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Jason Mohammed blitzkrieg sinks USA


Jason Mohammed stormed his way to a 62-ball 101* to help Trinidad & Tobago register a 43-run win in a 30-over rain-curtailed encounter against USA. The Trinidadian, who played his last ODI almost 16 months back, took full toll of the wet outfield and a belter of a track, ending his innings with nine mammoth sixes and two crisply struck boundaries.
The Trinidad & Tobago batsmen made merry to pile up a staggering 244 off their 30 overs on an evening where bowlers were constantly seen drying the ball with a towel. The USA went down but not before putting in a spirited batting performance (something hitherto was amiss this tournament) mainly owing to Xavier Marshall's first half-century in his last 13 outings. However, despite showing signs of intent, USA could only manage 200 out of their allotted 30 overs as T&T romped home easily.
T&T decided to bat after winning the toss and sent in Jeremy Solozano and Tion Webster, who took a watchful approach in the first four overs as USA's opening bowlers Netravalkar and Jessy Singh managed to keep hitting the length without any considerable swing on offer. However, there was a sudden shift in momentum as both the batsmen freed their arms in Jessy Singh's 3rd over plundering 15 runs with a fiercely struck pull shot by Webster and a couple of nicely carved out cover drives from each batsman that raced away to the boundary. Following this, USA were quick to take the pace off the ball and introduce spin in the form of Karima Gore. Gore's uncanny knack of picking up wickets almost immediately in his spells came to the fore again as his twin strikes gave USA an upper hand with T&T in a slight bother at 40 for 2 at the end of 8 overs.
All of a sudden T&T had two new batsmen, Kyle Hope and Darren Bravo at the crease. Bravo, who has been omitted from the current West Indies' tour to India had his eyes popped up after seeing two left-arm orthodox spinners in the attack. Bravo went hell for the leather and hit three walloping sixes way beyond the ropes to the left-arm spinners and looked set to send a message across to the selectors with a big innings. It was strange tactics from the captain to bowl two left-arm spinners against Bravo in a shortened game. However, he was quick to rectify his mistake and introduced off-spinner Steven Taylor into the attack to have Bravo dismissed nicking off on the leg side. USA could've easily avoided that Bravo onslaught if 'keeper Homraj would've been able to grab a leg side feather touch of Bravo's bat off Nisarg's bowling when he was still stuck on 0.
Jason Mohammad joined Bravo in the 13th over and the pair added 78 more runs in the next 10 overs to turn the tables on USA who until now had not allowed T&T batsmen to get away with the match. Hope started the counterattack by taking 13 runs off Elmore's solitary over. He dinked one over the ropes through the cow corner region and shimmied across the wickets on a length ball to swat a pull behind square. The pair made their intentions clear once again by taking apart Taylor for 15 runs of the 22nd over. Taylor coming from round the wicket was taken to the cleaners with two lusty blows over midwicket from either batsman. Hope departed shortly after a plucky 47 off 41 balls, mistiming a flick off Jessy Singh.
What followed after this was complete mayhem as Stephen Katwaroo and Mohammad added a 100 runs off the remaining 43 balls. Mohammad pummelled 65 runs off his next 27 deliveries with Katwaroo not far behind with a 17-ball cameo of 31. Mohammad brought his hundred by depositing the final ball of the innings over long off in some style to take him from 95 to 101. The final two overs went for 43 runs.
USA openers Xavier Marshall and Monank Patel started off on a positive note as USA looked all prepared to go after T&T's total. Monank took off with two boundaries off Andy Philip's 2nd over. The first came off a healthy outside edge but he followed up with arguably what was the shot of the day; an upright, full-blooded off the rise on drive with the ball rocketing to the fence without a soul even moving. In the next over Marshall who had been struggling with his timing all summer long showed glimpses of his pomp, as he swept, lofted and drove Jaggesar for three boundaries off his over. In the over after that, a rampant Monank cross-batted a length ball from Philip to send it soaring over the ropes. However, Monank once again flattered to deceive as he tried to chip the very next ball over the keeper's head but went straight to third man, failing to place it fine. USA were 43 for one when the in-form Taylor joined Marshall.
Odean Smith struck in his very first over to send Taylor back to the pavilion having him miscue a lofted drive to mid-off. Marshall, the last ray of hope for USA kept on churning boundaries with USA's chances hanging by the thread. He brought up his 50 up with a brute pull shot off Imran Khan but was dismissed in the next over trying to force the issue with the required rate hovering over 10. Marshall made 53 of 58 balls with 5 fours and 2 monstrous sixes. The wheels fell off for USA's chase after Xavier Marshall's exit. Aaron Jones, who has been struggling with form in all the 3 matches he has played, crawled his way to 16 off 28 balls in a chase where the RPO was over 8 at the start of the innings. Elmore and Holland chipped in with some vital runs to give some respectability to the chase. Nisarg Patel too enjoyed himself out there in the middle after having an off day with the ball with a pugnacious innings of 31* off 24 balls including 4 boundaries.
The absence of a well strategized bowling plan at the death in a way cost USA the game. However, there were plenty of positives from the power play batting which USA can take in their stride and build upon the remaining four games in the tournament. They play their next game against the West Indies emerging team on 19th November at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy Stadium.
Brief Scores: Trinidad and Tobago 244/4 in 30 overs (Jason Mohammad 101*, Kyle Hope 47; Karima Gore 2-21) beat USA 201/7 in 30 overs (Xavier Marshall 53, Nisarg Patel 31*; Imran Khan 3-38) by 43 runs

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