As You Think So You Become
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Keron Cottoy starred with the bat and the ball for Windward Islands to give USA a 43-run drubbing. USA were stunned to silence and had no answers to Cottoy's heroics - a counter attacking run-a-ball 43* and his first List-A five-fer. This match saw USA again shooting themselves in the foot, not once but twice. Having left the opposition reeling at 128 for 7, USA failed to clean the tail and allowed the Windward Islands' innings to meander along to reach a respectable 226. Apart from that USA were cruising at 117 for 2 before committing 'harakiri'.
Earlier in the afternoon, stand-in captain Steven Taylor got lucky at the toss and sent in Windward Islands to bat. Soon enough, Elmore Hutchinson and Jessy Singh had Windward down in the doldrums at 3 for 17. Elmore had West Indies discard Devon Smith nicking an innocuous outswinger to gully. Jessy Singh steamed in to have Stewart caught at first slip with a beautiful out swinger.
After that first wicket Jessy had his tail up and had Kirk Edwards' wood work disturbed with a peach of an inswinger. Desron Malloney and Kaveem Hodge steadied the Windward Islands' rocking ship with a 50+ stand. Timil Patel had the stand broken with a straighter one that thudded into Maloney's front pad to have him LBW for 44. Cameron Stevenson cranked up some speed in his second spell with a barrage of bouncers. He had the batsmen fending on a pitch that was of little assistance to him.
Stevenson had the dangerous looking Hodge caught behind for 40 before cleaning up Athanaze for 25. Elmore too joined in the party to have Yadram caught driving up-ishly at point, having Windward in the dock at 128 for 7. The jailbreak began with Shillingford and Cottoy taking the attack to the opposition with a flurry of boundaries. Shillingford was particularly severe on Timil, taking him over the ropes twice in the 39th over. The USA bowlers looked flat and bereft of options after the second drinks break and Windward tail wagged to reach 225 for 9 in 50 overs.
226 did not seem a tough task by any means. USA had auditioned their 3rd opening pair in as many games as Marshall and Sagar strolled down in the middle to commence the chase. However, USA got off to the worst possible start imagined as they lost Sagar in the second over of the chase. Sagar seemed to have done in by the pace as he nicked one to the keeper off Shermon Lewis. Steven Taylor joined Marshall at the crease with the score at 8 for 1.
With the two most attacking batsmen in the USA squad at the crease one would imagine USA would play at a fair clip to bury the ghosts of the previous game but what ensued until the end of the first power play was a flurry of dot balls and some pretty arduous batting. USA managed only 22 off the first 10 overs. Taylor soon was back to his usual best as he started becoming more adventurous against spin. He heaved one over long on against Shillingford for six to get some momentum going in his innings.
On the other hand, Marshall, having been dropped twice already, couldn't make it count as his luck ran out at 20 off 44 balls, offering a return catch to the bowler Edwards. Monank Patel joined Taylor at the crease and immediately hoicked one with the spin by the cow corner for a six against Shillingford. Taylor and Monank forged a busy little partnership of 48 from 68 balls and seemed to be running away with the game.
It needed some moment of magic from the Windward players to break the stand and Athanaze provided just that. Taylor pushed one in the air and Athanaze dived full stretch to his left 180 degrees parallel off the ground and plucked it out of thin air. Taylor looked set for a big one but couldn't add any more to his tally of 62 runs. USA looked still in the game with Monank looking solid as ever and Nisarg able rotate the strike with ease. However, Monank got out at a crucial juncture with USA needing 74 off 69 balls.
It was again a soft dismissal in the end as Monank drove uppishly to short cover to a nothing delivery really. Driving on the up straight to short covers has been his one of his weaknesses as seen in Miami in the previous games as well. As soon as Monank got out USA fell like dead rubble against Cottoy's leg spin, and USA were steamrolled for 182. The last eight USA wickets fell for 65 runs as the lower middle order and the tail got bundled out without much resistance.
USA paid the ultimate price for letting the opposition off the hook twice. On a pitch where Windward's spinners ruled the roost it is difficult to comprehend why USA bowled just 15 overs of spin with Nisarg Patel not getting a go at all. USA also clearly needs to rethink their batting approach in the powerplay as the strategy to play defensive cricket up top and chase a run a ball in the last 20 overs is clearly not working with the wicket getting increasingly difficult to score. USA play their next game of the tournament against the hosts Trinidad and Tobago on Friday.
Brief Scores: Windward Islands 225-9 in 50 overs (Desron Maloney 44 (60), Keron Cottoy 43* (43); Jessy Singh 2-24) beat USA 182-10 in 45.5 overs (Steven Taylor 62 (99), Monank Patel 37 (56); Keron Cottoy 5-37) by 43 runs
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