|Scorecard:||United States of America v Canada|
|Player:||CD Wright, A Thyagarajan, OM Baker, Imran Awan, S Jyoti, AA Mulla, HS Baidwan, Umar Bhatti|
At the Central Broward Regional Park stadium in Lauderhill, hosts USA took a significant step towards the 2008 Americas championship with an ultimately comprehensive victory over North American rivals Canada by 81 runs. In what was in reality a see-saw battle, with periods of holding the upper hand for both sides, it was the USAs qualities of perseverance and determination that saw them through critical periods of play and eventually to victory.
With back-to-back wins over ODI opposition in Bermuda and Canada, the USA have clearly showed how much quality is in the team.
After winning the toss and choosing to bat first, the USA got off to the worst possible start, losing Nadkarni and Cush with the total on three, with Canadian skipper Umar Bhatti claiming both key wickets. Despite some repair work from Carl Wright (40, off 70 balls with 5 fours) and captain Steve Massiah (22, off 27 balls, 4 fours), at 89 for 6 after 29 overs, the scenario was bleak.
However to the rescue came Aditya Thyagarajan and Orlando Baker, who together added a priceless 105 runs in 20 overs, and steered the USA to a 50 over total of 201 for 8. Thyagarajan finished unbeaten on 84 at the end of the innings, made off 99 balls and including 5 fours. Baker, coming in at number eight, made 38, from 63 balls with 2 fours.
Bhatti finished with 2 for 48 in 9 overs, while Harvir Baidwan took 3 for 38 in 9 overs, but best of the Canadian bowlers was perhaps left-arm spinner Sunil Dhaniram, wicketless in 10 overs but conceding a mere 14 runs.
In reply, Canada made a slow but steady start, with Sandeep Jyoti and Asif Mulla putting on 44 for the first wicket. Jyoti was top-scorer for Canada with 40, from 83 balls with 3 fours, while Mulla made 18. The rest of the Canadian innings was more than disappointing, with wickets falling at regular intervals, especially with Orlando Baker in particularly fine form.
At 78 for 2 in the 25th over, the game was perhaps finely balanced, but Bakers superb performance of seam bowling tore the Canadian innings apart, and they lost their remaining wickets for only 42 runs to be all out for 120 and slide to a 81 run defeat.
Baker eventually finished with 5 for 31 in his 10 overs, with opener Imran Awan also bowling brilliantly to take 3 for 14 in 8,5 overs. Sudesh Dhaniram more than matched Sunils performance, recording extraordinary figures of 1 for 10 in 9 overs.
USA team manager was rightly overjoyed with his teams performance and their great victory: We proved that we can overcome adversity, thanks to Aditya (Thyragarajan) and Orlando (Baker), recovering from 3 for 2 and 88 for 6 to make a decent 201. Weve also proved that the US batting order has depth and class and can compete at the highest level. The only way is up from here! We have beaten two ODI teams, which should prove our strength and worth.
Canadian captain Umar Bhatti was extremely disappointed: We were below par today, with batsmen repeating their mistakes over and over again. The US batsmen batted well and that made all the difference. We failed to convert a good start into a positive one.
Tomorrow in the last round of matches sees the USA take on the Cayman Islands, and it is difficult, on current form, to see the hosts slipping up at the final hurdle. Canada and Bermuda meet with only slim hopes of snatching the title away from the USA whoever wins between them will have to hope for a Cayman Islands upset, and then also hope net run rate runs in their favour.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
Copyright © 2008 International Cricket Council)