USA’s World Cup Report: Promising signs from the next generation
Wins – 0
Losses – 4
Finishing position – Knocked out in first group stage
The draw was not kind to the USA, who had both the giants of Australia and hugely impressive Bangladesh to face in the group stage.
A strong performance with the ball pushed Sri Lanka close 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 looked like making it through to the Super Six stage.
That’s not to say there weren’t positives to take from the experience. A number of batters played well in patches, and the runs and wickets were spread quite evenly across the squad, showing a depth of talent that not all national set-ups can match. And with the ball there was impressive control shown at times, which gives a number of the players a strong base on which to grow.
And in 16-year-old Snigdha Paul, USA have a player who showed moments of real class, particularly – and encouragingly – against the higher calibre teams in the group.
THE BEHIND-THE-SCENES VIEW
Sonali Dhulap is part of the ICC’s team on the ground in South Africa, and had this to say about her experiences working with and alongside the USA squad:
“If there was one thing the USA women brought in abundance it was their unmatched confidence. They sounded 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 is still growing, they did not have any less challenges to overcome.
“They had a couple of close games, and while the results didn’t go their way, they looked open to embrace the learnings from this tournament.”
STAR PERFORMER – Snigdha Paul
The American all-rounder didn’t finish the World Cup with massively eye-catching tournament figures, but stood out because of when she produced her best.
Still just 16 years old and with plenty of room to grow, Paul showed her potential by finishing as the top scorer in the matches against the two toughest opponents USA faced – hitting 26 against Bangladesh and a brave 17 against Australia.
Her bowling was good too, giving Sri Lanka all sorts of problems in the first match as she conceded just two runs from three overs. All three of Paul’s wickets were to dismiss opening batters, to once again highlight the high ceiling of her talent.
NOTABLE MENTIONS – Laasaya Mullapudi and Disha Dhingra
USA opener Mullapudi saved her best for the last, hitting eight boundaries in an inspired 43 from 33 balls against Scotland. It was far and away her team’s highest individual score of the tournament, and helped set up a first-innings total that very nearly proved sufficient for a famous win.
USA’s other top-order batter Dhingra was steady throughout the World Cup, making good contributions in three of the four games to finish as her team’s top scorer.
Her 18 against Sri Lanka first up gave her team an anchor point and some hope of building a competitive score. And she played a similar role against Bangladesh with her steady 20 at the top of the order.
But it was her 30 from 33 balls against Scotland in the last outing of the tournament that was most impressive, helping set USA up for comfortably their highest team score of the tournament.
Sri Lanka – Lost by 7 wickets
Ball dominated bat in the first innings of the two teams’ tournament opener, with Sri Lanka taking wickets at frequent intervals.
Only Disha Dhingra (18 from 26) and Ritu Priya Singh (22 from 23) impressed for USA as they made 96/9, with Dewmi Bihanga Wijerathne (3/11) and Vidushika Perera (2/15) the pick of the bowlers.
Sri Lanka took their time in the chase and had work to do at 46/3 after 10.2 overs. But a match-winning stand between Vishmi Gunarathne (34* from 40) and Manudi Nanayakkara (32* from 31) sealed the win with an over to spare.
Bhumika Bhadriraju impressed with the ball, taking 2/17 in her four overs, while Snigdha Paul kept things extremely tight, conceding just two runs from her three overs and dismissing the dangerous opener Nethmi Senarathna in a fine individual display.
Australia – Lost by 9 wickets
USA struggled against the quality of Australia’s bowling attack, losing all ten wickets for just 64 runs in 15.3 overs, with Snigdha Paul (17 from 24) the joint top-scorer along with extras. Opener Laasaya Mullapudi was the only other American to reach double figures in an innings that featured an extraordinary five run-outs.
USA made an encouraging start with the ball, with Paul again at the forefront with an early breakthrough, bowling Paris Bowdler.
But that was the final high point for the USA on the day. A calm and professional partnership between Kate Pelle (30* from 26) and Claire Moore (22* from 17) saw Australia home with 11.2 overs and nine wickets remaining.
Bangladesh – Lost by 5 wickets
Having failed to pass 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 making valuable contributions. For Bangladesh, skipper Disha Biswas (2/13) and Marufa Akter (1/17) starred with the ball.
USA fought till the end with the ball, fielding and bowling with aplomb, but Bangladesh’s quality ultimately told, and they reached the total 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 her four overs.
Scotland – Lost by 5 wickets
A thrilling finish saw Scotland take the spoils against USA in the two teams’ final match at the tournament.
On a decent batting strip, USA openers took little time to open up after winning the toss, adding 37 runs during the powerplay overs. They doubled down on their aggression thereafter, scoring 38 runs off the next 4.3 overs, before Disha Dhingra (30 from 33) was brilliantly caught down the leg-side by keeper Ailsa Lister.
Her opening partner, Laasaya Mullapudi (43 from 33) fell in the very next over while trying to up the scoring rate. After getting rid of the openers, Scotland reaped the rewards of some disciplined bowling, with Nayma Sheikh (1/19), Orla Montgomery (2/29) and Fraser (3/23) among the wickets.
Set a target of 148, Scotland went all guns blazing. Despite losing Lister (9 from 6) to a stunning catch from Tya Gonsalves and Darcey Carter (15 from 15) to a stumping, both off the wily Aditiba Chudasama (2/20), Scotland reached 42/2 at the end of their powerplay overs.
Neither side were able to assert their dominance during the middle overs, as every charge by Scotland was matched by a flurry of dots from the bowlers.
Scotland required eight to win off the final over with two fresh batters at the crease, but held their nerve as the pressure grew, with a four from Molly Paton securing the win for Scotland with five wickets and two balls remaining.