West Indies cruise past USA despite Gajanand Singh’s century

West Indies 297 (Charles 66, Holder 56, Netravalkar 3-53, Taylor 3-53, Phillip 3-56) beat United States Of America 258 for 7 (Gajanand 101*, Mayers 2-30, Joseph 2-68) by 39 runs

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West Indies left no doubt as to who is the big brother in the Americas region, coasting past USA in the first ever ODI between the sides in what was also the first ever ODI staged at the Takashinga Sports Club in Harare.

USA were competitive for fits and spurts, but lacked the nous and stamina to maintain pressure for lengthy periods.

This became evident early in the first innings after new-ball bowlers Saurabh Netravalkar and Kyle Phillip began with consecutive maidens before two wickets across the next four overs pinned West Indies down at 14 for 2.

Roston Chase made 55 (Photo:ICC) 

But a 115-run partnership between Johnson Charles and Shai Hope ensued. It highlighted how badly USA missed key strike weapon Ali Khan, who was forced to sit out while serving the first of a two-match ban.

USA’s fielding effort also did not compensate for Khan’s absence, as four fairly straightforward chances were shelled across the innings.

The first came when Charles was on 12 in the eighth over as a top-edged heave against Phillip swirled behind slip where Steven Taylor was unable to corral a juggling effort and allowed Charles to top-score.

However, West Indies left the door ajar for USA to stay in the match with some self-inflicted wounds. The century stand ended when Hope played a reckless one-handed slap to sweeper cover on 54 to gift a wicket to left-arm spinner Nosthush Kenjige. With left-hand batter Nicholas Pooran arriving,

Steven Taylor was brought on to bowl offspin and he wound up bagging not just Pooran but two right-hand batters as well – Charles and Rovman Powell to a golden duck – all caught playing overeager shots as West Indies tried to continue bullying their Associate opposition.

 

But at 192 for 6 after 36, USA’s sloppy fielding reared its ugly head again as they committed three drops across the 44th and 45th overs. Holder got two lives on 24 and 27, and he stayed until the final over to forge a momentum-shifting 56 off 40 balls.

His late burst meant 297 was plenty to defend and was deemed vital enough to garner Player-of-the-Match honours.

 

USA got off to a modest start in the chase, reaching 35 in the eighth over before the wheels fell off. Sushant Modani fell for 14 slashing Holder to deep third before Taylor’s impetuous charge down the pitch four balls later to Kyle Mayers resulted in an edge behind for 18 to a ball that seamed away.

Keemo Paul in action

 

USA captain Monank Patel became Mayers’ second victim four overs later for 6, slicing a drive that was intercepted brilliantly by Roston Chase reaching up at backward point, a moment that once again highlighted the gulf in fielding quality between the two sides.

Saiteja Mukkamalla fell for a three-ball duck strangled down the leg side by Joseph in the following over before Aaron Jones was run out dramatically as both he and Gajanand Singh ended up at the non-striker’s end after Jones attempted to dab a single behind point, to make it 97 for 5.

 

With 201 runs still to get across the final 30 overs, USA showed little intent for the remainder of play. Gajanand, who once represented West Indies at the 2006 Under-19 World Cup, lasted to the end to bring up his maiden ODI century, providing a silver lining to the day for USA while also mitigating their net run rate hit in case the tiebreaker comes into play later on.

 

He celebrated his century in emotional fashion with his helmet off and arms aloft. “I did it for my father,” Gajanand told ESPNcricinfo afterwards. “I was very emotional because he passed away when I made my ODI debut two years ago. It meant a lot to me.” (ESPNcricinfo)

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