USA Women’s U19 defeat Windward Islands in first T20

USA Captain Geetika Kodali shakes hands with Windward Islands captain Zaida James before the first T20 of the tour

USA U19 Women’s team wrapped up their first ever T20 quickly on Monday, beating Windward Islands by nine wickets and chasing down the 70 run target in only 63 balls.

After falling behind 5/2 in the third over, Zaida James (24 from 36) and Skyy Smith (11 from 48) stopped the bleeding for Windward Islands, fighting through a 42 run partnership that lasted 71 balls, but the run rate never warmed up to a point where USA would be challenged. Windward Island ended their innings 70/6 with James and Smith the only batters in double figures, and both of them outscored by extras (25). 

USA Captain Geetika Kodali used seven different bowlers in the attack, but Snigdha Paul (4 overs, 8 runs, 3 wickets) and Yashaadidi Teka (4 overs, 8 runs, 1 wicket) were the standouts on the day, and were the only two to achieve the full quota of four overs. Sai Tanmayi Eyyunni claimed a wicket in her two overs for nine runs, and 2021 USA Women’s U19 National Championship’s leading wicket taker, Bhumika Bhadriraju achieved the rare T20 feat of a maiden over amongst her three total overs, yielding only three runs. 

With the bat, Ritu Singh (18 from 21), Chetna Pagydyala (18 from 30, not out) and Laasya Mullapudi (17 from 13) put Windward away quickly, ending the chase in the 11th over, thanks to help from 17 Windward extras. 

“It was a win for our girls, who come here for the first time overseas to represent the national team. From a cricket point of view, the quality which I’m expecting from them is not there, but that’s because they’re new,” USA Women’s U19 coach Asif Mujtaba told Emerging Cricket of the historic victory. “They want to win, they want to perform. For them, for us, it’s a big win. They’re here playing under the national flag, because of this, they have worked so hard, and you can see in their bowling and fielding, they were very compact.” 

Mutjaba brings with him nine years of international playing experience with Pakistan, plus many years within the USA setup as a coach and selector. Captaining the team is Geetika Kodali, a young veteran of the USA Women’s senior team. So far, the coach likes what he sees in his skipper. “Geetika is very mature, she’s leading from the front and she’s taking care of all the players, organizing everything for them. She moves them very nicely in the field. I’m very happy with the way she presents herself, it’s very fantastic.” 

The historic win kicks off the first ever international tour for the USA’s inaugural Women’s U19 team. In 2021, USA Cricket managed to stage four national championships, including the first ever Women’s and Women’s U19 National Championships in Florida. The Nationals were preceded first by a talent search across major cricketing hubs throughout the country, and then by intra-regional and regional contests which helped narrow down the talent pool to an East and West team for the National Championships.

The coach is optimistic about the recent investment bringing big rewards for women’s cricket in the USA, but sees the need for improvement at the grassroots level to provide more opportunities for young girls and women. “People might not realize, This is the first ever USA U19 women’s team ever made. If you have seen in the current senior team, how many under 19 players are playing in the women’s senior team, that is a great achievement. This is their own effort. If you see their resources locally available, it’s not as great as the males have. The inter-regionals help to increase participation. The girls come out and play cricket. That’s how it will be. You will see in a few years time how many girls are playing in this country, and it will definitely increase.”

Remaining Match Schedule

Tuesday January 25 – 2nd T20 @ 12:30pm EST

Wednesday January 26 – Rest

Thursday January 27 – 3rd T20 @ 9:00am EST

Friday January 28 – 4th T20 @ 9:00am EST

NB – St. Vincent local time is 1 hour ahead of EST.

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