Jones, Netravalkar Stars To Give, To The UNITED States In The Early Lift-off > Cricket News, cricinfo, mobilecric, cricbuzz, livescore and more

Cricket news - Jones, Netravalkar star to give USA early lift off

Saurabh Netravalkar led from the front with a five-wicket haul

Saurabh Netravalkar led from the front with a five-wicket haul

USA romped home to victory on the first day of the Dubai leg of the World Cup League 2 in Sharjah against UAE by 3 wickets today. Aaron Jones led USA's chase of 202 in 47 overs with a rock-solid 95 off 114 balls, whereas Saurabh Netravalkar continued his red-hot wicket-taking form to become USA's first bowler to bag a 5 wicket haul in ODIs.

Netravalkar bowled miserly lengths with the new ball before bringing all his experience into play at the death to clean up UAE's tail before their allotted 47 overs.

Earlier, UAE had decided to bat first and fielded six debutants in the team owing to their recent struggles with senior players being suspended over corruption allegations. They opened with Chirag Suri and the 17-year-old keeper Vriitya Arvind. After starting to get the feel of the ball, Arvind showed no hesitation in punishing Rusty Theron for 2 crisply struck boundaries: a pull shot over midwicket which had the media centre gasping in collective awe and an on the up back foot cover drive piercing cover and point. Just when Arvind looked solid for a fairytale debut, Netravalkar had him feather one behind to send him back for 16 in the 8th over. A moment of brilliance, fielding at point, from Noshtush Kenjige had the new batsman Darius D'Silva run out in Netravalkar's next over with the UAE in a spot bother at 37 for two.

Suri and another debutant, Basil Hameed, started repairing the early damage inflicted by USA. Suri started to throw caution to the winds, attacking Cameron Stevenson's barrage of bouncers with nicely timed pulls and hooks. Stevenson who tasted considerable success by bouncing the batsmen off with his raw pace in the recently concluded Westindies Super50 competition went wicketless with that game plan today. Theron returned in the 21st over to truncate an ominous-looking hand from Hameed who was LBW to a ball that may have hit him outside the line.

Mohammad Usman, the hard-hitting south paw joined Suri who had by now lost a bit of steam in his innings. The pair added 28 off the next 49 balls as Suri then holed out at cow corner with Theron completing a stupendous catch. Rohan Mustafa, who swaggered out to the middle after the wicket, handsomely reverse swept Steven Taylor for a boundary before the former had him pinned in front attempting the same shot 2 balls later. A seemingly worked up Taylor even gave Mustafa an unpleasant send-off.

Usman and captain Ahmed Raza then synergized to architect a momentum-shifting stand of 46 off 37 balls. Usman started taking heavy toll of length balls, heaving them over the on side with minimal effort. Raza got into the act too by neutralizing Kenjige taking 13 runs in the bowler's final over. In the next 13 balls Netravalkar bamboozled the UAE tail - twice picking 2 wickets in consecutive deliveries - starting the collapse by castling captain Raza. UAE lost their last 4 wickets for 6 runs to leave Usman stranded on 59*.

In the chase, USA finally decided to send in Monank Patel and Xavier Marshall after their series of top-order auditions in the Caribbean. UAE's 3rd debutant Junaide Siddiqui left the USA starring down the barrel with 2 big wickets in 2 balls. Monank threw his hands to an away moving ball way outside the offstump to get caught at first slip. Taylor offered no shot to get stuck in front to a delivery jagging back in the air pitching on off.

Following which, Aaron Jones joined Marshall in the middle in what was beginning to look like a challenging chase. The pair were subjected to a very disciplined bowling effort from UAE who made boundaries difficult to come by. Jones ensured he did not trap himself with a series of dot balls like he did in the Caribbean last month but showed some real intent and clarity in going about this small albeit tricky chase. He was unafraid to hit the ball in the air, clearing the ropes on 2 occassions; something which he has stayed away from for quite a while.

In a bizarre turn of events Marshall was adjudged out obstructing the field while trying to steal a run and add to his tally of 34 runs, and ending a 78-run third wicket stand. USA then sent in Ian Holland, ahead of Akshay Homraj, who kept busy at the crease from the word go. Holland added 47 crucial runs with Jones before being dismissed against the run of play with a return catch of Ahmed Raza that left many stunned with the bowler flinging himself horizontally to his left and plucking it with his left hand.

Homraj joined Jones with USA needing 74 in 94 deliveries. By now Jones who had clearly established himself at the crease put the chase on cruise control. He got out with 8 runs to win in an effort to get to his century before USA crossed the finish line. Eventually USA got home with 10 balls to spare and 3 wickets in hand thanks to Gore's mature knock of 26 of 29 balls.

USA are now the table toppers of the World Cup League 2 having played a game more than the other six teams. They play their next game against Scotland tomorrow which will be an uphill task for the men in blue as they lost by 119 runs to the same opposition in a practice match a couple of days back.

Brief Scores: UAE 202 all out (Muhammad Usman 59*, Chirag Suri 46; Saurabh Netravalkar 5-32) lost to USA 206/7 in 45.2 ov (Aaron Jones 95; Junaid Siddique 3-37) by 3 wickets

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