ICC Americas media release
The Pepsi ICC Americas Division 4 Tournament got off to a resounding start for the host team Mexico with victory over Costa Rica at the picturesque Reforma Athletic Club.
This was after Ben Smith, the Costa Rica opening batsman, made a magnificent 104 in his team innings of 186 from 46.5 of the allotted 50 overs; but this was not enough to give his side victory over the host country. Earlier, Mexico won the toss and elected to field on a lush green wicket in perfect conditions for bowling, and immediately, had the tourist in trouble at 4-13 with only five overs of the game played. The Mexican opening bowler Tushar Gupta with 5 for 32 from his 9.5 overs ripped the heart out of the Costa Rican top order, after conceding only 7 runs from his first 5 overs whilst taking 3 wickets, before he was rested due to the high altitude conditions here making bowling very hard on the body. He was well supported by his new ball partner, Tarun Sharmar as the pair accounted for 7 on the Costa Rican wickets. The Mexican bowlers and fielder contributed significantly to the Costa Rican total of 186, four easy chances were spilled and extras added another 40 runs to what could have been a much smaller total. Ben Smith batted with care and poise in the early exchange with the Mexican bowlers and blossomed to the end of the innings to reach his land mark with some delightful strokes. He hit 12 fours and 2 sixes and was last out, his first 50 runs came from 86 balls and he brought up his century from 123 balls faced. However this did not cause many alarms in the Mexican camp as the host stared the reply with the bat as they did with the ball. The 50 came up in the 7th over with openers James Garrity and Tarundeep Singh, exploiting the wayward Costa Rican bowling. Garrity, 34 from 30 balls, was especially severe on Sam Arthur as his first 4 overs conceded 31 runs, but his opening partner Chris Parsad was not speared in the onslaught and conceded 25 runs from his 4 overs. Good contributions also came from the bats of Tarun Sharma 45 runs in 58 balls and Roger Sherman who had 23 runs from 21balls. The high altitude conditions caused the fielders to lapse in the field all day and four more chances were spilled in the second innings as the host eased to a three wicket victory in the opening encounter.