USA batters lead the charge in game two win vs Canada

USA continued their hot start against Canada at Prairie View Cricket Complex with a 31 run victory to go up 2-0 in the five game series.

CWC League 2 USA Monank Patel

USA continued their hot start against Canada at Prairie View Cricket Complex with a 31-run victory to go up 2-0 in the five-game T20I series.

Half-centuries from Steven Taylor, Monank Patel and Andries Gous, followed by rapid cameos from Aaron Jones and Shadley Van Schalkwyk helped USA to 230/3. Canada could not maintain pace in the chase, in spite of a valiant effort and appropriate intent.

Both teams made only one change from Sunday’s XIs, with USA starting Nisarg Patel for Gajanand Singh, and 29-year-old Parveen Kumar debuting for Canada in place of 23 year old Dilpreet Bajwa.

Rishiv Joshi’s first over gave little indication of what was to come, as the lefty surrendered only five runs with four dot balls. Udhaya Bhagwan kept up the trend for the first four balls of the second over, going 0, 2, 0, 0 to Steven Taylor. But USA’s lefty opener found the boundary on each of the next two balls, and USA barely slowed down from there.         

Joshi stayed on from his end, and Monank Patel made contact on all six deliveries, sending three to the rope and driving another into oblivion over long off for an 18-run over.

Harsh Thaker entered in the fourth, with Taylor on strike after struggling against off-break bowling on Sunday. An immediate four and a single brought Monank to the crease, and the American captain was dropped on the next ball after edging to slip. A dot and a single brought Taylor back to the crease, where another four gave Taylor nine runs from three balls against his supposed weakness.

Another over from Bhagwan went for 16, thanks to four consecutive boundary fours from Monank, including one off the hands of the third man fielder, dropping a diving chance. USA were 59 without loss after five. 

Saad Bin Zafar turned to Nicholas Kirton for the final frame of the powerplay, and Taylor proved to have the antidote to Sunday’s poison, with two sixes and two fours among the 22 runs scored in the over. Taylor now had 30 runs from eight off break deliveries so far in the innings, with USA at 81-0 at the end of the Powerplay.

A boundary each for Monank and Taylor in the 7th over brought the pair to 93-0, each one shot away from a half century.

Thaker slowed the bleeding in the eighth, bouncing back to concede only four on four singles.

Monank and Taylor took turns passing fifty runs against debutant Parveen Kumar, as Monank brought up his second consecutive half-century with a single on the first ball of the ninth, and Taylor followed with an enormous six over long-on. But just as Monank and Gous had done following their half centuries on Sunday, Taylor sent his next delivery into the hands of a Canadian fielder and ended his day, with a rapid 54 from 25 to add to his excellent T20 career totals.

Gous, fresh off of Sunday’s half-century on debut entered and took a few balls to ease in, with Kumar ending his first international over for 9 before Zafar would call his own number in the 10th and concede only eight.

Monank and Gous would punish Kumar for staying in the attack in the 11th, scoring on every ball, including a massive six from Gous straight over the sight screen on the fourth ball. 13 runs from the frame had USA right back on track, 127-1.

Monank would bash a six on the fifth ball from Zafar, after the captain had surrendered just three on the first four balls. But Monank would fall to his opposite on the next ball, attempting to inside-out a leg-line delivery to the off side into the waiting hands of Pargat Singh at catching cover.

Gous would score a four and a six against Kumar in the 13th, as Jones struggled to get off the mark on the final two balls, though he expressed clear intent. Jones’ intent paid off on his next delivery, the second ball of the 14th, smashing Zafar back over his head for a six which left the field in a hurry. Singles the rest of the over gave USA 11, and took the total to 158-2.

Heyliger and Bhagwan would go for 20 combined in the next two overs, with Jones and Gous moving to 41 from 27 and 15 from 9, respectively. Eleven more against Joshi in the 17th, including a six from Gous to bring up his second consecutive fifty to start his USA career, would be followed by an eight run 18th over from Bhagwan, taking USA to 197-2 with twelve balls to spare.

For the second time in as many innings, Gous would be victim of an impressive catch in the field. Zafar sprinted after a skied wide yorker several yards into the outfield from his position at extra cover and dove onto his elbows to collect an impressive over the shoulder grab for the third wicket. Gous ended his day with 57 runs from 35 balls.

USA would pinch Shadley Van Shalkwyk up the order, who would reward the decision with an immediate four, and a couple wides and three singles later, USA were at 207-3 heading into the final frame.

USA had slowed down scoring only 40 from their prior four overs. Four runs from the first two balls of the 20th seemed like a reasonable victory for Heyliger, but a six and a single from Shadley, followed by consecutive sixes from Jones brought the over to 23, and USA had set a target of 231.

Canada would need to start quickly and find some luck to chase the highest ever total by USA in a T20I, but a flat wicket made the task seem possible.

Aaron Johnson scoring 17 runs from Netravalkar’s first five balls surely wouldn’t hurt. But an lbw departure for Wijeyeratne on the sixth ball surely would. A tidy seven against Sunday’s player of the match Nosh Kenjige, followed by six against Netravalkar, would throttle Canada to 30-1 half way through the Powerplay.

Eleven in the fourth and fifth overs against Kenjige and Jessy Singh would take Canada to 52-1 with just six more Powerplay balls to maximize. Van Schalkwyk conceded a six to the powerful Johnson, and a four to the settling Pargat Singh, and Canada would end the powerplay 65-1, needing 166 from their final 14 overs to cross the line.

After just 25 balls, Johnson would collect his half century against Jessy Singh in the 7th, the fifth in just 14 T20I innings for the opener. But Pargat Singh had added just 17 from 16 deliveries by the end of the 7th, and Canada were 75-1 in need of another gear.

Harmeet Singh’s seven-run eighth over would only add to the urgency, as Pargat Singh was dropped on the first ball, preventing Harmeet from claiming his first USA wicket. Canada would start to find that second gear in the ninth, with 15 off of Shadley. 

Harmeet Singh’s three run tenth over would bring the see-saw back around, and Canada would head into the second half of their innings in a state of desperation, 100-1 chasing 130.

Netravalkar would trade 12 runs in the eleventh for the wicket of Pargat Singh, who would end his day with 27 from 26, having left his team firmly behind the eight ball in the chase. 

Johnson, now joined by the fleet-footed Nicholas Kirton, would chase a wide, flat delivery in the 12th over from Nisarg Patel and toe it easily to Jessy Singh at long off for USA’s third and biggest wicket of the innings.

Kirton would accelerate, but the settling Navneet Dhaliwal would neutralize his efforts, and Canada would head into a Steven Taylor 14th over with a score of 132-3. Taylor would fail to take a return catch off of Dhaliwal to start the over, but would get his man four balls later, after a six and a single from Kirton. Like the Nisarg Patel wicket in the 12th, Taylor would bowl a wide line, and Dhaliwal mis-hit it to Shadley at deep cover for the fourth wicket. 

Shadley would rebound in the 15th over with the wickets of Kirton and Zafar, both edged and caught behind by the USA captain Monank Patel, all but ending Canada’s chances at 146-6 with 30 balls to go and 85 runs needed to win.

An aggressive Harsh Thaker added 13 runs against Nisarg in the 16th, before Jessy Singh would sit down Parveen Kumar on the second ball of the 17th. Heylinger would add 11 from three deliveries to end Jessy Singh’s day, and Canada would head into the final three overs at 173-7.

Kenjige continued his good form, conceding only seven in the 18th, while ending Heyliger’s day with a wide delivery skied to Saurabh at third man. Canada required 51 from 12 balls to win from there. 

After Canada scored 15 in the 19th, Harmeet Singh would come into the attack and clean up the tail with the wickets of Joshi and Bhagwan, Harmeet’s first in a USA uniform.

Canada would finish 199 all out, 31 runs shy of USA. A thorough victory by USA saw all seven bowlers collect wickets, after USA’s five batters either scored a half century, or finished not out with a strike rate of 170 or more. Monank Patel’s 68 from 35 along with three catches earned him a worthy player of the match for game two.                               

Game three begins at 4pm local time, again at Prairie View Cricket Complex, as USA look to clinch a series victory. 

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