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USA Under-19 XI Hit by Hong Kong “Flu”
Squad Drops another Warm-Up Match
By John L. Aaron
The current squad is hoping to do a lot better than the 2006 USA Under-19 World Cup XI, however with a 1-2 warm-up match record so far, the USA lads would have to become more focused, especially among the top order batsmen, who are not firing on all cylinders. A lot of hopes and aspirations for future USA senior Men’s teams are pinned on this Under-19 squad doing well in international competition, as this group of players will no doubt form the nucleus of any USA hopes of being a part of the ICC’s Cricket World Cup in 2015.
Hong Kong one of the 16 teams participating in this year’s ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup and in Group A of the tournament, has improved tremendously since the Under-19 Qualifiers in Toronto, Canada last summer. Winning the toss, Hong Kong elected to bowl and routed the USA XI for 182 for 9 in the allotted 50 overs. Again, the top scorers were the USA’s middle-order and lower batsmen. Saami Siddiqui batting at number six top-scored with 37 off 67 balls in 68 minutes, including 2x4s. All-rounder Regis Burton chipped in with 29 off 48 balls in exactly one hour, with a solitary boundary. It’s interesting to note that Siddiqui, Saleem and Burton all exited via the run out route in the middle, as the USA sought to build a respectable score to defend. Muhammad Asad Ghous, better known for his bowling, but quickly proving to be a dependable bat at number nine scored 25 off 27 balls in 24 minutes, with a single boundary, and showing great hustle with the ones and twos.
Opener Steven Taylor although always a threat to dismantle any opposing bowler, needs to settle down and build a total as is expected of an opener. His knock of 12 included three boundaries in his 26 balls, 28 minutes in the middle. As an opening batsman, Taylor can be a dominant force if he hangs around in the longer version of the game. However, I am sure the coaches are on top of him already in this regard.
One can only hope that big bats such as Andy Mohamed, 10, Ryan Corns, 8, Gregory Sewdial, 19 and skipper Shiva Vashishat, 11, batting numbers 2 through 5 in the order, will come alive in time to make a difference in the World Cup. So far their contributions have been less than commendable, and not consistent with their enormous talent, thus putting more pressure on the tail-enders.
No one Hong Kong bowler dominated the USA team, as the nine wickets were shared among the nine bowlers used, including the three run-outs. However, the pressure exerted by the Hong Kong bowlers and fieldsmen was enough to halt any pre-tournament fever the USA may have been building in these warm-up matches. The USA wickets fell at 28, 34, 52, 75, 86, 102, 136, 179 and 181.
Hong Kong in reply, reached 186 and the victory for the loss of only four wickets, but mainly behind an even 100 posted by its skipper Jamie Atkinson. Atkinson’s century and departure at the 30.4 overs mark was made off of 86 balls in 129 minutes and the backs of seven bowlers used by the USA. The centurion’s contribution included 14x4s and 1x6, as he took the attack to the USA bowlers. The Hong Kong skipper had ample support in the middle from Ashish Gadhia, c. wktpr. Siddiqui off the bowling of Ghous for a well-played 59 in 104 minutes and off 86 balls.
Hammad Shahid was the
USA’s most successful bowler grabbing 2 for 38 off 6.2 overs,
but surrendering 10 wides in the effort. The other two scalps were
claimed by Salman Ahmad and M.A. Ghous at 25 and 48 runs respectively.
The Hong Kong wickets fell at 0, 18, 174 and 179.
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