USA fought back after a solid start by Bermuda to restrict the visitors to 133 for 8 before chasing down the runs with 11 balls to spare as USA won a mistake-riddled game by 3 wickets on Wednesday at the Central Broward Regional Park in Lauderhill, Florida at the 2013 ICC Americas Division One Twenty20 tournament. Malachi Jones of Bermuda was named Man of the Match for his spell of 3 for 22 as well as a catch and a runout in the field. USA remains undefeated at 4-0 after the win while Bermuda drops to 3-1 after the loss.
Bermuda, who defeated Cayman Islands by 46 runs earlier in the day after batting first and making 169 for 3 at the CBRP, won the toss against USA and elected to take first strike again. USA made two changes from their lineup against Bahamas as Danial Ahmed and Timothy Surujbally returned in place of Naseer Jamali and Saqib Saleem. Karan Ganesh remained out of the lineup with an injured right knee.
Bermuda produced 24 runs in the first 20 balls before captain Stephen Outerbridge was beaten in flight by a quicker ball and stumped off the bowling of Ahmed for 6. The visitors advanced to 53 when opener Curt Stovell was dismissed on the final ball of the eighth over for 35, bowled by USA captain Orlando Baker after swinging across the line one too many times.
Image (above) - USA captain Orlando Baker celebrates with a fist pump after removing Bermuda opener Curt Stovell for 35. [Courtesy: Peter Della Penna/DreamCricket.com]
Despite the departure of both openers, Bermuda remained in a solid position after 11 overs with the score on 76 for 2. Luck appeared to be on Bermuda’s side after heavy hitting Janeiro Tucker was dropped on back-to-back balls in the 12th over bowled by Abhimanyu Rajp.
However, the scales tipped back in USA’s favor when Ryan Corns struck on back-to-back balls in the 13th. David Hemp fell on the second ball of the frame for 26, caught on the boundary at long on by Japen Patel to make it 81 for 3. Bermuda made a critical error when Hemp and Tucker failed to cross while the ball was in the air so instead of Tucker facing the following delivery, the new batsman Lionel Cann had to start on strike. Cann swung over the top of a full toss from Corns and overbalanced after missing to allow Akeem Dodson the opportunity to complete his second stumping of the innings.
"I thought they got off to a flyer," USA batsman Nicholas Standford said. "We did well in the middle overs from 10 to 15 to bring back the score and I thought we did a good job."
The rest of the innings moved along in fits and starts, but without much momentum for Bermuda. Rodney Trott made 6 before he fell in the 17th, bowled by Ahmed to make it 103 for 5. Jones was dismissed for the same score in the 18th over courtesy of a juggling effort on the cover boundary by Barrington Bartley to give Elmore Hutchinson a wicket.
Tucker finished with a top score of 36, including 28 runs after the first chance he offered, before he was removed with seven balls to go in the innings thanks to an outstanding catch by Corns running in from the long on boundary to give Ahmed his third scalp. Jekon Edness was run out coming back for a second run on the final ball of the innings as Bermuda finished on 133 for 8. Ahmed bowled with the new ball before coming back in the death overs and finished with 3 for 26 to lead the USA bowling attack.
"I think I did okay," Ahmed said. "My performance was not at the level I thought it should be at. I bowled a few bad balls and I got hit but I kept bowling within the stumps and I think that helped me to get a few wickets."
USA got off to a rapid start in their chase thanks to 21 off 13 balls from Surujbally. He collected two boundaries off the first over bowled by Jones, then two more against Trott opening from the opposite end. Unfortunately his innings came to a quick end after he walked across his stumps and was struck dead in front playing across the line to give Jones his first wicket. Jones made it 27 for 2 when he castled Akeem Dodson on the next delivery to end the third over.
Meanwhile Steven Taylor was being denied the strike by Bermuda and as a result USA’s scoring rate was kept in check. In the first five overs, Taylor only faced seven legal deliveries and the frustration of not getting enough strike finally got the best of him when he was dismissed for 14 off just 14 balls at the start of the eighth over, caught on the long off boundary off Trott’s offspin. Baker perished three balls later for 12, runout after responding to Standford’s call for a sharp run.
Standford managed to make amends though in partnership with Corns. With dark clouds hovering overhead and the possibility of Duckworth-Lewis becoming a factor if rain intervened, the pair kept their cool to establish a new fifth-wicket record stand for USA in T20 cricket, adding 46 runs across 7.2 overs. The previous best fifth-wicket partnership for USA in T20 cricket was a 39-run partnership between Quasen Alfred and Charan Singh against Afghanistan in Toronto in 2011.
"When Ryan came to the crease we were on even keel with the D/L par score," Standford said. "So we just wanted to keep ahead of that as the rain was about to come down."
Just when it appeared the pair had settled for good and would take USA over the line, Corns fell on the final ball of the 15th over for 19 when he holed out to Jones at long on off the bowling of seamer Greg Maybury to make it 98 for 5. With USA needing 36 off the remaining 30 balls for victory, Standford kept the pressure on Bermuda’s bowlers with a four and a six off consecutive deliveries from spin bowler Samuel Robinson to end the 16th. He ultimately fell three balls into the 17th for USA’s top score of 36, bowled by a Jones yorker to make it 118 for 6.
Patel produced a very efficient innings at number seven, first in tandem with Standford and then with Bartley to get USA closer to a win. Patel scored off his first 10 deliveries and finished with 18 in 12 balls before he gave Robinson a return catch on the last ball of the 18th with USA one shot away from winning. The host side scored the winning runs on the very next ball when Bartley struck a delivery that was misfielded by Maybury on the boundary at long on to give USA a match-winning four.
Suriname swept a pair of matches at Brian Piccolo Park on Wednesday, defeating Bahamas by 20 runs in a low scoring match before following it up with a narrow win over Cayman Islands by 7 runs on Duckworth-Lewis. Suriname made 121 for 9 and restricted Bahamas to 101 for 8 in the morning match to secure their first win of the tournament. In the afternoon, Suriname batted first again and made 120 for 8. Cayman Islands advanced to 96 for 4 after 17 overs when bad weather curtailed play with Cayman Islands marginally behind the D/L par score. The results mean that after the first round of double-round robin play, USA sits in first place at 4-0, Bermuda in second at 3-1, Suriname in third at 2-2, Cayman Islands in fourth at 1-3 and Bahamas in last place at 0-4.
USA returns to the Central Broward Regional Park on Thursday afternoon when they take on Suriname at 3 p.m. EST DreamCricket.com’s live tournament coverage, sponsored by New Inning Foundation, will get underway at 2:30 p.m. EST.