Friday, July 19, 2024

U.S. cricket team recovers from poor start but loses to India at Twenty20 World Cup

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It started with an “lbw” for a “golden duck,” got a little worse before it got a little better, and then finished as widely expected for the United States cricket team, losing to India at the Twenty20 World Cup.

The Americans entered Wednesday’s match on a huge high after beating cricket powerhouse Pakistan in their previous game. But India, the highest ranked team in the tournament, showed its depth and made sure it avoided becoming another upset victim at Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in Westbury, N.Y.

India, which advanced to the next round of the competition with the victory, won by seven wickets — meaning they eclipsed the 110-run total put up by the U.S. team and still had seven more players who didn’t have to bat.

The Americans still have one more Group A match to play on Friday against Ireland in Florida. With a victory, they could still advance to next stage, known as the Super 8 for the top eight teams after the initial group stage.

“We’re just going to revamp right now and then we’re traveling later and then we’re going to have a few meetings,” United States captain Aaron Jones said. “And we’re going to come hard against Ireland for sure.”

Like several other sports, a cricket match begins with a coin toss. India won that and chose to play in the field first, putting the Americans up to bat.

The very first throw from Arshdeep Singh sped by the bat of Shayan Jahangir and hit his leg as he stepped in front of the stumps — three sticks of wood protruding from the ground. In baseball, that scenario would have put Jahangir on first base. In cricket, it’s an out if the ball would have knocked the smaller sticks, known as bails, off the stumps if not impeded. It goes in the book as an “lbw,” short for “leg before wicket.”

When a batsman gets out without scoring a run, it’s called a “duck.” When it’s the first ball they face in a match, it gets the golden addition.

A few moments after Jahangir walked off the field, the Americans lost another batsman when Andries Gous hit a ball in the air that was caught by Hardik Pandya.

Two outs, or two wickets in cricket lingo, gone so soon made for a terrible start for a team that has so far exceeded expectations.

The American recovery came in the second half of their 20 overs (about 120 pitched balls). After scoring only 42 runs in the first part of their batting period, the U.S. players added 68 runs in the final 10 overs to finish with a respectable 110 runs with eight wickets gone.

Nitish Kumar and Steven Taylor were the highest scorers for the U.S., with 27 and 24 runs, respectively. Jones, the batsman who led the way against Pakistan with 36 runs and scored a whopping 94 in the first match against Canada, managed only 11 on Wednesday.

“They’re going from strength to strength and I can hope nothing but the best for them,” India captain Rohit Sharma said. “They’re hard-working guys, but yeah, they’re making their mark here in U.S.”

India also had to overcome an early wobble, with star player Virat Kohli surprisingly out for a “golden duck” on the second ball thrown by the Americans. He tipped the ball behind and the wicketkeeper, the baseball equivalent of a catcher, made the grab for the first Indian wicket.

Minutes later, the Americans added the wicket of Sharma, who had scored only three runs.

That certainly gave the U.S. team a big boost, especially after the respectable total of 110 runs, but India has plenty of players who can score. The team lost only one more wicket before getting to the game-winning total of 111 to win.

Suryakumar Yadav scored the most runs for India with 50, known as a half-century. Shivam Dube added 31.

“Yes, we lost some wickets up front, but credit to Surya and Dube to show that maturity and take the game ’til the end,” Sharma said.

The crowd at the temporary cricket stadium about an hour outside New York was filled with thousands of fans wearing light blue and orange India shirts, but there was also plenty of support for the home team.

Those American fans were noticed by the players on the field.

“This is something that we’ve been talking about over the last couple of years, wanting more fans for USA cricket,” Jones said. “So now is the time that we’re really enjoying it.”

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AP cricket:

Chris Lehourites, The Associated Press

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