USA beat Bangladesh in the first T20I of their three-match series in Houston on Tuesday (May 21), getting over the line with three balls and five wickets to spare.

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Bangladesh faced a major jolt in their 2024 T20 World Cup preparation after being defeated by the United States of America in the series opener at the Prairie View Cricket Complex in Houston. This was the USA’s second victory against a Full Member nation, following their win against Ireland in 2021.

A thrilling run-chase

Harmeet Singh, who was part of India’s 2010 Under-19 World Cup winning squad, was the star performer for the hosts. Chasing 154, the left-arm spin-bowling all-rounder hit the winning run for his team, having swung the match in their favour with three sixes in a row across the 17th and 18th overs.

Harmeet scored a 13-ball 33 not out, forging a 62-run stand in 4.4 overs for the sixth wicket with former New Zealand international Corey Anderson, who chipped in with an unbeaten 34 off 25 balls.

Requiring 55 runs from the last four overs, Harmeet and Anderson displayed their game sense and knowledge of conditions as they hit Mustafizur Rahman for 17 in the 17th over and 15 in the 19th. After the match, Harmeet said that Bangladesh had bowled the left-arm seamer from the wrong end.

“We believed that Fizz [Mustafizur Rahman] 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.”

USA’s impressive batting performance was built on some tight bowling which restricted Bangladesh to 153-6 earlier in the game.

After Jasdeep Singh pinned Litton Das lbw for 14 off 15, off-spinner Stevan Taylor wiped out the other opener, Soumya Sarkar, for a 13-ball 20 before having captain Najmul Hossain Shanto stumped for a scratchy three off 11 balls.

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Bangladesh were soon reduced to 68-4 in 7.2 overs before Towhid Hridoy (58 off 47) and Mahmudullah (31 off 22) rescued the teetering innings.

With 2-9 off his three overs, Taylor was the pick of the USA bowlers. Harmeet and Anderson also played their part in strangling the visitors with economical bowling. Harmeet gave only 27 runs off his four, while Anderson bowled two overs for 10 runs.

Harmeet talked up his team after the match and said that the group had “immense potential”. “You don’t always get an opportunity to win a game against a big side like this every day,” he 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.

“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. 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.”

The second T20I will be played at the same venue on May 23.

Image credit: USA Cricket