In a see-saw battle, USA captain Steven Taylor's responsible 56 helped his team to a thrilling two- wicket win over Bermuda on day four at the ICC Americas Northern Division U-15 Tournament at Erskine Cricket Ground in Brooklyn.
N.Y. Taylor was named Man of the Match for a solid allround performance behind the stumps and with the bat. He had four dismissals, including three stumpings, but it was his composed knock that everyone will remember.
"This was the kind of innings he has to play," said USA coach Raj Badadare. "This was a true captain's innings."
Bermuda won the toss and elected to bat first. Some helter-skelter running between the wickets resulted in a slew of run out chances offered by Jonte' Smith and Shaquille Jones in the early overs until finally Jones was run out for nine in the sixth over to make it 27- 1.
After Smith got out to Krish Goel, danger man Kamau Leverock came in and smacked two boundaries off Goel to end the 12th over. But on his first ball to Trevis Ross in the next over, Leverock took a big swipe outside off and a big nick was caught behind for eight in five balls, his lowest score of the tournament, to make it 55-3.
Tre Manders and Shea Pitcher then turned the momentum back Bermuda's way, aided by some lethargic and sloppy fielding by USA. Pitcher top scored for Bermuda with 45 and was involved in a 42-run stand with Manders followed by another 44 with Kamel Easton. Vikram Valluri got both Manders and Pitcher out, along with Jahnai Ratteray in a solid left arm orthodox-spin bowling performance to finish with 3-31.
Bermuda batted out their overs for the first time in the tournament to post 172-9, a tricky target considering that the team batting first had won the first three games of the tournament thus far.
It looked even trickier when Zach Zadoo was out in the first over to Leverock. Leverock bowled bouncers all day long and a throat ball was fended off by Zadoo with his gloves to the keeper Christian Burgess for a duck to make it 9- 1.
Taylor came in and with Valluri put on the classiest batting partnership of the tournament for 66 runs. Valluri played some elegant drives, especially off the back foot, to entertain the crowd while Taylor was happy to play second fiddle by giving him as much of the strike as possible. Taylor had 13 singles in his first 14 scoring shots, remarkable considering his big hitting reputation.
Valluri finally got out for 30 when tied down by the spin of Joshua Gilbert. The pressure started to get to Valluri until a loose stroke was caught at gully to give Gilbert the first of his two wickets.
But Taylor continued to shepherd his batting partners along towards the target. He brought up his 55 ball half-century in style, with a big six through the wind, one of three sixes to go along with three fours. He finally fell going for a big hit to into the wind again off of Leverock, caught at mid on, to make it 138-6. It opened the door for Bermuda to try and snatch the game away.
Two more wickets fell, Goel and Roshan Varadarajan, to make it 165-8. But Kwiese Edmondson and Adithya Nagaraja kept their cool until Edmondson stroked a four wide of mid on for the winning runs. For the second match in a row against USA, wayward bowling killed Bermuda in the final tally. After bowling 35 wides on Monday in a one-run defeat, Bermuda bowled 38 more in the rematch.
Bermuda takes on Canada Friday at 10:30 a.m. at Erskine Cricket Ground and must win to have any chance of winning the tournament. USA is leading the table right now with Bermuda second, ahead of Canada on run rate while Canada has played one less game than Bermuda.
Match report provided by USACA courtesy of Dreamcricket.com.