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The United States cruised to a comfortable seven-wicket win over Argentina on the third day of the Americas Championship at Maple Leaf CC in Toronto, Canada, and in doing so set up a potential championship decider with Bermuda on Friday.
Sent in to bat, Argentina started disastrously, losing their first two wickets in the very first over to paceman Imran Awan. It was a continued uphill struggle from then for the Argentine batsmen against a sharp USA attack, and it was only thanks to a gritty 6th wicket partnership of 59 between Donny Forrester and Alejandro Ferguson that steered Argentina towards respectability.
Forrester eventually ended with 43, from 75 balls, with five fours, while Ferguson scored a well-deserved half-century, making 57 from 83 balls with five fours and a six. Argentina's innings closed on 182 in the 49th over.
For the USA pacemen Iwan, with 3 for 51, and Khawaja Shuja, with 2 for 22, did the initial damage, while spinner Lennox Cush bowled well to end with 2 for 30.
Although a respectable target set by Argentina, it was never going to be enough against a powerful USA top-order, despite a spirited opening burst from the Argentine seamers. With the USA at 64 for 3, and first-day centurion Sushil Nadkarni back in the pavilion, there was a sniff of another giant-killing act in the tournament.
But captain Steve Massiah and Lennox Cush had other ideas, and their 120 run undefeated 4th wicket partnership saw the USA home with 22 overs to spare. Massiah continued his fine form with the bat, scoring an undefeated 54 off 59 balls, with 7 fours, while Cush, later named man of the match, scored a blistering 73 not out off only 42 balls, with 8 fours and 5 sixes.
Seamers Gary Savage, 1 for 37 in 8 overs, and Steven Nino, 1 for 34 in 8 overs, bowled well to test the USA top order, but Argentina ultimately did not score anywhere near enough in their innings.
The USA now face unbeaten Bermuda on Friday in a key clash. A Bermudan victory will clinch the title for them for the first time in their history, while a USA victory will keep the championship chase alive into the final day on Saturday.
Martin Williamson is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and AfricaFeeds: Martin Williamson
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Executive editor Martin Williamson joined the Wisden website in its planning stages in 2001 after failing to make his millions in the internet boom when managing editor of Sportal. Before that he was in charge of Sky Sports Online and helped launch and run Sky News Online. With a preference for all things old (except his wife and children), he has recently confounded colleagues by displaying an uncharacteristic fondness for Twenty20 cricket. His enthusiasm for the game is sadly not matched by his ability, but he remains convinced that he might be a late developer and perseveres in the hope of an England call-up with his middle-order batting and non-spinning offbreaks. He is now managing editor of ESPN EMEA Digital Group as well as his Cricinfo responsibilities.