After the jubilation of their unexpected win over Scotland, USA came crashing back down today as Niall O’Brien’s 84 lifted Ireland to a 202-4 and a 78-run win.
Aditya Thyagarajan’s unbeaten 72 saved USA’s humiliation after they had slipped to 25-6 but their eventual 124-6 was too little too late after Ireland, who played in the last World Cup in the Caribbean, ratcheted up their highest total in Twenty20 cricket.
Guyanese Lennox Cush who made 41 in the first match when Jamaican Carl Wright scored a brilliant half-century, only managed 2 yesterday while Guyanese Sudesh Dhaniram and Steve Massiah fell for ducks off successive balls from David Johnston.
Peter Connell had earlier sent back Wright (2), Rashard Marshall (0) and Cush as the North Americans slumped to 7-3. After the promising start in the win over Scotland, USA were badly let down by their bowlers.
Guyanese pacer Kevin Darlington (0-46 from 4 overs), Cush (0-36 from 4) and Dhaniram (0-31 from 4) were also unable to produce with the ball for their adopted country.
William Porterfield and O’Brien stormed to 83 at 10 an over before Saurabh Verma found the edge of Porterfield’s bat for 45, and after he departed Alex Cusack ensured there would be no let-up in the onslaught.
O’Brien looked set for a maiden Twenty20 hundred with 19 balls remaining in the innings but gave Timroy Allen the first of his two wickets to depart for 84, but by then the total had already passed 170. Trent Johnston and Gary Wilson’s late hitting then took Ireland’s score past 200. Thoroughly demoralised after Ireland’s blitz, USA’s batsmen quickly capitulated. Three top order batsmen fell without scoring – including Captain Massiah, to the first ball he faced – as USA crumbled to 11-5. Three overs later they slipped to 25-6, and it looked as though USA would struggle to survive past the halfway mark of their innings. With only honour left to play for, debutant Thyagarajan set about his task with gusto, collecting 11 fours and adding 99 with Orlando Baker to salvage some pride.
In theory, USA also still have a chance of going through to the next round, although they will have to inflict a resounding defeat on Afghanistan today which, on current form, looks highly unlikely.
Meanwhile, Sudesh’s younger brother Sunil Dhaniram bowled well to take 1-17 from 4 overs but his impressive left-arm spin could not prevent Canada from crashing to a 9-wicket defeat against Kenya in another game played yesterday.
The 41-year-old Dhaniram made 0 not out as Canada made 139-9 off 20 overs and Kenya raced to 141-1 off 14.5 overs with Alex Obanda (78) and Steve Tikolo (50*) adding 126 for the first wicket before Dhaniram trapped Obanda leg before.
Tikolo’s 50, from 36 balls, included five fours and a six and reminded everyone that, even at the age of 38, he remains one of the most gifted batsmen outside Test cricket.
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