Two events of note happened this past weekend.
First, the USA played their first ever Twenty20 internationals, taking on the UAE in Dubai. They were well on their way to winning the first one, only to have a rare desert rain storm spoil the day. I mean, come on, what kind of dumb luck is that? It rains literally only five days a year in Dubai. It’s like the universe is saying to the US: “maybe cricket isn’t your game, friends.”
Then they lost the second T20 by 24 runs thanks in large part to Shaiman Anwar — who just turned 40 on Friday — and his lightning fast 62 off of just 30 balls (in comparison, the highest American score with the bat was Steven Taylor (one of only two American born players on the starting XI, the other being Jessy Singh) and his 49 off of 40, which was just too slow for the quick hit pace needed to be successful in cricket’s shortest format).
Despite the rain and the loss, this past weekend has to be seen as a success for the US squad. Two full international Twenty20s under the belt is nothing to sneeze at. US cricket has come a very long way in the last few years, and these matches were surely an indication of that growth.
Up next for the US men is seven 50 over matches — one of which is against English County side Lancashire, who were recently relegated out of Division One — including one played already today that they won by five wickets. Standout performances in today’s match included Aaron Jones’ 81 not out and Steven Taylor’s 4-38. Taylor, for his part, took the first four wickets himself, including Anwar’s, who was restricted to just 13 off of 11 balls.
The other event of note was that Afghanistan won their first Test match in only their second try, beating Ireland by seven wickets in Dehra Dun, India, chasing down 147 thanks in large part to Rahmat Shah’s 76 and Ihsanullah’s 69. They didn’t do it very quickly — it took them nearly 48 overs — but they got the job done in the end. An historic win for one of cricket’s best stories.
Ireland, for their part, have also only played two Test matches, but unlike Afghanistan they have yet to win one, losing their first to Pakistan last year by eight wickets.
No matter what, it’s nice to see some new teams don the white kits and play with a traditional red ball.
A good weekend all around.