ball after he had hit his second six, swung momentum Bermuda’s way. It was a rare failure in a key moment from someone who has been outstanding in similar situations for USA in 50-over cricket.
 
A day later, Jones made 16 not out on a dicey wicket at the National Stadium against Cayman Island. It may not sound like much, but from where USA was at 37 for 4 in the 12th over, neck and neck with DLS par score chasing a target of 69, USA very may well have lost without Jones’ clever knock in which he showed up his teammates when it came to finding ways to pinch runs on a tough wicket. For those who were not there that day, it’s actually entirely conceivable that USA may have been behind on DLS when rain came at the 15-over mark had Jones not been batting.
 
But over the final four days, Jones underperformed. He was bowled by Rawlins in a key stage of the rematch v Bermuda that seriously dented USA’s chances of posting a fighting total. Through four matches, he still served as USA’s joint-second best scorer with 71 runs, again underscoring how badly everyone else had played.
 
Jones took two wickets with his part-time legspin against Cayman Islands and was also excellent in the field, contributing to his grade. But for his high standards, he performed below expectations.
 
Jaskaran Malhotra: C-
 
USA’s first-choice wicketkeeper had his role shuffled around mainly due to the failure of others, which was unfair on him. He made 38 off 39 balls on day one against Bermuda, his slow strike rate partially a consequence of having to rebuild around the failures of Marshall, Taylor and Monank. After he was runout thanks to an unresponsive Marshall against Cayman Islands, Malhotra was demoted to No. 5 in the order against Bermuda. In trying to compensate for another poor start at the top, he went for a relatively smart percentage shot – slog sweeping with the spin of offspinner Nikhil Dutta aiming for a short midwicket boundary on the east side – but he miscued it and was caught on the boundary for 4.
 
Malhotra was then dropped for the next two games. Of all the players who were candidates to be dropped, Malhotra was really third in line behind Marshall and Monank but wound up being the one who paid the price. USA still lost without him anyway. He came back in for the final day of the tournament against Canada opening with Monank and made a quick 18 off 11 balls before he fell top-edging a sweep against left-arm spinner Saad Bin Zafar.
 
Malhotra’s keeping was assured throughout the tournament, taking two catches, two stumpings and also completing multiple relay runouts. Of all the people who can be blamed for USA’s repeated failures on the week, Malhotra is low down the list. However, the reality remains that he has rarely made significant runs for USA since his debut tour at the CWI Super50 in February in 2018, when he was USA's leading scorer on tour. If any decent keeper-batsman comes along to put up some competition, his spot may be under threat.
 
Hayden Walsh Jr.: C+
 
Another one who like Jones performed well in spots but couldn’t get USA across the line on the first day against Bermuda. A six over midwicket had taken USA’s target down to 18 off 13 balls with four wickets in hand, but he was caught by Rawlins one ball later and USA never regained momentum.
 
With USA stalling against Canada at 95 for 4 in 14 overs, Walsh Jr. was sent in at his normal spot at No. 6. It showed USA’s lack of adapting to modern T20 cricket strategies, adhering to a mostly set lineup rather than adjusting their order based on time remaining. With six overs left, Timroy Allen was the person best suited to enter there but instead was held back until Jones fell in the 17th over, leaving just 22 balls to make lemonade out of lemons. Walsh Jr. did his best to make 21 off 19 balls before falling in the final over and was the only player standing in the way of what really should have been an even more lopsided loss to Bermuda on match day four when he top-scored with 26 off 28 balls as he struggled to find someone to stay with him. Were it not for 20 wides bowled that day – including three leg side deliveries that went for five wides – Bermuda’s target would have been just 122. Through four days, he was the joint-second best scorer alongside Jones at 71 runs.
 
With the ball, Walsh Jr. was okay, but not great. He had the courage to bowl the fateful 19th over against Bermuda on day four. It was a gamble USA had to take with just 15 runs needed off 12 balls and a legspinner was the likeliest bowler to force a wicket, but also someone likely to be hit for six. It wound up being the latter as the match never made it to the 20th over. He ended with four wickets at an average of 24.75, though another chance was put down off his bowling by Netravalkar in a key sequence late in the Bermuda innings on day one.
 
Walsh Jr. gets added credit for being a force in the field. He was responsible for dismissing Cayman Islands’ best player – ex-Zimbabwe international Gregory Strydom – in both matches including a spectacular catch at backward point in the first encounter. Had Strydom lasted for even five overs, USA may very well have been facing a target of 90 or 100 which would have been a monumental task on that NSC wicket with USA’s confidence levels as they were all week.
 
Timroy Allen: D
 
By Allen’s standards, he severely underperformed. Looking at the broader picture though, he was one of the few who actually showed any fearless intent on the batting side, something that was completely absent from the top order. He rarely if ever had a good platform to launch from, instead left to clean up the top-order messes that came before him. Through the first four days, he was USA’s joint-leading six-hitter along with Steven Taylor. Both hit three sixes, but Taylor actually faced 67 more balls to do it.
 
Allen was in a great position to win the game for USA on day one against Bermuda with 18 needed off 12 balls starting the 19th over on strike, but he fell driving Rawlins to long-on for 9. He didn’t bat against Cayman Islands, then made 11 not out off nine balls, hitting the last ball of the innings for six against Canada. USA made a strategic blunder by not sending Allen in at the fall of the fourth wicket with six overs to go instead of coming in at No. 7 with 22 balls left in which he saw the minority of the strike.
 
In his last innings of the tournament, he was left with no choice but to swing for sixes from ball one after entering at 85 for 5 in the 15th over with USA woefully behind the game on the verge of setting a way below par total. He hit a single, a six and then was caught on the boundary. But the game had been lost well before then on a day when Steven Taylor opted to leave numerous deliveries alone outside off stump while trying to stretch the USA innings out after they were reduced to 43 for 4 in seven overs.
 
With the ball, Allen only bowled three overs, taking 1 for 11 in two overs against Bermuda on day one in a reasonable spell but was only used for one over the rest of the tournament, bowling the third over that went for 17 on day four against Bermuda.
 
In the field, Allen was a reliable catcher on the boundary and quick to the ball cutting off second run from long-on and long-off throughout the week. He was also one of the few vocal presences offering his support to bowlers, which was noticed by opposition players in particular.
 
Bermuda has been a house of horrors for Allen. He and Taylor are the only remaining holdovers from the disastrous 2013 WCL Division Three tour which saw USA tripped up by Uganda and Bermuda on the last two days of round-robin play to choke away a spot in the 2014 World Cup Qualifier. This tournament in particular may have left a bad taste in his mouth and he’ll have a big point to prove in his next tournament opportunity for USA.
 
Nisarg Patel: D
 
This is a combined grade of a C+ for bowling and an F for batting by the left-arm spinning allrounder. He had an opportunity to win the match for USA on day one, but like Allen and Walsh Jr., tripped at the final hurdle after entering with two overs to go. He could only manage 5 not out off 8 balls. On strike needing eight to win off two balls, he swung through a ball angled wide of off stump to seal USA’s fate. It wrapped up a major disappointment with the bat on the day considering his high-scoring performances from USA’s trials in June and three-week camp in July in Los Angeles. He was poorly utilized in the first innings, given just one over to bowl in which he conceded eight runs on a pitch that generally favored slow bowling all week.
 
After taking 2 for 17 in four overs v Cayman Islands the next day, he was left out the next two games during which USA was eliminated. Coming back for the final two matches, he took 2 for 8 in four overs against Cayman Islands and then 1 for 28 in his four against Canada on the last day before driving a return catch to Navneet Dhaliwal for a second-ball duck in the chase.
 
Nisarg ended the tournament third on the team with five wickets despite only playing four matches, though four of them came against Cayman Islands. He also ended the week as USA’s leading catching fielder, claiming five takes. His only blunder came on the final day against Canada, when he spilled a chance that was about 7/10 on degree of difficulty running back 25 yards from cover to the edge of the boundary before spilling an over the shoulder chance off Navneet Dhaliwal on 1, who went on to make 36.
 
Cameron Gannon: F
 
USA’s newest player on tour didn’t come close to justifying his entry at the expense of Elmore Hutchinson. He started off okay with a good death spell against Bermuda, conceding nine singles across the 17th and 19th overs and taking the wicket of Rawlins to end with 2 for 21 in four overs, also completing a runout off his own bowling in the process.
 
But with USA needing nine off three balls and Gannon on strike, Kamau Leverock served up a meatball on his thigh that 9 times out of 10 would go for six regardless of who is batting. But Gannon swung over it with the ball cannoning off his thigh guard to dribble away for a leg bye. Instead of USA needing 3 off 2 to win, they lost by six runs.
 
Two days later against Canada, Gannon was given the ball with Canada’s No. 7 and 8 batsmen at the crease and Canada needing 18 off 12 balls, the identical situation that Bermuda’s death bowling pair of Rawlins and Leverock had successfully denied USA. Following up Netravalkar’s fine 18th over, Gannon gave up 14 runs. Early in the over he was driven for four through long-on before ending the over with a slower ball that was creamed over midwicket for six. He only bowled one more over in the tournament, conceding eight runs against Bermuda in the eighth over of the chase in the rematch. In terms of his fielding, he took two catches besides the runout in the first game.
 
Gannon also gets downgraded for his horrendous body language, which was far and away the worst on tour of any player. Before, during and after games, Gannon earned few friends among his squad mates, though past experience with David Wakefield and others has shown it has never been easy for other players from outside the South Asian and West Indian communities to adjust to life in the USA team. However, Gannon didn’t do himself many favors in this regard. He also stood out for the wrong reasons when he made a stink after a father and son duo who had traveled from New York to cheer for USA asked him for a photo after one of USA’s losses. Bermuda had anywhere from 700 to 1000 fans supporting them on a daily basis at the tournament whereas the number of traveling USA supporters in Bermuda could be counted on one hand. USA players can ill afford to burn bridges with their nascent fan base if they hope to one day approach the fan market popularity of other sports in the USA. Gannon was guilty of that in Bermuda, summing up his generally poor attitude on the back of subpar performance.
 
Saurabh Netravalkar: F
 
The USA captain’s figures through USA’s first four matches read 1 for 87 in 11.4 overs. By the end of the tournament, he had only claimed one more wicket ending with 2 for 122 in 17.1 overs.
 
Netravalkar was similarly poor last year in North Carolina at that T20 Qualifier against teams that included Belize and Panama. At the time, it was explained away by management that USA’s bowlers were using the time to focus on experimentation with bowling 50-over lengths in preparation for WCL Division Three in Oman. However, Netravalkar’s career sample set of 14 matches is now enough evidence to show he is not really a first choice option in T20 cricket, putting his captaincy across the board for USA into question. In those 14 matches, he has six wickets at an average of 42 and a strike rate of 40.67, meaning he takes a wicket about once every seven overs. He has gone wicketless in nine of 14 matches. Like Taylor, he was also guilty of leaking pressure on the final ball of an over, conceding a four or a six on the sixth ball on three occasions.
 
The closest player he compares with statistically as a bowler in T20 cricket for USA is Adil Bhatti, whose bowling average is 53.50 and strike rate is 43.00. Adil Bhatti is about as far away as he’s ever been from playing for USA so it begs the question, how can Netravalkar justify his place in a starting XI as a bowler?
 
Netravalkar is also USA’s weakest fielder, which adds to the question marks around his future in the T20 team. He dropped two catches in Bermuda, one low return chance off his bowling that was difficult, but the sitter off Walsh Jr. in the opening day Bermuda match was one that USA could ill afford to put down on a day with such a narrow final margin.
 
His captaincy also leaves major question marks. The team’s body language in the field starts from the captain and though Netravalkar tried his best to be vocal in support of his players, by the final match against Canada, he was the lone voice offering support to batsmen in USA’s chase. It was very reminiscent of the last days of Ibrahim Khaleel’s captaincy, when the field was eerily quiet with few people seeming energized by the then captain. Netravalkar underbowled Nisarg on day one against Bermuda while other strategic decisions like the overuse of medium pacers in the middle overs backfired, not to mention leaving out Gore and Timil from the early matches altogether. The one positive sign from his captaincy was keeping a slip in for basically the entirety of Bermuda’s chase in the must-win elimination match on day four, a rare attacking move from someone who usually sets conservative fields in T20s and 50-over cricket, though the bowlers couldn’t find the edge.
 
Netravalkar still offers tremendous value in 50-over cricket and was USA’s second-best bowler in Namibia behind Ali Khan. But serious thought needs to be given as to whether or not he merits a place in USA’s T20 lineup when qualifying for the 2021 T20 World Cup begins. If not, does USA management want to consider a split captaincy between T20I and ODI squads? Otherwise, Netravalkar has to make giant strides with the ball in T20 cricket to justify his continued selection in that format, let alone as captain.
 
Jessy Singh: F
 
Singh started the tournament with a double-wicket maiden. But by the end of the first day he was a major culprit in USA’s defeat at the hands of Bermuda. Singh bowled four no balls on the day, including three in one over in the 15th. The last of them led to a free hit for six to end a 21-run over. It was the costliest over conceded by a USA bowler at the tournament, and second most expensive by anyone behind the 23 conceded by Cayman Islands legspinner Alistair Ifill primarily to Delray Rawlins on day three.
 
Singh has had no ball issues since his USA debut in 2015 and the fact that they persisted in Bermuda makes one wonder what if anything his coaches have done to correct what on the surface should be a very easy thing to fix. Despite Netravalkar saying in that day’s post-match interview that he backed Singh to bounce back, Singh was promptly dropped for the next four matches, a severe but justified consequence for the no balls which provided a major momentum shift to Bermuda and helped them set a target which was narrowly defendable.
 
Coming back into the starting lineup for the last day against Canada, Singh was hit hard all day, conceding 21 in his first two overs including three fours and a six, before giving up another 21 in his two death overs to finish with 2 for 42. He finished with USA’s worst economy rate of any bowler at the event at 9.87 in his eight overs, extraordinary considering his first over of the tour was a maiden. Though his bowling strike rate is quite good, 15.60 in eight matches and far superior to Netravalkar in that regard, he has a penchant for being ill-disciplined and expensive.

He top-scored in USA’s last-day chase with 31 off 24 balls against Canada but USA ultimately failed by 15 runs. Singh is alert in the field and his batting is above average, though he is not a true allrounder. His primary duty is bowling and when it mattered most, he failed with self-inflicted wounds via the no balls rather than some extraordinary batting feat pulled off against him. Any captain in the future may think twice about giving him the ball in a key situation with the no ball issue gnawing at the back of their mind and Singh has to correct that in order to regain the trust of team management.
 
Timil Patel: B
 
USA’s all-time leading wicket-taker in T20 cricket was left out of their opening day encounter against Bermuda. It looked all the more ridiculous when Timil took 4 for 27 two days later against Canada and ended as USA’s leading wicket-taker in the tournament with nine in five matches. As was stated in the Team Grades, Timil has to be in the XI or there is no point in picking him in a touring squad at age 35. He ended with 2 for 19 in the rematch with Bermuda on day four in an effort that was ultimately in vain.
 
The only match in which he performed poorly with the ball was on the final day against Canada when he was walloped by Ravinderpal Singh, conceding 0 for 31 in two overs. The only other area in which Timil also received a downgrade was his inexplicable decision to send Karima Gore back on the final ball of the innings in the Bermuda rematch for what looked like it would have been a very tight second run in a sequence when USA should have been desperate for every run. Defending a target of 143 instead of 142 may not have mattered in the end for a game won by Bermuda with seven balls to spare, but it gave some insight into Timil’s mentality – not to mention the entire team’s overall muddled mindset strategically throughout the week in Bermuda – that he was more concerned with finishing not out off the final ball of a do-or-die T20 innings than going for a possible second run.
 
Karima Gore: B+
 
USA’s best player on the week hands down. One wonders how differently things might have turned out had Gore been in the starting XI the entire week. The 21-year-old finished with eight wickets in four matches and his economy rate of 4.37 and an average of 8.75, the best average and economy rate of any bowler in the top 10 wickets at the tournament.
 
He was economical but quiet in his first match against Canada on day three, returning 0 for 24 from his four overs. But in the must-win match on day four against Bermuda, Gore was fearless bowling with the new ball and then again at the death. In the Powerplay, Gore had figures of 3-1-5-2 while Netravalkar and Allen combined for 3-0-40-0 at the opposite end. Then he came back in the 17th when Bermuda needed 25 off 24 balls and bowled a wicket-maiden to end the day with 4-2-5-3. On the last day against Canada, he took 3 for 21, and should have had a fourth wicket had Nisarg not dropped Dhaliwal on 1. Gore also should have had another wicket a day earlier against Cayman Islands when Marshall spilled a fairly straightforward chance at deep midwicket on Troy Taylor. Otherwise Gore would have finished with 10 wickets at an even better average.
 
In the field, Gore was also a demon. He only took one catch, Rawlins at deep midwicket in the rematch with Bermuda off the bowling of Timil Patel, but his footspeed to the ball is second to none in the USA team. His athleticism is also at or near the top and his attitude and body language on the field is also at the top of the heap, evidenced by his incredible leaping effort at deep midwicket on the last day to knock back a six from Ravinderpal Singh in a match that had nothing riding on it. He also has accepted being marked down at No. 11 with humility even though he has been a middle-order batsman in Antigua.
 
Overall, Gore showed that the decision to go with him in the squad over Nosthush Kenjige was justified. If he continues on the same path he has established on his first three tours with USA, he could become one of the finest players to ever put on the red, white and blue jersey. 
 
[Views expressed in this article are those of the author, who was present at all of the team’s matches on tour in Bermuda, and do not necessarily represent the views of DreamCricket management. If you have different views or opinions, we respect those views and urge you to provide your feedback, both positive and negative. Feel free to respond to the author via Twitter @PeterDellaPenna.]

Read Part 1 - Team Grades