USA, playing in the Men's ODI World Cup Qualifier for the first time since the 2005 edition in Ireland when it was still known as the ICC Trophy, began their campaign today at Takashinga Sports Club in Harare with a match against West Indies, the first match between the two sides since 1996. And it was the full member side who ran out winners today against the country that they will co-host next year's Men's T20 World Cup with.
USA captain Monank Patel won the toss and asked his opponents to bat first. It intially looked to be an inspired decision as West Indian openers Brandon King and Kyle Mayers both fell cheaply, for 0 and 2 respectively.
But against a USA attack lacking a suspended Ali Khan, the West Indies were ablt to get back into the game, first through a third wicket partnership of 115 between Johnson Charles and captain Shai Hope which ended when Charles was out for 66.
Hope followed soon afterwards for 54 but the runs continued to come. Nicholas Pooran scored 43 from 28 balls, Roston Chase 55 at a run a ball and Jason Holder 56 from 40. They couldn't quite bat out their overs, with Saurabh Netvralkar, Kyle Phillip and Steven Taylor each taking three wickets, but their total of 297 was always going to be a challenging one for the Americans.
Wickets came quickly in the early stages of the USA reply end they had only scored 55 when their fourth wicket fell. That fourth wicket brought Gajanand SIngh to the crease and he played something of a lone hand for the rest of the USA innings.
He shared in three substantial partnerships - 42 for the fifth wicket with Aaron Jones, 58 for the sixth wicket with Shayan Jahangir and finally an unbroken 76 for the eighth wicket with Nosthush Kenjige. He was unbeaten on 101 at the end - his maiden ODI century - but the runs had been coming too slowly and his team had only scored 258-7, losing by 39 runs.
USA will next be in action on Tuesday when they will take on Nepal in a match sure to be a fiery encounter given some testy exchanges between the two sides in recent encounters. West Indies have the next three days off before their next enocunter on Thursday, which will be also be against Nepal.