Allrounder Mohammad Nabi's first performance on American soil gave a taste of the impact he is expected to have once the Caribbean Premier League formally gets underway. He dismantled USA's promising start to take 4 for 18 in an eventual two-wicket win for St Kitts & Nevis Patriots in Lauderhill on Wednesday.
USA had made a very promising start behind Abdullah Syed, who cracked seven fours and four sixes in an impressive 68 off 44 balls. He teamed with Fahad Babar in a 78-run opening stand as USA were untroubled through the first half of their innings.
But the introduction of Nabi in the 11th over triggered a dramatic collapse. Babar was the first to go for 16, skying a slog that was taken juggling over the shoulder by Hasan Ali running back from midwicket. Nabi was involved again in the following over, taking a catch at long-on off Jonathan Carter to remove Jaskaran Malhotra for 2. Carter made it two in three balls when he had Roy Silva gloving a bouncer down the leg side for a duck.
Nabi then struck the key blow in the 13th over, snaring Syed with a pull to midwicket taken sharply by Hasan inside the circle. With pressure building on USA, Nabi delivered another pair of setbacks in the 15th over; Mrunal Patel edged behind for 1 before Camilus Alexander was beaten in flight charging down the pitch to be stumped for 4, reducing USA to 97 for 6. Nisarg Patel's unbeaten 17 was the second-highest score for USA after Syed, and dragged them to 128 for 6 in their 20 overs.
Set an amended target of 150, Chris Gayle got off to a fiery start, smashing four fours and a six over the off side against offspinner Usman Rafiq to take Patriots to 30 after three overs. But he edged allrounder Japen Patel's medium-pace to Silva at gully for 22 off 12 balls in the fourth over. Fellow opener Evin Lewis continued the onslaught, though, smashing five sixes in his 48 off 27 balls.
Alexander had Lewis out slogging to deep midwicket in the eighth over and dismissed Carlos Brathwaite caught behind in the same over to give Patriots a brief scare but they were mostly untroubled the rest of the way despite the official final margin. They crossed USA's raw score in the 15th over with five wickets still in hand, then cruised towards the amended target of 150 behind Carter's 31 off 28 balls.
Carter fell in the 19th over with scores level but a single by Samuel Badree gave them victory with seven balls to spare. Alexander had USA's best figures, finishing with 2 for 15. The revised target of 150 was agreed in order to give the Patriots batting unit more practice in a simulated chase and they eventually wound up batting all 20 overs to seize on the practice opportunity, finishing on 156 for 9 with another wicket taken off the final ball of play.
USA come back on Thursday to play Jamaica Tallawahs in another CPL warm-up before the double-header games in Lauderhill on Saturday.