By Lloyd Jodah
The name Singapore has its ancient origins in Sanskrit, with “Singa” derived from the Sanskrit word for “Lion,” whilst “pore” might come from “pura” meaning “city” or “fortress.” The USA team took on the “Lion-city” cricket team, in its effort to get to the next stage of the World Cricket League, in Italy.
Singapore won the toss and decided to bat. The Singapore openers Suryawanshi and Mendis took apart the USA opening attack of Kevin Darlington and Timroy Allen, and were 25 without loss after 4 overs. Baker came on and was immediately hammered through the off-side for four. Singapore’s 50 came up in 10 overs. The breakthrough finally came after Sudesh Dhaniram had curbed the scoring rate, the batsmen looked for a single, and Steve Massiah sent an accurate throw to wicketkeeper Wright to run out Mendis for 27. Singapore 64/1 off 15 overs.
Massiah then caught a hard and fast pull by Suryawanshi off Lennox Cush to make Singapore 65 for 2. Narender Reddy 51 (72 balls, 4 fours 2 sixes) and Param 24 (58 balls, 2 fours) brought up Singapore’s 100 in 26 overs. The Power-play was taken in the 36th over, and Reddy brought up his 50 with a six over long-off. Carl Wright, behind the stumps then caught Reddy with his pads (the ball lodged in the wicket-keeper’s pads for a catch) off Darlington, and stumped Param.
The “Lion King” Singaraja was, however bashing the ball royally and hit five fours and two sixes off 29 balls before Darlington got him by a diving Dhaniram for 45. Singapore ended their 50 overs at 245 for 9. Kevin Darlington took 4 for 65 off his 10 overs, and narrowly missed getting five scalps.
USA began their innings by losing Sushil Nadkarni for a first ball duck, but Captain Steve Massiah began auspiciously by cover-driving for four. Then Baker was struck plumb for an lbw to bring in the in-form Lennox Cush. A glorious on drive for four later Cush was beaten in flight by the spinner Manoj-Kumar and was stumped by Suryawanshi for 14. USA 36/3 in 8.1 overs.
Captain Steve Massiah was looking good at the other end, like Hannibal before him, trying to get his men through the mountains to get to Italy. Thyagarajan 22, and Massiah put on 40 before Thyagarajan was caught off Param by Hussein via a very difficult catch. USA 89/5 and finding themselves surprisingly on the back foot. Wright went quickly for 10 and Massiah was bowled behind his back, missing a sweep by Manoj-Kumar, who had given everyone difficulty. Massiah made 50 in 98 balls with two fours.
At 127 for 7 off 33.2 overs USA’s hopes of making it over the mountains were getting slimmer. Rashard Marshall clobbered a six and a four before losing his wicket. Saurabh Verma was the last man out for 14, ending the USA’s inning at 146 in 27.5 overs, and losing to Singapore by 99 runs.
Singapore’s population is only about five million but the city-state has made its mark in many categories amongst the world’s countries, like being the second busiest port in the world. Today it beat the USA Cricket team, putting the USA in a must-win situation in its next game. The other variables for the US to qualify for Italy, reminds one of an NFL wildcard situation.
So, instead of saying “Andiamo al’ Italia a giocare Cricket.” (We’re going to Italy to play Cricket) Team USA must go into the next game chanting ”Forza Stati Uniti ” (All the way USA).