Relegation all but certain for Bermuda
UKM-YSD Cricket Oval, Bangi (Bermuda won toss): Vanuatu (2pts) beat Bermuda by four wickets
A day of high drama at the ICC World Cricket League Division Four tournament ended yesterday with Bermuda requiring a sporting miracle to avoid relegation to the lowest realms of international cricket.
A four-wicket defeat by the previously winless Pacific Islanders from Vanuatu means last-placed Bermuda will not only have to beat host nation Malaysia heavily in their final match tomorrow to avoid relegation, but will require help in the other matches.
Returning to the scene of their nadir in Malaysia — the 189-run thumping by Uganda on Tuesday having done as much as anything to put Terryn Fray’s side in a deep hole on net run-rate — Bermuda could amass only 181 for nine in their 50 overs and then succumbed to a rearguard action inspired by a 42-year-old former South Australia batsman who had a right hip replacement less than eight months ago.
Shane Deitz, the Vanuatu player-coach, launched early celebrations for his birthday today with an unbeaten 71, having come to the wicket with his side 22 for two in the fifth over and in the grip of the impressive Bermuda off spinner Dion Stovell.
He put on 54 for the third wicket with Joshua Rasu, who made 31, before another a stumble, and then ushered his adopted homeland to a famous win through purposeful intent after the teams left the field for a brief rain break.
“I’ve been preaching to these guys about batting through the innings and today we got a first-hand lesson of what it means to bat through the innings,” a disappointed coach Clay Smith said. “Their coach did just that; he batted through the innings and that was the difference between winning and losing.”
Bermuda’s greatest weapon in defence of such a small total was their spinners, and Stovell more than played his part with four for 38 in his ten overs. But he got no wicket-taking support from Jacobi Robinson on the supposed spinners’ paradise, despite his ten overs going for only 32.
With no other recognised spinner in yesterday’s XI, that left the onus on the seam bowlers to pick up the slack. Kamau Leverock responded with an early wicket and Janeiro Tucker came to the party with one in his last over, but a Deitz-inspired Vanuatu negotiated the faster bowling efficiently enough to win the match with six balls to spare.
“Malaysia wickets are definitely spin-friendly,” Smith said. ”We could have used another spinner on tour easily. Most teams we played against have a minimum of three spinners.”
Bermuda’s prospects were not aided by miscalculating the bowlers’ overs amid all the tension, as a sixth bowler would have been required had the final over been needed, leaving Kwasi James one short of his quota of ten.
Undoubtedly, that bowler would have been Charles Trott, tactically left waiting to turn his arm over despite playing a key role in the win over Jersey.
Bermuda made two changes to the side from the Jersey match, James coming in for Cejay Outerbridge and Steven Bremar replacing Macai Simmons, but neither had the desired impact.
James’s nine wicketless overs went for 48, while Bremar failed to trouble the scorers for the second time this tournament in a brief, four-ball stay.
When Bermuda have been at their best, it has been through explosive starts. Yesterday, though, Leverock and Okera Bascome failed to come close to the pyrotechnics that so put Jersey under the cosh.
Bascome was out for one to the fifth ball of the match, and Leverock fell three overs later for 12 from 11 balls in the first over of spin to leave Bermuda 18 for two.
Tre Manders presenting a return catch without scoring in the sixth over to off spinner Jelany Chilia, who came on as first change after three overs of new-ball seam, completed a woeful start at 24 for three.
The recovery was authored by Fray, who has rounded into some nice form to remind of his personal successes in Malaysia from four years previous, and that man Stovell. The pair put on 110 in 32 overs, a partnership that should have provided a platform to bat Vanuatu out of the match.
Stovell, whose batting as a Bermuda player oddly has failed to match the standards of his bowling, made his top score of the tournament. That he took 90 balls to get to 35, with three fours, speaks of a determination not to give it away, given Bermuda’s predilection for stunning collapses.
And, indeed, it was a collapse that his departure precipitated — 134 for three turning to 180 for nine in the space of 11.2 overs.
Fray was top scorer with 77 in 132 balls with five fours. Extras was the third-highest scorer with 34, including 26 wides.
While Bermuda and Vanuatu were scratching around in Bangi, it was all kicking off in the capital, where two rain-affected matches produced exciting finishes.
Denmark, having seemed out of it after Duckworth-Lewis-Stern calculations left them needing 131 to beat Uganda at Kinrara Oval, blazed away to put themselves within touching distance of promotion as the only unbeaten team through four rounds.
With 12 runs to win off the last two overs and five wickets in hand, they fell one run short as Uganda captain Roger Mukasa took the responsibility to employ his own off spin for the first time in the match for the final over when Denmark needed five to win and accounted for four wickets — two by run-out.
Because of a huge run-rate gained primarily through the Bermuda win, Uganda are all but promoted, no matter tomorrow’s outcomes.
In the remaining match at Royal Selangor Club, Jersey survived a scare to beat Malaysia by ten runs on DLS method. The host nation needed 115 off 14 overs after a long rain delay, and for periods had Jersey on the ropes before key wickets fell at inopportune times.
They, and Jersey, are still in with a shout of promotion, but they both could be relegated, too, such is the unforgivingly pernicious nature of this six-team format.
Bermuda, facing a motivated home nation in the final game, have it all to do.
“With Division Five staring us in the face, it is quite apparent that our infrastructure as it relates to preparation needs to be revisited,” Smith said, “I am extremely disappointed to say the least; not only did we lose but with Jersey winning that leaves us with a minute chance of staying in Division Four.
“As long as we have a chance we will give it our all.”
K S Leverock st Deitz b Chilia 12
†O Bascome c Tair b Matautaava 0
*T S Fray c Dunn b Matautaava 77
T Manders c and b Chilia 0
D C Stovell c Chilia b Nipiko 35
J J Tucker c Dunn b Mansale 5
S D Outerbridge c Nipiko b Matautaava 14
S Bremar lbw b Matautaava 0
C Trott not out 2
K S James lbw b Nipiko 2
R J Robinson not out 0
Extras (lb 8, w 26) 34
Total (9 wkts, 50 overs) 181
Fall of wickets: 1-1, 2-18, 3-24, 4-134, 5-148, 6-153, 7-161, 8-167, 9-180.
Bowling: Matautaava 9-0-41-4; Nipiko 7-1-27-2; Chilia 10-1-25-2; Obed 10-3-23-0; Nalisa 4-0-21-0; Mansale 10-1-36-1.
J Dunn lbw b Stovell 0
J Rasu b Leverock 31
P K Matautaava c Robinson b Stovell 10
†S Deitz not out 71
*A Mansale b Stovell 1
N Nipiko c Bremar b Stovell 26
R Tari lbw b Tucker 15
T Langa not out 13
Extras (b 4, lb 1, nb 2, w 9) 16
Total (6 wkts, 49 overs) 183
S H Obed, J W Chilia and W Nalisa did not bat.
Fall of wickets: 1-1, 2-22, 3-76, 4-77, 5-116, 6-142.
Bowling: Stovell 10-2-38-4; Leverock 10-1-36-1; James 9-0-48-0; Robinson 10-0-32-0; Tucker 10-1-24-1.
Royal Selangor Club (Jersey won toss): Jersey 270-8 (50 overs; N A T Watkins 79, N J Ferraby 52); Malaysia 221-7 (42 overs; Virandeep Singh 83). Jersey (2pts) beat Malaysia by ten runs on Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method.
Kinrara Oval (Denmark won toss): Uganda 215-8 (50 overs; H B Kayondo 51); Denmark 129 (29 overs). Uganda (2pts) beat Denmark by one run on Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method.
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