Everytime the USA Under 19 Team plays in the ICC World Cup (U 19) or the World Cup Qualifiers we are reminded of a few things, notably the talent of some of our young players.
Unfortunately its also obvious that they play nowhere near the amount of quality cricket they need to make the most of these opportunities. Imagine if, instead of playing the West Indies Under 19 team our boys had some real matches against teams around their level – they would have come into the ICC Qualifier prepared.
College teams like national Champions George Mason University, Montgomery College,York University, North Carolina State, Ohio State,UMBC, Texas A & M,USC, University of Houston and Purdue University would give the USA Under 19 team strong opposition and quality cricket in the 40 or 50 over format.
As it was, the team’s mental turnaround after being crushed by the West Indies U 19s, probably helped by good work from Coach Robin Singh or a Leprechaun, was remarkable.
Ground conditions in the USA, and the need to hit the ball in the air ensure that our batsmen develop risky habits.Its no coincidence that USA centurion Steven Taylor plays his cricket in Florida, where the grass is cut to appropriate lengths for cricket and strokes along the ground.
USA vs PNG :
USA won the toss and sent PNG in to bat. The Papua New Guinea openers put on 135 runs and PNG seemed headed for a mammoth total. Mital Patel, who played for Rutgers University at the 2011 American College Cricket Spring Break Championship, took 4 wickets for 56 and helped prevent that. Nevertheless PNG scored 262 for 6 off their alloted 43 overs. Siaka 73, Kent 60 and Amini 44 were PNG’s top scorers.
High schooler Steven Taylor got his Irish up and scored a glorious 140 runs for USA, in 120 balls, hitting 19 fours and 3 sixes. Taylor opened and was out with the score on 207 !
Through a 51 run partnership with Captain Greg Sewdial (15), and a 62 run partnership with Jobhir Sandhu (21) Steven Taylor kept smashing the ball to the fences like an American Chris Gayle, but therre was no American Chanderpaul and when Taylor went after 35.2 overs it looked like a lost cause for USA.
2010 Under 19 World Cup veteran,the big Hammad Shahid (21)and Rutgers University’s Mital Patel (20*) had other ideas though and put on 47 for the last wicket. Both batsmen struck 4s and 6s to keep the scoring rate up, Patel’s 6 in the penultimate over meant 9 runs were needed in 6 balls.
Three runs later Shahid did a jig down the track and heaved one back over the bowler for what would have been a boundary if he had the luck of the Irish ,but a running diving catch by long on earned PNG the win by 6 runs in the final over !
Though named Man of the Match Taylor was not happy, “I would have been happy if I had scored 90 and the side had won. I had planned to stay there till the end and get as many runs as possible. From here on we will have to fight hard to qualify.”
CANADA vs KENYA : After winning the toss and batting first Kenya were reduced to 47 for 4 by all rounder Nitesh Kumar, 3 for 26 and Manny Aulakh,3 for 31. But Duncan Allen, 103 and Joseph Ochieng, 73 to Kenya to 215 off their 50 overs.
First game centurion Kumar went for 6, but a 98 run partnership for the 2nd wicket between Akash Shah, 51 and Nikhil Dutta, 55 had Canada looking good before Emmanuel Ringera struck, taking 4 wickets for 44 runs. Canada was all out for 200 runs, after 49.1 overs, losing by 15 runs.