USA v West Indies, U-19 World Cup Group B February 6, 2006

West Indies' strength proves too much for USA

West Indies 302 for 7 (Perkins 133, Singh 65) beat USA 215 (Punoo 65, Roach 3-24) by 87 runs

The West Indies displayed their brutal batting power in their Under-19 World Cup group match on Monday when they ran up an impressive total of 302 for 7 to beat USA by 87 runs - but not before going through some anxious moments.

The USA, for all their inexperience, had the West Indies rattled to some extent when they ran up 150 for 3 after 25 overs. If it was a Test-playing nation they would have sailed through and won. But USA, who are playing in this tournament for the first time, lacked that little bit of experience to pace out their innings gradually after batting themselves into a winning position. Once their captain, Hemant Punoo - who made an attractive 65 off 52 balls and Akeem Dodson (43 with 5 fours) were dismissed, the rest of the batting folded tamely.

However, the USA should be proud of the way they played against a full member country getting to a respectable 215 before being bowled out in the 46th over. They could consider this performance an achievement in the annals of their cricket history.

They were helped to a great extent by the West Indies bowlers who had trouble controlling the ball. They conceded 38 wides accounting for an unusual 55 extras which, so far in the tournament, has been a common problem. It must constitute some kind of a record at this level of cricket.

The West Indies came into this game riding on totals of 293 against Sri Lanka and 310 for 8 against New Zealand and they continued in the same vein to put the hapless USA bowlers to the sword. After finishing runners-up to Pakistan in the last Under-19 World Cup, held in Bangladesh two years ago, West Indies are determined to go the full distance and finish it off this time. However, they have their work cut out; they are drawn in a tough group with Australia and South Africa.

The West Indies were power-driven by a superb century from opener William Perkins who made a tournament top-score of 133 off 150 balls to deservedly take the Man-of-the-Match award. This innings was constructed after USA had somewhat stunned their opponents with two early wickets in the third over to have them struggling at 8 for 2.

USA's joy was short-lived, however, as Perkins - along with Jason Mohammed (45) and Gajanand Singh (65) - turned the game around with two century stands that lifted the total to 263 for 4 by the 46th over. The Perkins-Mohammed stand produced 124 off 144 balls and the Perkins-Singh partnership a further 144 off 116 balls.

What was so evident from the the West Indies' batsmen was the power of their shot-making, which they will hope to continue into their next match against Australia on Wednesday.