Bermuda tops in Americas
Bermuda claimed their first U19 Americas Championship today, defeating Canada by 13 runs in front of a raucous crowd at the Maple Leaf Cricket Club. The win puts them at the top of the table at the conclusion of the round robin tournament, and qualifies them for the U19 World Cup in Malaysia next year.
Canada's fielders showed some early nerves, as the first ball of the match, delivered by Kevin James, found the edge of Chris Douglas' bat but was put down by Arsalan Qadir in the slips. Qadir gave Douglas a third life when his score was on 10, as he dropped him again. The early overs, though, were seen out safely by the Bermudian batsmen, obviously looking to hold onto their wickets.
The first breakthrough for Canada came when James bowled a shortish ball that ballooned up off the gloves of Terryn Fray and found the hands of Chris Manohar. The next ball caught Steven Bremar leg before wicket, and Bermuda were 35 for 2.
After Rodney Trott was caught behind off the bowling of Arsalan Qadir, Khiry Furbert came to the crease with the task of rebuilding the Bermuda innings. He did the job wonderfully, batting conservatively but solidly, never giving a chance to theh fielders. He partnered with Malachi Jones for a 46 run 5th wicket partnership and Stedan Kelly for a 79 run 7th wicket. He made 39 runs off 90 balls, lasting 134 runs at the wicket before being caught behind off a top-edged Qadir delivery.But the middle-order performance propelled Bermuda to a score much higher than one would have thought at the halfway point of the innings. Stefan Kelly was the top scorer, batting aggressively in making 52 runs off 55 balls and in 65 minutes, making his half-century on the penultimate ball of the innings. The total score for Bermuda was 194 runs for the loss of 8 wickets.
Kevin James and Arsalan Qadir led the Canadian bowling attack, each taking 3 wickets, and conceding 23 and 24 runs each. Usman Iqubal was not his usual self, going for 43 runs and not taking a wicket. Further, the spinners who had done so well earlier in the weak were ineffective and failed to take any wickets.
After lunch, the Canadian opening tandem of Ruvindu Gunasekara and Chris Manohar got their side off to a strong start, batting confidently and aggressively. In the first 10-over power play period, the score reached 48 for no loss, as they punished bowlers Stefan Kelly and Jordan DeSilva.
The Bermudian bowlers tightened up shortly thereafter, and as the pressure built, Gunasekara fed a catch to Steven Bremar off the bowling of Tamauri Tucker to leave Canada at 55 for 1. The runs dried up during the second power play, and Tucker got his second wicket after Majid Usman nicked one into the gloves of Furbert behind the stumps. Canada were 66 for 2 after 17 overs, with the match very much poised.
The troubles continued for Canada through the middle overs, as first captain Abishek Krishnamoorthy was bowled by Malachi Jones for a duck. Kevin James came in and then quickly followed him to the pavilion without troubling the scorers, and Canada were in a real hole at 75 for 4.
Pratik Patel and Manohar were just beginning to build a partnership, when Manohar was removed on a somewhat controversial lbw decision which left the crowd murmuring - Canada were 90 for 5. The controversy continued when Jordan DeSilva caught Pratik Patel on the square leg boundary. The Canadian team was upset with the decision, saying the fielder had run outside the boundary to take it. The umpires conferred, and decided that the catch would stand, leaving Canada 101 for 6, and with the required run rate climbing through 7 runs an over.
Rustum Bhatti and Arsalan Qadir built a partnership of 47 runs for the 7th wicket to give Canada some hope. Bhatti made his 50 off of 73 balls, and they continued to accelerate their batting as they neared the final 10 overs of the match. Bhatti ended up on 64 not out, but couldn't find any partners down the order, and though they fought to the end, Canada finished with 181 runs on the board for 9 wickets lost - meaning a 13-run victory for Bermuda!
In the other match, Cayman Islands won the toss and invited Bahamas to bat first. They lost their first wicket with the score on just 5 runs, but battled back and posted what was by far their best score of the tournament. Johnathan Barry led the way with 58 runs, and Jeremy Jesubatham made a solid, supporting 41. With minor contributions from the rest of their batsmen, the total reached 212 for 6 - a formidable total!
Kervin Ebanks was again the best Cayman bowler, taking 3 wickets for 39 runs in his 10 overs. Corey Cato was especially economical during his spell. He bowled 6 overs and conceded just 9 runs, taking 1 wicket in the process.
The Cayman Islands showed what they are made of, in chasing down the target in 45 overs time, and for the loss of 8 wickets. Ramon Sealy again led the way with 66 runs, and Roderick Mitchell was the best bowler, taking 3 for 48. So Cayman Islands claim third spot in the tournament.
The week here was an entertaining one by all accounts. The weather was perfect, the play was exciting, and the final day lived up to its billing as a battle of the top teams. In the end, though, Canada was undone by their own hesitation to throw the bat in the middle overs of their batting innings. Bermuda: Americas U19 Champions of 2007!