Xavier Marshall’s first official international century for USA set the platform for his team to secure ODI status for the first time in their history as they cruised past Hong Kong at United Cricket Club.
USA were sent in – they lost their fourth consecutive toss in Namibia – and former West Indies Test player Marshall anchored the innings after losing opening partner Monank Patel at the end of the second over. Monank, who was Man of the Match for his unbeaten 70 a day earlier against Papua New Guinea, chipped a leading edge back to off spinning allrounder Kinchit Shah.
Marshall got off to a sluggish start, scoring 18 off his first 55 balls, before he was dropped twice in the space of three overs off Ehsan Khan. The first chance was a scorching drive that Ehsan did well to protect his face from, but the second, when he was on 23, was a straightforward chance to midwicket that captain Anshuman Rath couldn’t hold on to.
Rath’s drop cost Hong Kong dearly as not only did Marshall go on to make a century off 153 balls, but also compiled an 184-run partnership with Steven Taylor, who hit 88 in 95 balls. It’s the highest second-wicket stand in USA’s one-day cricket history and their fourth highest partnership for any wicket. One ball after Marshall brought up his century with a boundary over midwicket, though, he fell to spark a flurry of wickets. But Timil Patel’s cameo of 34 not out off 12 balls concluded the innings with two sixes over long-on to take USA to 280.
The chase proved to be anticlimactic after Ali Khan struck the decisive blow in the sixth over. Khan trapped the tournament’s leading scorer Rath with an in swinging Yorker for his tournament-high 13th wickets. From there, victory was assured as Hong Kong played to limit the damage to their net run-rate for the majority of their innings as they still hold a chance of securing fourth place.