Veteran Steven Taylor’s maiden T20 International century helped USA chase down Jersey’s total of 154 with eight wickets and 11 balls to spare on the opening day of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier ‘B’ in Bulawayo.

Having won the toss and opted to field first, USA bowlers Saurabh Netravalkar, Rusty Theron and Ali Khan were parsimonious with the new ball as they conceded only four boundaries between them to restrict Jersey to 29-1 at the end of the powerplay.

Theron (2-28) was involved in sending back the Jersey openers as he had Harrison Carlyon caught in the sixth over and latter effected a run-out two overs later to dismiss Nick Greenwood for 16.

Nisarg Patel (2-26), the left-arm spinner, was the only other bowler to pick wickets as he appealed successfully for Jonty Jenner’s LBW call although was denied in the fourteenth over. It didn’t prove to be too decisive as Ben Stevens ventured out of his crease to a wide ball only to be stumped.

18-year-old Asa Tribe led Jersey’s fightback from a precarious position of 79-4 to propel them to a respectable 154-5 in 20 overs. He struck 7 sixes in an unbeaten knock of 45-ball 73, hitting all around the ground and stitched a 75-run partnership with Benjamin Ward, who contributed with a 38, hitting two boundaries and three sixes.

In reply, USA got off to a circumspect start as they managed only two sixes and a solitary boundary in the powerplay. Jersey’s tight bowling finally reaped rewards as leg-spinner Dominic Blampied gave his side the first breakthrough as USA captain Monank Patel dragged a short delivery down the throat of cow-corner, Jonty Jenner.

Taylor was handed a reprieve, dropped off a difficult diving catch in the deep, as Jersey’s spin-heavy strategy kept things quiet. It was in the fourteenth over that the tide turned in USA’s favour as Benjamin Ward was taken for three boundaries and a six for a 19-run over. The following over by skipper Charles Perchard saw another two sixes to kill off a tense chase.

Aaron Jones fell for 38, caught behind off Blampied, in the 17th over but Taylor continued his boundary-hitting spree to not only bring up his maiden T20I hundred (101 off 55), hitting 12 boundaries and 5 sixes, but also ensure his side chased down the target without any further hiccups.

“I think Ben Ward batted beautifully to get us to a defendable score but we came up against a very special innings today by Taylor, credit to him”, Perchard, Jersey’s captain, said after the match. “At this level, you can’t give top players a second life and we found out the hard way today but it was a tough chance.”

“Asa’s a brilliant talent. He has done it before for us and he has a bright future ahead of him.”