Indianapolis has seen its first glimpse of international cricket today, with the ICC Americas Division 1 Championships commencing today at Indianapolis World Sports Park.
The first match of the day saw tournament favourites Canada pitted against the recently promoted Suriname. Suriname won the toss and elected to field on the pristine surface, which looked to be a great decision. Ravindu Gunasekera and Rizwan Cheema started to get on top of the bowling before Gunasekera was dismissed for 11. Cheema continued to work the strike, compiling a handy 34, before he was dismissed by Tony Dudnath. Some late hitting from Nikhil Dutta and Hamza Tariq saw the score push along, as Suriname dropped catches at critical times throughout the innings. Eventually, though good, tight bowling, Suriname was able to restricted Canada to very gettable 121 in their 20 overs.
Suriname's innings started poorly, with Shazam Ramjohn dismissed in the first over without troubling the scorers. From this point, Suriname struggled to gain any momentum in their innings, with Wasim Hashim (19) the only batsman to reach double figures. Canada was able to restrict Suriname to 9/59 off their 20 overs, to take a comfortable 62 run victory. Nikhil Dutta was the pick of the bowlers, with 4 wickets for only 8 runs off his 4 overs, earning him the Man of the Match honours.
In the second game, home side USA took on the energetic Bermudian side. Bermuda won the toss and elected to bat, with Dean Stovell and James Celestine setting a strong platform from which to build. David Hemp (20) showed class in the middle order while wickets fell around him, however when he was stumped with score on just 55, Bermuda looked in trouble. Enter Christian Burgess. Burgess pummelled the USA attack around the ground, making an unbeaten 43 off 29 delivers to guide Bermuda to a defendable 123 off their 20 overs.
In reply, USA made a slow start, but managed to keep the run rate moving along. Fahad Babar provided the rock for the innings, as players came and went around him. Steven Taylor came and went cheaply, as did Nicholas Standford. Babar received great support from Timil Patel, as the pair put on 30 for the 4th wicket. USA looked to be cruising to victory, however Bermuda wouldn't give up, with tight bowling and quality fielding, continued to drive the required run rate upwards. Janeiro Tucker brought himself into the attack in the 17th over, and snared 2 wickets for 2 runs, to swing the match back in Bermuda's favour.
By this stage, Babar had reached his half century, much to the delight of the USA fans, and when Tucker came back to bowl the 19th over, Babar decided enough was enough. Babar dispatched Tucker twice over the mid-wicket boundary, taking 20 runs off the over and giving USA a 5 wicket victory with 1 over remaining. Babar finished with 78 from 54 deliveries, carrying his bat through the innings on his way to the Man of the Match award.
Tomorrow's fixture sees Canada taking on Bermuda, while USA look to remain undefeated against the talented Suriname side. The first match commences at 10am at Indianapolis World Sports Park.