A stunning assault at the start of the second innings from Bermuda wicketkeeper Christopher Douglas was the catalyst for a major upset on Saturday as Bermuda beat USA in ICC tournament play for the first time since 2005, winning by five wickets with 5.2 overs to spare at the National Stadium on Saturday at 2013 ICC World Cricket League Division Three in Bermuda. Douglas was named Man of the Match after blindsiding USA with 89 off 75 balls, including a half-century off 25 balls to take Bermuda to 70 for 1 after eight overs chasing USA’s 220 for 9 and Bermuda never looked back on their way to victory.
The loss for USA denied them a spot in the top two at Division Three and along with it a berth in the 2014 ICC World Cup Qualifier as Nepal’s rapid 8-wicket chase over Italy at St. David’s Cricket Club took them level with USA and Bermuda on points and past USA on net run rate. Meanwhile the win for Bermuda meant they avoided relegation to Division Four after Oman beat Uganda by seven wickets at Somerset Cricket Club.
“The wicket was a little bit dicey when we batted,” USA coach Thiru Kumaran said after the game. “We thought it would be the same for them but I think it dried out a bit, got a little bit easier to bat. It was a good innings by their opener. I thought we had him caught behind but it was not given and also we dropped like four catches for him and those things made us lose the game.”
USA won the toss and batted first under clear skies but had to go into the match without Sushil Nadkarni, who missed the game with what was believed to be a pinched nerve that was causing numbness in his right leg. Akeem Dodson replaced him in the eleven and scored a half-century, but overall USA struggled without the presence of their vice-captain.
Steven Taylor’s rough tournament since the opening match against Nepal continued when he was dismissed in the third over by fast bowler Malachi Jones, caught at first slip by Janeiro Tucker for 9 to make it 13 for 1. Since Taylor’s 162 against Nepal on the opening day, he has scored 15 runs in four matches. USA captain Steve Massiah was the next victim claimed by Jones, gone for a 10-ball duck edging to Tucker in the slips to make it 20 for 2 in the seventh.
Dodson got off to a shaky start, dropped on 1 at slip by Jones off Tucker, and crawled to 2 off 31 balls as Tucker bowled four consecutive maidens in a disciplined opening spell while extracting sharp bounce off the pitch that troubled USA’s batsmen. Dodson was shepherded by Orlando Baker until the pair finally started ticking over the runs.
Image (right) - Akeem Dodson raises his bat after reaching 50 vs. Bermuda [Courtesy: Peter Della Penna/DreamCricket.com]
They added 82 for the third wicket before Tucker came back for another spell and dismissed Baker for 27 as the batsman tried to sweep him and a top edge popped up for Douglas to claim. Dodson fell two balls after reaching his 50, lofting off-spinner Jacobi Robinson to Jones running to his right at long off to make it 108 for 4 in the 32nd.
USA’s plans at accelerating to a total in the 250 range were scrambled when Bartley and Marshall got into a mixup attempting a third run that resulted in Marshall being runout for 5. Marshall swept a full ball through fine leg for an easy two with Tre Manders needing to run a long way from deep square leg to cut the ball off. Bartley called late for a third run coming back to the striker’s end. Marshall did not look interested in the run but after seeing Bartley continue to charge in his direction, took off late for the opposite end. Manders relayed a throw to Hemp adjacent to the stumps at the striker’s end before Hemp fired a direct hit to the bowler’s end to find Marshall several yards short.
Bartley got out two overs into the batting power play for 21, caught behind trying to slog 15-year-old left-arm spinner Delray Rawlins to make it 140 for 6 in the 37th. Neil McGarrell and Timroy Allen added 36 across 8.3 overs for the seventh wicket before Allen got out trying to accelerate, caught at long on for 19 to make it 176 for 7 with 29 balls to go in the innings.
McGarrell was joined by Japen Patel and the pair put on 29 runs before McGarrell injured his right leg attempting a third run for Patel in the 49th over. McGarrell’s leg got stuck in the turf while turning for the run and his leg buckled, resulting in a lengthy delay on the field. When play eventually resumed, McGarrell stayed on the field and batted on one leg but the break seemed to stall USA’s momentum and cause a lapse in concentration as Patel sliced the next ball to point to go for 12. Hutchinson entered and was dismissed first ball in identical fashion to Patel off the bowling of Treadwell Gibbons to make it 206 for 9.
McGarrell was able to strike a four and a six in the last over to boost USA to their final total of 220. Jones finished with 3 for 48 for Bermuda while Tucker’s valuable spell resulted in 1 for 30. Rawlins also responded well to a pressure situation playing in his first game of the tournament and took 1 for 39 in his 10-over spell. USA’s total seemed like it would be enough to defend but their substandard fielding, which had been masked by big totals earlier in the tournament against Nepal and Italy, finally came back to haunt them at the worst possible time.
At St. David’s Cricket Club to the east of the island, Nepal had restricted Italy to 127 and with a quick chase on the horizon to improve their net run rate, it was clear USA needed a victory to finish in the top two. Yet, Bermuda sent USA a clear message that they would not be lying down to let their regional partner take a spot in the 2014 ICC World Cup Qualifier when Douglas blasted four boundaries in the second over off Hutchinson as part of a 20-run frame.
USA jabbed back in the sixth when Allen’s pace claimed Gibbons, caught by Patel running in from mid on for 4 to make it 43 for 1. Douglas came straight back in Allen’s next over with a series of body blows that floored USA, tearing into Allen for three boundaries and a pair of sixes to finish off the over, the second of which brought up his 50. By this point Nepal was wrapping up the chase against Italy in just 14.5 overs, putting them past USA on net run rate and leaving no doubt that if USA lost it would be Nepal joining Uganda at the 2014 ICC World Cup Qualifier.
The partnership between Douglas and Manders added 52 for Bermuda when Manders was caught by Massiah at slip off McGarrell for 13. The left-arm spinner produced a valiant all-round display and finished with 1 for 21 in his 10-over spell, but USA’s other bowlers failed to give him enough support.
Douglas tired himself out after his early onslaught and was begging to be dismissed as he offered the first of three chances off when on 64, dropped at slip by McGarrell off Ghous. His second chance was offered on 71 off McGarrell, put down by Taylor at long on after the fielder reacted slowly to the ball driven in the air toward him on the boundary. The third chance left on the table came when he was on 82 off Massiah, missed at extra cover by Marshall.
Douglas’ charmed stay finally came to an end in the 31st after a brilliant one-handed effort from Marshall at extra cover off Massiah to make it 139 for 3. With both teams under pressure, it looked like Bermuda might be starting to crack as Hemp ran himself out for 11 to end the 35th, making it 156 for 4.
However, USA’s fielding became more and more ragged as Bermuda stole single after single off them inside the 30-yard circle. Multiple run out chances were missed as USA failed to hit the stumps a single time down the stretch, whether the batsman had made his ground or not. The 41st over bowled by Massiah was the straw that broke the camel’s back for USA.
Bermuda entered the frame at 179 for 4 needing 42 in 10 overs to win. Allen missed a runout chance with Tucker on 15 by throwing to the wrong end on the first ball of the over, after which Massiah called the entire team in for a huddle for a last ditch motivational speech. It didn’t have the desired effect as Ghous dropped Tucker at point on 16 to end the over.
“You cannot drop five catches and expect to win in a tight game,” Kumaran said. “Today we dropped straightforward three or four catches and one maybe a 50/50 chance and there were so many runout opportunities we missed. I think basically you need to be on top of all departments to win a tight game. Today we were a little bit lacking in opening bowling, we didn’t get it right and then with the fielding and catching.”
Bartley conceded nine in the 42nd followed by another 14 given away by Massiah in the 43rd. Despite a brief hiccup with the dismissal of Stephen Outerbridge for 37, Bermuda cantered to victory with the winning run raised in the 45th over courtesy of a wide bowled by Taylor.
Image (above) - Nepal fans were waving the Bermuda flag and vice versa after Bermuda helped Nepal into the top two with a win over USA. [Courtesy: Peter Della Penna/DreamCricket.com]
USA and Bermuda will have a rematch on Sunday in the third place game at St. David’s Cricket Club while Uganda and Nepal will square off for the tournament title at the National Stadium in Hamilton. Oman and Italy, who have both been relegated to Division Four, will play in the fifth place playoff at Somerset Cricket Club. Live coverage sponsored by New Inning Foundation of USA’s final match against Bermuda begins at 10 a.m. in Bermuda, 9 a.m. EST on the east coast in America.