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T20 Cricket World Cup: India just edges past USA despite host nation’s valiant effort

<i>Adam Hunger/AP via CNN Newsource</i><br/>India won by seven-wickets in a closely fought game against the USA.
Adam Hunger/AP via CNN Newsource
India won by seven-wickets in a closely fought game against the USA.

By Thomas Schlachter, CNN

(CNN) — India proved too strong for the USA at the T20 Cricket World Cup, with the joint host falling to a seven-wicket defeat in New York on Wednesday.

The USA beat Pakistan in a historic victory earlier in the tournament but failed to follow it up with a win against heavy favorite India – despite the underdog pushing the cricket powerhouse close throughout.

India now tops Group A with six points having won all three of its games at the World Cup, with the USA in second place with four points.

Despite the defeat, the USA still has a good chance of progressing to the next round of the tournament and faces Ireland in their last group stage game, needing a win to secure its spot in the knockout stages.

Early Indian dominance

If there was ever hope of an upset, it looked like India quickly put a stop to it.

Having won the toss, India elected to field first at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in New York, which has been favorable for bowlers so far throughout the tournament.

Arshdeep Singh was given the new ball and with it took a wicket with the very first delivery of the game – the left-arm seamer swinging a ball back into USA’s opening batter Shayan Jahangir and getting him out leg before wicket (LBW).

Singh followed it up with the wicket of Andries Gous in the same over and India was already firmly in the driving seat.

The USA innings never really got going following the early dominance from the Indian bowlers and the fielding side continued to pile on the misery for the home nation.

Despite Nitish Kumar’s best efforts, leading the American batters with 27 runs, the USA was reduced to 110-8 following its 20 overs batting.

Singh was the star of the Indian bowling attack and took an impressive four wickets for just nine runs in the four overs he bowled.

USA battles back

Needing just 111 to win, most onlookers would have been expecting an easy chase for India.

USA bowler Saurabh Netravalkar had other ideas.

The left-arm quick picked up the invaluable wicket of Virat Kohli, widely regarded as one of the greatest batters in history, who went out facing his first ball, and then Netravalkar got the wicket of India captain Rohit Sharma.

Nerves would have surely been felt throughout the Indian camp but Indian batters Rishabh Pant and Suryakumar Yadav helped ease the worries with a steady partnership.

Just when India looked to be cruising to the total, USA managed to pile on the pressure again with Ali Khan bowling out Pant for 18.

As the pressure piled up, so did the dot balls and suddenly the underdogs were well in the game.

But as all great teams do, India found a way to take back control of proceedings.

Yadav, now joined by Shivam Dube, kept the runs ticking to prevent what would have been one of cricket’s greatest ever upsets and scored an impressive 50 runs for India.

During the chase, the USA was also penalized for taking too much time between overs and gave five penalty runs to India, which dented US hopes at a pivotal moment.

Despite being denied another historic victory, the USA can certainly be pleased with their efforts in defeat.

“I’m really proud of the bowling unit today,” USA captain Aaron Jones told the broadcast after the game.

“This is something that we’ve been talking about over the last couple of years, wanting more fans for USA cricket, so now is a time that we’re really enjoying it.”

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