Danes provide first challenge
Bermuda face Denmark in their opening ICC World Twenty20 2012 qualifier in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) today.
The Island’s senior national team will take on the Danes at the ICC Global Cricket Academy ground in Dubai in what will be the first of seven group matches in eight days in what are expected to be sweltering conditions.
Bermuda have been pitted in Group ‘A’ that also includes defending tournament champions Afghanistan, Canada, Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, Hong Kong and Nepal.
The Island team, who will again be led by ex-Glamorgan skipper David Hemp, are considered among those with only an outside chance of securing one of the two ICC World Twenty20 spots for September’s tournament in Sri Lanka.
The 16 teams competing in Dubai have been split into two groups of eight with the top three from each group advancing to the knockout phase of the tournament.
The group winners will face off against each other in the first qualifying final with the winner advancing to Sri Lanka and the loser receiving another bite at the cherry once remaining knockout matches are completed.
The eventual winners in Dubai will join Test teams West Indies and Australia in Sri Lanka while the runners-up will come up against reigning ICC World Twenty20 champions England and ICC World Cup champions India.
Bermuda are without several key players such as all-rounder Malachi Jones, George O’Brien Jr, OJ Pitcher and Dean Minors.
But despite these omissions national coach David Moore has travelled to Dubai with high expectations.
“I am very confident that the players that have committed to train and play for Bermuda will do their very best for their country,” he said.
“It is now up to all players to take the opportunity that they have been given to perform at the highest Associate level and give the team the best possible opportunity to qualify for the World T20 to be held in Sri Lanka later this year.”
Whether Bermuda can overcome the odds and qualify for the big event will rest heavily on the broad shoulders of team stalwarts Lionel Cann, Janeiro Tucker, Stephen Outerbridge and skipper Hemp.
Much will also be asked of aggressive top order batsman Dion Stovell who is well suited for the Twenty20 format and youngsters Kamau Leverock and Joshua Gilbert.
“The squad that has been picked provides a good balance for the challenges and nuances of the T20 game,” added Moore. “The squad selected provides a wide number of bowling options while still allowing a strong batting group.”
As for the demanding schedule in Dubai, Moore said: “It is a very tight and challenging schedule for all teams with one game a day.
“Our players will have to look after themselves while on tour to make sure that they have recovered sufficiently to perform at their best day in day out.”
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