By Yash Khandor – 21 March, 2019
Three wins in four days and USA Cricket team is taking the desert by storm!
New venue, new opposition – but result, the same!
Vice- Captain Jaskaran Malhotra starred with the bat in USA’s third win in as many games as they beat UAE Developmental XI by 34 runs defending a total of 265. Bowlers backed the batsmen well with Roy Silva leading the pack with 3 wickets.
UAE XI won the toss and put USA into bat. USA had a couple of changes form the previous game with Elmore Hutchinson replacing of Jessy Singh and Roy Silva replacing Jannisar Khan, while Ali Khan continued sitting out (treating back spasms as per reports until the previous game).
It was an important game for opener Monank Patel after a couple of below par performances in the first two 50-over games and he did not disappoint as he went about his business to score a busy 42 off 47 balls which included three boundaries. USA lost the in-form Xavier Marshall early to Alishan Sharafu in just the fourth over of the innings. Monank got along with Steven Taylor and strung together a 80-run partnership in just 72 balls, with Taylor being the aggressor as he amassed a 37-ball 44 with six boundaries. USA then lost Taylor to the slow left-arm orthodox of Rahul Bhatia and were two wickets down with 88 runs on the board.
USA then slumped from 88-1 to 108-4 in a space of 6 overs . They lost the middle-order champion Aaron Jones to a mix-up with Monank as he headed back to the pavilion scoring just 2 runs. Monank did not last long (after that) either and was the fourth wicket to fall as vice-captain Jaskaran Malhotra and leg-spinning all-rounder Hayden Walsh Jr. were at the center.
The game was nicely poised with either team having a chance to pull things their way and UAE XI having momentum on their end. However, the Malhotra-Walsh pair had other ideas and milked their way to put up a slow but steady 87-run stand for the 5th wicket as USA moved onto 195 with just over 7 overs left in the innings. Malhotra got his fifty off 75 balls while Walsh scored 37 off 64 balls including two maximums. With Walsh’s departure the onus was upon Jaskaran to go big in the slog overs and take USA to a competitive total in excess of 250. Having got his eye in, Jaskaran decided to “go for it” and scored 40 runs off the next 25 balls he faced with three maximums and a boundary. A hundred was around the corner, but the selfless nature of our game and the greatness of the batsman that Jasakaran went for a second six of as many balls in the 48th over (trying to get as many runs as he can) but was caught by wicket-keeper Ansh Tandon for 90 off 100 balls. Next came Timil Patel who played a lovely cameo (14 off 6 balls) with a six and a four in the final over of the innings, shifting momentum in USA’s favor as they piled up 265 for the loss of 7 wickets.
Chasing 266 runs to win, UAE XI opening with Aryan Lakra and Ansh Tandon got off to a watchful start against the veteran Elmore Hutchinson and USA Captain Saurabh Netravalkar. Roy Silva came in as first change in the 7th over while the star from the game against Lancashire, Nosthush Kenjige was brought from the other end in the 8th over. Both Silva and Kenjige kept it very tight, bowling consecutive maidens. UAE XI wicketkeeper Ansh Tandon was finding it particularly difficult to garner any runs and a wicket was always around the corner.
Finally the USA bowlers’ patience paid off and Silva got Tandon out caught and bowled to send him back for an awfully slow 2 off 27 balls. In his next over Silva struck again to dismiss the other UAE XI opener Aryan Lakra who was looking good with 34 off 48 balls. Centurian from the previous day against the English county champions Surrey, Chirag Suri, joined forces with Ghulam Shabber looking to bring the UAE XI chase back on track. But the association did not last long as Timil Patel trapped Ghulam LBW for 14 and UAE XI were reduced to 69-3 at the 19 over mark.
USA juggled their bowlers well with keeping spin of Timil and Kenjige at one end and rotating amongst Silva, Netravalkar and Hutchinson at the other. UAE XI never seemed to gain the momentum they needed. Just as the partnership seemed like building, they would lose a wicket and this time the culprit was Hutchinson and the victim Fahad Nawaz going back scoring just 11. UAE XI had 7 of their top 8 getting starts, but none except Chirag Suri converting it into a big score. UAE XI kept losing wickets at regualr intervals and that did not go well with the chase. In the end there was a brief frenzy by number 10 Arslan Javed who tonked the USA bowlers clean and ended with 43 not out off just 23 balls with 5 boundaries and two sixes. It was a little too late in the game for UAE XI, but Arslan sure has reserved his position up the order for games to come.
Eventually USA won the game comfortably by 34 runs. Silva ended with 3 wickets, Hutchinson and Timil grabbing a couple each and Kenjige getting one. The highlight was USA was not forced to use a sixth bowler and got through the entire fifty overs with each of their top 5 bowlers finishing up their quota of 10 overs. That in itself reflects the dormancy in the UAE XI’s approach to this chase.
USA have scored a hat-trick of wins and now face UAE XI again tomorrow (March 22, 2019) at the Sevens Cricket Ground, Dubai.
Picture/Thumbnail Courtesy: USA Cricket (Facebook Page)