USA eying upsets at T20 World Cup after beating Bangladesh in T20 series

Fast bowler Ali Khan has said that USA winning the T20I series against Bangladesh was “no fluke”, adding that his side were confident of causing upsets at the T20 World Cup as well.

“We [USA] are hungry, and are going to try to eat whoever comes in our way,” Khan said. “This is a time where we can make some changes and adjust. Team looks balanced, and all the guys are hungry. I am sure USA will do some upset [in the T20 World Cup].

“We need to put USA out there on the world cricket map. Sometimes when you win against a big side, they say oh it is a fluke. But beating them twice, back-to-back, winning the series is not a fluke. We have the talent, skills and the ability if given the opportunities.”

Khan, named Player of the Match for his 3 for 25 in the win in the second T20I, was coming off an injury break into the series. After his new-ball spell, he came on to bowl in the 18th over, at a point when Bangladesh needed just 21 off 18 balls in the 145 chase, with the experienced Shakib Al Hasan in the middle. Khan had Shakib chop on off the first ball and then pinned Tanzim Hasan in front in the same over. Bangladesh never recovered from those strikes and eventually crumbled to 138, with Khan taking the last wicket in the 20th over to help USA seal a historic win.

Khan explained how he dismissed Shakib, who was on 30 off 23 having hit four fours and a six before he returned to bowl.

“The captain (Monank Patel) asked me to stay ready, and I stayed warmed up,” Khan said. “I knew I would be coming on to bowl the 18th and 20th over or the 17th and 19th depending on the situation. Right before I came on, we got a breakthrough and that added pressure on Bangladesh. I just backed myself and tried to do what I do best at the death.

“The wicket got slower, and they were expecting me to bowl with pace, and that’s why they threw their bats and helped me to get the inside edge with Shakib. The plan was to make them hit against the wind, which was the off side for Shakib and tried to throw the first ball away from him. He tried to drag it on and helped me get that wicket.”

Winning a series against a full-member side for the first time was a confidence booster for the team and individual players too, he said.

“It’s massive. In a series like this, individual performances count as well. As a team, just shows the world what we can do if given the opportunities. If we keep playing at this associate level or lower level, you are just going to stay there. But if you have more opportunities to play against bigger sides, top ten teams, there’s definitely ways of doing an upset. More opportunities against full members will help us showcase our talent.”

Khan, who had gone for 1 for 49 in the first game, said he needed some time in the middle to get used to the conditions and find his rhythm.

“I was coming back from a major injury and you need time in the middle to get back into rhythm. It was for me to just go out and get used to the conditions. It didn’t go the way I would have liked, usually I don’t go for that many runs. But it was my first game back, no excuse. What I learnt from that game, I tried to implement in this game.

“The World Cup is coming up, so we don’t have much time. I still feel there’s a lot of improvement to be done.” (ESPN Cricinfo)