The future stars of USA women’s cricket showed their talent in a winless but encouraging display at the 2023 ICC U19 Women’s T20 World Cup.
Won – 0
Losses – 4
Finishing position – Eliminated in the first group stage
The draw was not kind to the United States, who had both the giants of Australia and the very impressive Bangladesh to face in the group stage.
A solid performance with the ball brought Sri Lanka closer in their opening match, and there were encouraging individual displays against the two strongest opponents. But a lack of consistency, particularly with the bat, meant they rarely seemed to qualify for the Super Six stage.
That’s not to say there weren’t positives to be had from the experience. A number of batters played well in the patches, and runs and wickets were spread fairly evenly across the team, showing a depth of talent that not all national setups can match. And with the ball there was impressive control at times, which gives a number of players a solid base to grow from.
And in 16-year-old Snigdha Paul, USA has a player who has shown some high-class moments, especially – and encouragingly – against the higher caliber teams in the group.
THE VIEW FROM THE SCENES
Sonali Dhulap is part of the ICC team on the ground in South Africa, and had this to say about her experiences working with and alongside the US team:
“If there was one thing American women brought with them in abundance, it was their unparalleled confidence. They seemed bold, fearless and ready to take on the world.
“It was good to see the camaraderie the girls shared and they felt like they were part of one family. In a country where the game keeps growing, they still had challenges to overcome. .
“They had a few tight games, and even though the results weren’t there, they seemed ready to learn from this tournament.”
STAR PERFORMER – Snigdha Paul
The all-around American didn’t finish the World Cup with massively eye-catching tournament numbers, but stood out for when she produced her best.
Just 16 and with plenty of room to grow, Paul showed her potential by finishing top scorer in matches against the United States’ two toughest opponents – hitting 26 against Bangladesh and a brave 17 against India. Australia.
Her bowling was good too, giving Sri Lanka all sorts of trouble in the opener as she conceded just two runs from three overs. Paul’s three wickets were to return the opening batters, to once again underline the high ceiling of his skill.
NOTABLE MENTIONS – Laasaya Mullapudi and Disha Dhingra
American flyhalf Mullapudi saved her best for last, hitting eight boundaries in an inspired 43 from 33 against Scotland. It was by far his team’s highest individual score of the tournament and helped set a first set total that proved nearly enough for a famous win.
Dhingra, America’s other top hitter was steady throughout the World Cup, making good contributions in three of four games to finish as her side’s top scorer.
His 18 against first-place Sri Lanka gave his team an anchor and some hope of building a competitive scoreline. And she played a similar role against Bangladesh with her top 20 regulars.
But it was his 30-from-33 rounds against Scotland in the tournament’s last outing that were the most impressive, helping the United States comfortably claim their best team score of the tournament.
Sri Lanka – Lost by 7 wickets
The ball dominated the bat in the opening innings of both teams’ tournament opener, with Sri Lanka taking wickets at frequent intervals.
Only Disha Dhingra (18 of 26) and Ritu Priya Singh (22 of 23) impressed for the United States making 96/9, with Dewmi Bihanga Wijerathne (3/11) and Vidushika Perera (2/15) the choice of bowlers.
Sri Lanka took their time in the hunt and had work to do at 46/3 after 10.2 overs. But a winning position between Vishmi Gunarathne (34* out of 40) and Manudi Nanayakkara (32* out of 31) sealed victory with an over to spare.
Bhumika Bhadriraju impressed with the ball, taking 2/17 in his four overs, while Snigdha Paul kept things extremely tight, conceding just two runs from his three overs and clearing dangerous opener Nethmi Senarathna in a fine one-on-one display.
Australia – Lost by 9 wickets
The United States struggled with the quality of Australia’s bowling attack, losing all ten wickets for just 64 runs in 15.3 overs, with Snigdha Paul (17 of 24) the top scorer with extras. Fly-half Laasaya Mullapudi was the only other American to hit double figures in an innings that featured five extraordinary outings.
The United States made an encouraging start with the ball, with Paul again at the forefront with an early breakthrough, bowling Paris Bowdler.
But it was the final high point for the United States that day. A calm and professional partnership between Kate Pelle (30* from 26) and Claire Moore (22* from 17) saw Australia head home with 11.2 overs and nine wickets remaining.
Bangladesh – Lost by 5 wickets
Failing to get past 100 in their first two games, USA dug deep on a slow wicket in search of a solid score. The tactic gave the Americans a competitive total of 103/4, with Disha Dhingra (20). Snigdha Paul (26), Geetika Kodali (16) and Isani Vaghela (17*) all made valuable contributions. For Bangladesh skipper Disha Biswas (2/13) and Marufa Akter (1/17) played the ball.
The United States fought to the end with the ball, bowling and bowling with aplomb, but Bangladesh’s quality finally showed, and they went full with five wickets and 15 balls to spare.
It was Aditiba Chudasama who stood out on this occasion with the ball, taking 2/15 in his four overs.
Scotland – Lost by 5 wickets
A thrilling ending saw Scotland claim the spoils against the United States in the last match for both sides of the tournament.
On a decent batting strip, the American openers took little time to open up after winning the toss, adding 37 runs during power-play overs. They doubled their aggression afterwards, scoring 38 from the next 4.3, before Disha Dhingra (30 from 33) was brilliantly caught on the leg side by goalkeeper Ailsa Lister.
His opening partner, Laasaya Mullapudi (43 of 33) fell in the very next while trying to increase the scoring rate. After getting rid of openers, Scotland reaped the rewards of disciplined bowling, with Nayma Sheikh (1/19), Orla Montgomery (2/29) and Fraser (3/23) among the wickets.
Set a target of 148, Scotland fired all the guns. Despite Lister losing (9 of 6) to a stunning hold by Tya Gonsalves and Darcey Carter (15 of 15) on a stumping, both on the tricky Aditiba Chudasama (2/20), Scotland reached 42/ 2 at the end of his power play. overs.
Neither team was able to assert dominance during the middle overs, as each charge from Scotland was matched by a flurry of points from the bowlers.
Scotland needed eight to win the final with two fresh batters in the crease, but kept their composure as the pressure mounted, with a four from Molly Paton securing victory for Scotland with five wickets and two balls remaining.