?Jones confident ahead of World Cup qualifiers
Malachi Jones is optimistic that Bermuda can achieve their objective at the ICC Americas Region T20 World Cup qualifying tournament next month, which the island will host.
The Southampton Rangers all-rounder, who represented Bermuda at the 2007 World Cup, where he claimed a wicket with his very first ball, believes Bermuda has both the pedigree and depth required to get the job done.
“This is probably one of the strongest squads we’ve had since the 2007 World Cup with the amount of commitment, numbers and calibre of players that have made themselves available,” Jones said.
“The training squad is split up between two teams playing at a very high level and I think the calibre of players is very, very promising.”
The double round-robin tournament will pit the team against regional rivals Canada, the United States and Cayman Islands and will run from August 15 to 25. The top two countries will advance to the Global Qualifier, which is scheduled for October and November.
“I’m up for the challenge,” Jones added. “I’m just looking to get us off to a good start.”
Jones was superb during a menacing second spell of seam bowling on the way to figures of five for 16 that helped power Premier Twenty20 leaders Rangers to a 78-run victory over Flatts Victoria at Lord’s at the weekend.
“My strategy was to bowl full and straight with a little bit of variation of pace because the wicket wasn’t really carrying at one end,” he said.
“I was just trying work on a few death bowling later on the innings. Getting ready for the tournament coming up and Dion Stovell [the Rangers captain and Bermuda team-mate] wanted me to run in and practise my death bowling.
Stovell added: “It’s a tournament coming up, so I think it’s time for Mali to show his class. Just run in and bowl variations and different things like that.”
Jones received solid support from promising seam bowler Nirobi Smith-Mills, who took four for ten.
“Nirobi has a lot of promise, especially with him knowing how to use the ball, swinging it both ways,” Jones added.
Smith-Mills, who will represent Bermuda at the ICC Americas Under-19 Regional World Cup Qualifier in Toronto, Canada, from July 6 to 15, was on the verge of a hat-trick after dismissing Flatts’ Troy Dean and Adio Robinson in successive balls. However, he was denied the feat after incoming batsman Nekoda Bascome got an inside edge that barely missed the stumps.