USA allrounder Barrington Bartley scored a thrilling century that was trumped by one from Bermuda’s David Hemp as the visitors knocked off the hosts by two wickets with two balls to spare in the third and final 50-over trial match on Friday at the Central Broward Regional Park in Lauderhill, Florida. Bartley’s 111 not out off 65 balls catapulted USA to 284 for 6 but Hemp’s cool and composed 103 off 114 steered Bermuda toward victory. It was USA’s first loss since a Twenty20 defeat at the hands of Canada in November in Florida.
"When I went in there were almost 31 overs gone and for me to come out and score a century, I really feel pleased with myself and pleased with my performance," Bartley said after the match.
USA won the toss and elected to bat first, making seven changes from the team that beat Bermuda on Thursday. Steven Taylor entered the lineup and captained USA on the day and was joined by Bartley, Timothy Surujbally, Abhimanyu Rajp, Japen Patel, Naseer Jamali and Adil Bhatti in the starting lineup. Making way for them were Akeem Dodson, Sushil Nadkarni, Rashard Marshall, Elmore Hutchinson, Muhammad Ghous, Neil McGarrell and Timroy Allen. The only two members of the 21-man squad not to play in any of the three 50-over matches were Danial Ahmed and Ryan Corns.
Taylor and Surujbally opened for USA but their partnership only lasted 17 balls as Surujbally registered an eight-ball duck, caught driving loosely in the air to Dennico Hollis on the point boundary off the bowling of Malachi Jones to make it 5 for 1. Steve Massiah entered and with Taylor added 26 for the second wicket before Taylor struck a low full toss of the toe of the bat back to Janeiro Tucker for a return catch to be dismissed for 24, making it 31 for 2 in the 10th.
Massiah was joined by Aditya Thyagarajan and the pair demonstrated conservative running in their partnership, adding just 14 runs across 6.5 overs before Massiah was given out LBW for 12 off 29 balls to 15-year-old left-arm spinner Delray Rawlins for the second time in the week. Josh Dascombe entered with the score at 45 for 3 in the 17th and was part of a 50-run partnership for the fourth wicket with Thyagarajan as the pair stabilized the innings by knocking ones and two around the ground off of Bermuda’s spinners.
Dascombe was dropped on 22 by Lionel Cann at long off as the fielder turned a catch into a boundary. However, Dascombe was unable to make the most of his reprieve, dismissed two balls later when he played over the top of a full delivery from offspinner Jacobi Robinson and was bowled to make it 95 for 4 with one ball remaining in the 30th.
Bartley entered and in a harbinger of things to come got off the mark on his fifth delivery with a six over long on. He added 38 with Thyagarajan for the fifth wicket before Thyagarajan was bowled for 47 in the third ball of the 37th by Jones but not before the USA veteran fulfilled his reputation by digging his side out of a hole.
The platform laid by the grind it out partnership between Dascombe and Thyagarajan in particular allowed Bartley and Patel to play their shots freely in the latter stages of the innings. USA added 34 during the five-over batting power play from the 36th to the 40th overs to move to 164 for 5 before a startling acceleration in the final 10 overs in which USA added another 120 runs.
Patel stepped his foot on the gas pedal first, hitting two sixes and a four off medium pacer Greg Maybury in the 42nd. Bartley brought up his half-century in the 43rd over off 41 balls with his third boundary to go along with four sixes at that stage. Patel got out at the end of the 46th over, driving Tucker in the air to Samuel Robinson at long on for 40 off 26 balls, bringing an end to a 95-run stand at which point the score was 228 for 6 with Bartley on 75.
Image (right) - Barrington Bartley walks off the stadium pitch after scoring 111 not out off 65 balls against Bermuda. [Courtesy: Peter Della Penna/DreamCricket.com]
Bhatti came in at number eight and with Bartley put on an astonishing 56 runs in the final four overs. Bartley entered the 50th frame on 91 off strike, but a single off the first ball by Bhatti gave Bartley the chance to reach triple figures and he did so in style, crushing back-to-back sixes before ending the innings with his ninth sixth, this time over midwicket. Jones finished with 2 for 49 but with the exception of Rodney Trott, the rest of the Bermuda bowling unit was roughed up during Bartley’s rampage.
Bermuda was undaunted by the size of the target though and unlike the previous two matches when they stumbled after making a good start, this time they made the most of a strong platform set by the top order. Jason Anderson and Tre Manders added 30 for the first wicket before Anderson was caught behind by Taylor off Jamali for 13.
Hemp arrived at the crease and put on 59 for the second wicket with Manders. Abhimanyu Rajp broke up the pair inducing a false drive to Bartley at point to send Manders off for 26. Bermuda’s run rate hovered around five per over for most of their innings and the asking rate never got out of control as a result of Hemp’s efficiency at the crease. He was particularly useful picking balls off his pads through the leg side and brought up his half-century in 59 balls at the start of the 23rd over.
Hemp’s 70-run partnership with Tucker ended in the 34th over when Tucker fell for 25 after he skied a slog off Jamali that was taken on the run by Dascombe coming from long on to the edge of the circle. Hemp raised his century in 113 balls with consecutive fours cut through point off Usman Shuja in the 39th over. He fell one ball later to end the frame, caught by Bhatti at cover to make it 198 for 4 in 39.
With the set batsman Hemp gone and two new players at the crease, USA had a chance to take back control of the match. Shuja got Cann to offer a straightforward chance to Surujbally at deep midwicket on the second ball of the 41st over with the score on 211 for 4 and the batsman on 14. Surujbally got to the ball in plenty of time but grassed the chance and instead of having five men down, Bermuda went on to take 14 off the over in what was the turning point in the match. Rather than nipping the partnership in the bud and ending the stand at 13, Cann and Jones added 54 runs together before Cann got out for 35 in the 45th, well caught at long on by Thyagarajan off Bhatti to make it 252 for 5.
Bhatti struck again in the 47th, getting Jones caught by Dascombe at midwicket for 29 to leave the door ajar for USA to rally back. Jacobi Robinson ended any hope of that happening though with two boundaries to lead off the 49th over bowled by Dascombe. Bermuda entered the final over with one run needed to win and despite a pair of hiccups with the loss of Trott and Jekon Edness, Robinson hit the winning run with an edge to third man. Bhatti finished with USA’s best figures on the day, taking 2 for 17 in two overs while Rajp was the most economical with 1 for 34 in 10.
USACA is expected to announce the squad for 2013 ICC WCL Division Three next week. The final 14 are tentatively scheduled to arrive in Bermuda on April 25, three days before their first match of the tournament. USA will play Italy, Nepal, Oman, Uganda and the host side in a round-robin event with the top two teams advancing to the 2014 ICC World Cup Qualifier in New Zealand.