USA boost play-off chances with big win
The USA did well to recover from their loss to Canada the previous day to put in a strong performance against Argentina in the second match of the Americas women's championship triangular in Fort Lauderdale. The convincing nine-wicket win kept the hosts in the hunt for the title and qualification for the play-off series which would ensure a berth in the Women's World Cup qualifying tournament.
The margin of victory was the exact opposite of their loss against the same opponents in the Twenty20 section of the event, earlier in the week, and was a fair reflection of a dominant display. The future of the teams now depend on tomorrow's final game in the triangular, between Canada and Argentina - a Canada win would result in the team successfully defending their regional crown, and going through along with USA to the playoff series to be held later in the year. Victory for Argentina would translate into a three-way tie, with qualification depending on net run-rate.
After being asked to bat, Argentina got off to a nervous start, slumping to 11 for 3. However, a spirited fourth-wicket partnership between Dirce Yuli and Catalina Greloni took them to 71 in 21 overs. But the experienced USA bowlers turned on the pressure, and the regular fall of wickets meant Argentina were bowled out for 131 in 38.5 overs.
Yuli was far and away the star of the innings, making a outstanding 56 off 80 balls as opener, with four boundaries. Captain Greloni chipped in with 19, but none of the other batsmen reached double figures. Isoline Sutherland was the most successful among the USA bowlers, with 3 for 16 in 8 overs, while Ivy Mahabir picked up 2 for 8.
With a USA batting order boasting a top four of former West Indies internationals, early wickets were imperative for Argentina if they wanted to fight their way back into the game. However, the quality and experience of the batting stood firm, and led by Shirley-Ann Bonaparte's aggressive unbeaten 55, comprising six fours, and 24 not out from Candacy Atkins, USA eventually coasted to victory in the 33rd over.
In the other game of the day, minnows Brazil put in a memorable performance even as they went down to the Trinidad & Tobago Development XI by 81 runs. In their first ever official event, the Brazilians have won friends and admirers for their courageous and enthusiastic displays, and this match was no exception. Having bowled out T&T Development XI for 195, the Brazilian batsmen put in a spirited performance to reach 114 for 9 in their 40 overs.
For the T&T Development XI, Whitney Cudjoe crafted a fine innings of 79, while Shenelle Lord contributed with 37. Among the bowlers, Davika Singh shone with 4 for 19 while Darian Diaz took 2 for 18. For the Brazilians, Juliana Brito put in an all-round perfromance, picking up 2 for 32 and then top scoring with 23. Carol Moraes bowled excellently to finish with 3 for 27 while Marcia Negreiros took 2 for 25 in 6 overs.
Tomorrow's fixtures at Brian Picollo Park in Cooper City, Broward County, sees the big clash between favourites Canada and Argentina while T&T Development XI take on Bermuda later.