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'We are no walkovers' - USA's Harmeet Singh after win against Bangladesh

USA allrounder said the visitors made a tactical error by bowling Mustafizur Rahman from the wrong end

Mohammad Isam
Mohammad Isam
22-May-2024
The USA players get into a huddle before the toss, Zimbabwe vs USA, ICC World Cup Qualifier, Harare, June 26, 2023

File photo: USA beat Bangladesh, only the second time that they went past a Full Member  •  ICC via Getty Images

Harmeet Singh, the Player of the Match in USA's win over Bangladesh in Prairie View in the first T20I, said his team were "no walkovers".
USA (19th) are ten ranks behind Bangladesh in the format, but that hardly played up on Tuesday. They restricted Bangladesh to 153 for 6, before reaching the target with three balls to spare. That ensured USA beat a Full Member side for only the second time in their history, having defeated Ireland in 2021. Harmeet bowled four economical overs by conceding only 27 runs, before smashing an unbeaten 33 off just 13 balls.
"You don't always get an opportunity to win a game against a big side like this every day," Harmeet said. "The way the boys have been training, it is a personal effort from everybody. It means a lot to us to put on a show against Bangladesh. We are no walkovers. I think our potential is immense. We have a lot of match-winners in the team. It gives us the edge. We bat as well now.
"A lot of guys can also bowl two to four overs, like Steven [Taylor] did. Nitish [Kumar] and Milind [Kumar] can bowl a few overs. We have bench strength too. The competition within the team is helping us. Everyone wants to do well, and that's helping the side."
USA needed 55 runs in the last four overs when Harmeet struck three sixes and two fours, adding 62 runs for the unbroken sixth wicket with Corey Anderson, who was not out on 34 from 25 deliveries.
"I told the guys before the game that Bangladesh are a good team on paper, but if we go down without a fight, it won't send a good message," Harmeet said. "We know the wicket, as this is our home condition. We know everything about this ground. It is a T20 format. Couple of hiccups, we push them in the powerplay. Then you can corner them and close out the game."
Harmeet also believed that Bangladesh made a tactical error by choosing the wrong end for Mustafizur Rahman, who had derailed them with two wickets in the 12th over. But switching ends meant the batters had the advantage of Prairie Valley's high winds against the other bowlers. Mustafizur ended up conceding 32 runs in his last two overs.
"I was backing myself to get 50 runs in the last four overs. I enjoy the added responsibility. This is my perfect world where I can bowl under pressure and finish games with the bat"
USA's Harmeet Singh
"We believed that Fizz will bowl against the wind overs but when I saw him bowl from the other end, with the wind, I thought we had a chance to sneak in a 20-run over from the other side," Harmeet said. "I think either they took us lightly; or I don't know. They didn't have bowlers to bowl with from the other side.
"They had Shoriful [Islam] for one over, and someone had to bowl that last over. They were thinking probably they'd get us out. I told Corey that if we hang in there, [and] give ourselves 20 runs in the last over also, we have a chance to win here. We ended up needing under ten runs in the last over. They started from the end that had the wind. They finished on the other end. We backed ourselves in the last over."
Harmeet said their knowledge of the pitch helped them.
"I was backing ourselves to chase this down in the 18th over. We were pretty used to playing on slow pitches over here. For us, it would have seemed quite flat, and for a Bangladeshi, who are used to playing on flatter pitches, they would have found it a little bit tacky. That's why they were holding back while they were batting first. Kudos to our batters for keeping us in the hunt."
Harmeet said he felt confident even when they were almost down and out in the last four overs.
"I was backing myself to get 50 runs in the last four overs. I enjoy the added responsibility. This is my perfect world where I can bowl under pressure and finish games with the bat. When they were looking for 160-170, we kept them to around 150. I bowled a couple of overs in the back-end, and then finishing with the bat, those moments are what you really play for."

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84