Legspinner Timil Patel's five-wicket haul and half-centuries from opening batsmen Steven Taylor and Fahad Babar helped tournament favourites USA romp past Bermuda by eight wickets at Severn Cricket Field on the opening day of WCL Division Four in Los Angeles on Saturday.
Timil took 1 for 18 in his initial four-over spell, before returning in the 43rd over with a double-wicket maiden that reduced Bermuda to 163 for 7. Timil induced a return catch from tailender Jordan DeSilva in the 47th over and his fifth wicket was Dion Stovell who sent a catch to long-on, having scored 56. Stovell was Bermuda's last wicket to fall as they were bowled out for 201 after opting to bat first.
Timil's 5 for 29 made up for a sloppy display earlier in the innings from the rest of the bowling attack, as USA conceded 33 extras, 29 of them wides. On three occasions, a USA bowler sent a wide down the leg side that beat wicketkeeper Akeem Dodson to go for five runs, and by the 13th over they had already conceded 20 wides.
Medium-pacer Jessy Singh helped USA regain focus in the field with an outstanding spell, and finished with match figures of 2 for 40. He bowled yorkers consistently, including one to remove Bermuda captain Oliver Pitcher for 30, which broke a 55-run second-wicket stand with Tre Manders in the 18th over. Four overs later, Jessy got Manders to drive at a full and wide ball and the edge was brilliantly caught by a leaping Dodson behind the stumps for 19. Bermuda continued to find runs in the middle overs though, before Timil's intervention stopped them from launching to a bigger total.
Taylor and Babar got USA's chase of 202 off to a rousing start, racing to 74 for 0 in the Powerplay. Taylor, USA's captain, brought up his half-century in 35 balls, slog-sweeping a six over square leg off Stovell's offspin to bring up the landmark in the 10th over. Taylor reserved his harshest treatment for Stovell, striking six of his nine fours off of him, including three in the space of five balls in the eighth over. He was eventually caught on the square-leg boundary for 56, flicking a full delivery from first-change seamer Cejay Outerbridge.
Babar added 95 for the second with Ravi Timbawala as USA cruised against a Bermuda attack that was without their best bowler, left-arm spinner Delray Rawlins, who is missing the first two games of the tournament while training in England with the England Under-19 squad. The stand was eventually broken when Timbawala took on Kamau Leverock's arm from inside the circle at midwicket and a direct hit ended his innings for 41.
Babar saw USA the rest of the way, finishing unbeaten on 70, the fifth time he went past 50 for USA in ten career one-day innings. Timroy Allen, promoted to No. 4 to boost USA's net run rate, struck a free hit for six over long-on and then followed it with a four over midwicket to clinch victory for USA with 17.2 overs to spare.
Denmark got off to a strong start with a 114-run win over Italy at the Wright Cricket Field. Aftab Ahmed and Freddie Klokker gave Denmark a brisk start, adding 44 in six overs after being sent in to bat. However, Charanjeet Singh and Luis di Giglio dismissed both batsmen in the Powerplay, to leave the score at 60 for 2 in the 10th over.
Hamid Shah and Zameer Khan steadied Denmark with a 53-run stand for the third wicket, with Hamid producing a top score of 58. A middle-overs burst of three wickets from Carl Sandri left Denmark at 140 for 6 in the 38th over and swung the momentum Italy's way. Hamid, however, teamed up with Yasir Iqbal (44) for a crucial 70-run partnership before both men fell in the final over to Gian Meade as Denmark ended on 214 for 8.
Former England Test bowler Amjad Khan ripped through Italy's top order with three wickets in his opening spell, as the batting side stumbled to 23 for 5 in nine overs and were eventually bowled out for 100. Sandri struck a face-saving 59 off 37 balls at No. 7, before becoming the final wicket to fall as Italy's innings ended in only 21.1 overs. Offspinner Bashir Shah rolled through the Italy tail to claim the best figures for Denmark with 4 for 18.
Oman avenged their defeat in May's Division Five final with a six-wicket win over Jersey at Wong Cricket Field. Oman opted to field and their spin attack stifled Jersey, limiting their scoring rate to leave at 120 for 5 in the 40th over. Jersey, however, surged past 200 thanks to the pair of Anthony Hawkins-Kay and Corey Bisson, who scored 83 off the last 10 overs, including 17 in the 50th over, to lift the score to 203 for 5.
Hawkins-Kay cracked three boundaries in the last over to finish unbeaten on 48 off 40 balls while Bisson ended with 54 not out off 53 balls in a 104-run sixth-wicket stand. The spin-bowling pair of Zeeshan Maqsood and Amir Ali combined to take 2 for 43 in 17 overs while legspinner Khawar Ali took 2 for 47 in his ten.
Maqsood and Arun Poulose began Oman's chase by adding 55 for the first wicket before Swapnil Khadye arrived at No. 3 and anchored the rest of the innings, seeing Oman to victory with 79 not out off 117 balls. Khadye added 54 for the third wicket with Zeeshan Siddiqui and then an unbroken fifth-wicket stand of 51 with captain Ajay Lalcheta as Oman won with 20 balls to spare.
USA will take on Italy at Wong on Sunday while Oman will play Bermuda at Severn and Denmark are scheduled to play Jersey at Wright. However, a 50% chance of rain, likely in the morning and afternoon, could push games into the reserve day on Monday.
United States of America
Jersey vs Oman
Denmark vs Italy
Bermuda vs U.S.A.
WCL Division 4
Peter Della Penna is ESPNcricinfo's USA correspondent. @PeterDellaPenna