Bermuda beat Canada at the wire
When I awoke this morning and looked out the window, I didn't think there would be cricket today. I looked out the window and saw nothing - just a deep fog. Once at the ground, we had to wait, but it was worth it as those present at King City were treated to a classic cricket match between these two leading associate nations.
After overnight rains and a thick morning fog, there was a lot of work to do before the match could begin. The match was scheduled to begin at 10:00 am local time, but the covers weren't removed until a bit before 11. Shortly thereafter, the Sun made an appearance, and with the help of groundscrew, the teams, and spectators, play was able to begin at 1:45 pm. Having taken lunch before play began, the match was calculated to be 36 overs in length.
The Canadian batters scored at a reasonable rate against the pace attack of Bermuda, and though they lost Geoff Barnett early, they accrued runs well. This prompted Bermuda captain Irving Romaine to go to his spinners during the second power play period. Abdool Samad (26) served as a good partner for Bagai but there partnership was cut short by a stellar play from Orando Bascombe. Retreating from a backward point position, he scooped and shied and hit, running Samad out.
That play was the first of 3 run outs. One was a standard miscommunication play between Bagai and Qaiser Ali. The second, however, was a neat bit of improvisation from Romaine. After bowling the ball, and having it played back to him along the ground, he bent over and scooped the ball backwards through his legs to run out Canadian captain Zubin Surkari.
Through the middle overs, the batters were confounded by the spin. Their timing was off and they couldn't pick the gaps, and so the progress of the runs stagnated. Ashish Bagai batted confidently, but was perhaps too patient in his approach. He ended up as Canada's top scorer, but only managed a strike rate of 62.5 in making his 60 runs.
The stingy bowling was led by Dwayne Leverock, who conceded just 17 runs off his 8 overs of work. He took one wicket as well, clean bowling Ian Billcliff who had made a promising start. His bowling was almost matched from the other end of the ground by Rodney Trott's 20 runs in 7 overs of work.
Tamauri Tucker and Irving Romaine were called into action in the later overs, and did very well also. They both grabbed two wickets and limited the run flow during the big-hitting portion of the innings. Though they conceded 57 runs between them, it could have been much worse in the final 11 overs. The only truly disappointing bowler was opener George O'Brien who was carted for 43 runs from just 6 overs.
Canada lost wickets consistently in the final 6 overs of their abbreviated innings and failed to add substantially to their run total. The last ball was hit hard by Henry Osinde and fell just short of the boundary and was caught by Stephen Outerbridge. Canada's final score was 155 for 9 in their allotted 36 overs.
Bermuda came out with a game plan of batting slowly but surely, knowing that if they kept wickets in hand it should be a very attainable total. Chris Foggo and Stephen Outerbridge made a steady start, making 17 runs off the first 7 overs without giving so much as a chance to the Canadian fielders. Henry Osinde finally made the breakthrough, inducing an edge from Stephen Outerbridge that was expertly caught by wicketkeeper Ashish Bagai. He had a threatening opening spell, only allowing 10 runs off 6 overs, and ending the day with figures of 1 for 21 off 6.3 overs. However, he also bowled a poor final over of the day, conceding 11 runs off just 3 balls.
The middle part of Bermuda's innings was very similar to that of Canada's: slow, deliberate, unable to gain any momentum. They consistently lagged about 12 runs behind the D/L Par score as clouds threatened intermittently, but the rain never came and the match was able to be completed (if in its shortened form already). As it so often does in this game, it came down to the final 10 overs.
Canada lost wickets in their final overs, and in doing so were unable to accumulate any real number of runs. Bermuda, though they lost a few - namely Foggo and Romaine - were able to keep themselves in a bit longer and add a few runs at a time, increasing their rate as they went. In the end, the innings turned out to be perfectly paced, as Jekon Etness stroked the winning runs with 3 balls to spare.
Henry Osinde made a couple of great boundary catches for Canada, including one leaping, one-handed grab on Bascombe, but in the end it wasn't enough to make 155 stand up. Qaiser Ali (3-28) and Sunil Dhaniram (2-22) led the Canadian attack. Chris Foggo was the leading batsman, scoring a patient 60 off 86 balls.
In the end it was a very competitive match, well worth waiting for the rain to stop. These sides get together again tomorrow, and then on Tuesday for ODIs. After a few days off, they will contest an Intercontinental Cup match (4-day) beginning on Friday.