Ten days short of the 175th anniversary of international cricket's birth in New York, the first ODI on US soil took place today in Fort Lauderdale, Florida as the USA played host to Papua New Guinea in the first match of the second tri-series that makes up the men's Cricket World Cup League 2.
Batting first after winning the toss, the USA's innings was built initially by Aaron Jones. He shared in a 78 run partnership for the fourth wicket with Monak Patel before Patel was dismissed for 35. The next two batsmen were out cheaply, but a 7th wicket partnership of 58 with fellow New Yorker Karima Gore got the hosts back on track.
The partnership ended when Jones was out for 77, the highest ODI score for the USA, whilst Gore went on to reach 31 before he was the next man out. After the 49th over, an interruption due to rain occurred. When play resumed, Elmore Hutchinson clubbed 24 from the final over to take his score to 42 and the USA to 251-9, a good recovery after being 202 with nine down.
The rain came again during the interval, and this time it was torrential, the problems of scheduling an ODI series in Florida during hurricane season all too apparent. The rain did eventually stop though, and by the time the ground was made ready for play, 25 overs had been lost, with PNG having a revised target of 175 in their 25 overs.
The early run out of Tony Ura had PNG on the back foot, as did two wickets in two balls in the ninth over with the score on 45. The rain eventually returned in the 14th over with Asad Vala and Charles Amini at the crease. Two further overs were lost with ten runs being taken from the PNG target.
Vala and Amini continued their partnership after the interruption, and it ended in the 17th over when Vala was trapped lbw by Nisarg Patel for 48. Amini brought up his fifty in the penultimate over, but only six runs in total were taken from that over leaving PNG needing 16 from the final over.
Rusty Theron - playing his first ODI for the USA after four for South Africa - bowled the final over and a tough task for PNG became even tougher when Amini was bowled for 54 from the first ball of the over. Two boundaries did come from the over, but it wasn't enough and PNG fell short of their target and lost by 5 runs.
The quirks of the scheduling for this tri-series are such that the next match isn't until Tuesday when the hosts will play Namibia. Papua New Guinea will hope to snap their five match losing streak in the tournament when they play the USA again on Thursday.