In the first game of the Argentina U25 tour of Chile, the visitors notched up a solid T20 victory over the hosts by 23 runs at Craighouse in Santiago.
Although in fairness, the Chilean combination was not at full strength, it was nevertheless a strong performance from the young Argentine side. With both sides having their first competitive outings of the new season, there was an element of rustiness to be seen, and the two 50-over contests remaining over the weekend will hopefully see improvement from both teams.
Batting first, Argentina U25 compiled a useful 150 for 3 in their 20 overs. Although never entirely fluent at the crease, the Argentine batting dealt well with a spirited Chilean attack. Alejo Tissera played the innings of the match, making 46 with 2 fours and 2 sixes, with good support coming from Carlos Gibson, 38, with 3 fours, and David Mauro, 29, including 4 fours.
Best of the Chilean bowlers was Cristian Eyzaguirre, with 1 for 28 in his 4 overs, while Zeb and Hesketh each picked up a wicket apiece. Chile would probably have been pleased with the way they stuck to their task, as even though the U25's always had wickets in hand, tidy bowling and enthusiastic fielding ensured the Argentines never accelerated as they might have hoped.
The game was perhaps won and lost in the first six overs of the Chilean response, due to some fine bowling from Tissera, only conceding 14 runs from his 4 overs, and Facundo Duggan, giving away a mere 11 runs in 4 overs, it was always an uphill struggle from there. After 8 overs Chile had only 25 runs on the board, and their first boundary only came in the 9th over.
A brief flurry from Chilean skipper Simon Shalders, who made 27 in 12 balls, with 2 fours and 2 sixes, raised some hope in the hosts camp, but with his dismissal in the 14th over and the score on 86, Chile's last hope of a comeback was snuffed out.
Late in the innings young Chilean Hector Fuenzalida played a fighting knock of 24, with 3 fours, but in the end the run-chase ended on 127 for 7 and 23 runs short. Off-spinner Pablo Siracusa took 3 for 41 in 4 overs for the Argentina U25's.
Attention now focuses on two 50-over contests over the weekend, and based on today's T20, with two evenly matched sides, it promises to be two great days of competitive cricket.