Argentina provided the fireworks on an entertaining first day of the second ICC Americas Women's Championship in Florida, USA - first with a gutsy performance against defending champions Canada, and then overwhelming Bermuda in stunning fashion to win by eight wickets. The other major highlight of the T20 competition was the debut of a spirited Brazilian team.
But it was Argentina which definitely grabbed the headlines of the day. In its opening match against Canada, Argentina was asked to bat first, and it compiled a respectable 76-6 in their allotted 20 overs. Opening batter Dirce Yuli top-scored with 23 runs, while captain Catalina Greloni weighed in with 17 not out. Pick of the bowlers for Canada was captain and all-rounder Joanna White, who took 2-9 in her four overs.
Canada eventually reached the target of 77 runs for the loss of only two wickets, but it took them 17.1 overs, and were it not for some uncharacteristic fielding lapses, Argentina might have pushed the run chase a little harder in the end. However, the performance of the South Americans had captured everyone's attention, and in its second game against Bermuda, the team gave everyone even more to talk about.
Bermuda won the toss and elected to bat, and looked to be in solid shape with an opening partnership of 29 between Chalene Thompson and Wendy Woodley, who top-scored with 16. But a tigerish display in the field by Argentina restricted Bermuda to 75-7 in 20 overs, with off-spinner Sofia Retamales and Catalina Greloni both picking up 2-8 in their respective four overs each.
Openers Dirce Yuli (33 not out) and Clara Culley (24) then produced a fine batting display as they posted a stand of 62, taking Argentina to the brink of a historic victory, which was eventually reached at 76-2 in 15.5 overs. Perhaps, the most notable statistic of the run-chase was the absence of a single boundary.
Brazil made a welcome debut into official women's international cricket, and although going down in both its games, showed enough enthusiasm, spirit and potential to indicate that it will surely improve rapidly in the future.
Against the talented Trinidad & Tobago team, Brazil did well to post a score of 62-7 in their 20 overs, which the Caribbean side attained in 13.4 overs for the loss of a wicket. The South Americans put up another gutsy display against powerful hosts USA, making 45-8, in reply to which the USA posted 46 runs without loss in 12.1 overs.
The big game of Day Two is now undoubtedly the clash between Canada and Bermuda, as the loser faces the prospect of not qualifying for the Division 1 40-over event later in the week for the title of ICC Americas Women's Championship, as well as the opportunity to perhaps qualify for the ICC Women's World Cup Qualifiers.
A Canada win will eliminate Bermuda, while a Bermudan victory will leave all three teams in the group (including Argentina) on one win apiece, which will then require a net run rate separation. In the other morning game, USA will take on Trinidad & Tobago to see who advances to the T20 final later in the day.
Scorecards Day 1
Argentina v Canada
Brazil v Trinidad & Tobago Development XI
Argentina v Bermuda
Brazil v USA