Peter Della Penna is ESPNcricinfo's USA correspondent. @PeterDellaPenna
Opening batsman Fahad Babar navigated USA through a tricky chase with an unbeaten 78 off 54 balls to give the host nation a five-wicket win over Bermuda on Sunday at Indianapolis World Sports Park.
USA needed 30 off the final three overs and 19 off the last two with five wickets in hand in pursuit of Bermuda's 123 for 7 on a slow wicket. Janeiro Tucker struck twice in the 17th over to give Bermuda momentum heading into the final overs but Babar stole it back with a brilliant flourish to seal the match.
A misfield at long-on resulted in a boundary off the first ball of the 19th bowled by Tucker and two balls later Babar smashed a full toss for six over midwicket to settle USA's nerves. After back-to-back singles, Babar heaved another six over midwicket to seal the match with an over to spare.
Babar was the glue that held the USA innings together in a match where only he and Bermuda's Christian Burgess passed 20. Akeem Dodson fell at the start of USA's chase for a duck top-edging to cover off Dion Stovell in the second over. Steven Taylor came in and struck a pair of boundaries but otherwise struggled to come to grips with the slow pitch, racking up 14 dots in his 17 deliveries before Tucker pulled off a phenomenal leaping catch at midwicket to dismiss Taylor for 9 to make it 38 for 2 in the seventh.
Nicholas Standford fell for 10 leg before after missing an attempted sweep to the left-arm spinner Delray Rawlins to make it 62 for 3 in the 11th but Babar never looked fazed at any point during the chase with wickets falling around him. He brought up his 50 off 42 balls in the 15th over and deservedly won the Man of the Match honor.
Bermuda had won the toss and elected to bat first on a warm and sunny afternoon at the ISWP but were mostly held in check by a tight USA spin bowling attack. Captain Muhammad Ghous got the ball rolling by trapping James Celestine lbw for 7 on the first ball of the fourth over to make it 15 for 1.
Danial Ahmed and Timil Patel nipped out two wickets each with Patel using excellent flight to secure a pair of stumpings, David Hemp for 20 and Rawlins for 6, as Bermuda struggled to 65 for 6 in the 14th over.
Wicketkeeper Burgess resuscitated the Bermuda innings with a series of powerful drives down the ground and produced a 50-run stand for the seventh wicket in tandem with Jacobi Robinson. Burgess dominated the partnership and eventually finished 43 not out. It appeared to be enough for Bermuda before Babar's late burst clinched the win for USA.
Bermuda play Canada in the morning match on Monday at the IWSP while USA square off against Suriname.
United States of America
U.S.A. vs Bermuda
ICC Americas Region Division One Twenty20