Bermuda humbled by Hong Kong
Bermuda 161/5; Hong Kong 164/2Bermuda’s ICC World Twenty20 2012 qualifying hopes took another battering in the United Arab Emirates yesterday.
The Island’s national cricket team slumped to a second straight defeat in as many days after losing heavily to Hong Kong by eight-wickets at the ICC Global Cricket Academy ground in Sharjah.
Bermuda’s batsmen put up a challenging total to defend. But their bowlers were unequal to the task of containing Hong Kong’s explosive batsmen.
Set a target of 162 for victory, top order bats Irfan Ahmed (50) and James Atkinson (87 not out) blasted half centuries during a swashbuckling 113 run second wicket stand that all but carried Hong Kong across the line.
Ahmed eventually fell to a catch off the bowling of Janeiro Tucker on the last ball of the 13th over. But at 120 for two, the damage had long been done.
Atkinson and Courtney Kruger (9) then hammered the final nail in Bermuda’s coffin via an unbroken 44 run third wicket stand.
Fittingly, it was Atkinson who hit the winning runs with a six off Kamau Leverock to punctuate his team’s emphatic win that was achieved with nearly three overs to spare.
The wicketkeeper/batsman hit 13 boundaries and two sixes and faced 55 deliveries to finish unbeaten with a strike rate of 158.18.
Ahmed was equally as punishing as his half century arrived off just 37 balls in a knock that included six boundaries and two sixes.
Hong Kong’s batsmen rotated the strike throughout their innings to keep the pressure on the fielders and dispatched any delivery pitched short or loose to, or over, the fence with authority.
Respect was shown to seamer Tucker (one for 28) and off spinner Rodney Trott (0-25). But the same could not be said for seamer Justin Pitcher (0-24) and off spinners Dion Stovell (0-41) and Joshua Gilbert (0-14) who bore the brunt of Hong Kong’s assault on the Island’s tame bowling attack.
Pitcher, who came into the team for Stefan Kelly, had a T20 international debut to forget as he went for 17 runs in a single over, while Stovell was also roughed up as he was tagged for 12 in the sixth over and 16 in the 16th. Gilbert was blasted out of the attack after giving up 14 runs in his one and only over.
Trott was Bermuda’s most economical bowler after completing his quota of overs with an economy rate of 6.25
Tucker and Leverock (one for 25) claimed the only Hong Kong wickets to fall.
Earlier, Bermuda appeared to have batted themselves to safety.
Skipper David Hemp led the way with a run-a-ball 43. But the amount of deliveries he gobbled up came at a cost in the grand scheme of things.
Tucker stroked a T20 best 31 not out while Stovell blasted 29 at the top of the order that included five boundaries.
Openers Stovell and Lionel Cann (14) got Bermuda off to a blistering start as they gathered 30 runs from the first three overs.
But Bermuda were pegged back in the middle overs as spinners Nizakat Khan (1-15) and Munir Dar (2-33) and seamer Aizaz Khan (0-20) applied the brakes.
Bermuda did not reach the century mark until the 16th over when Hemp nudged a single off seamer Aizaz Khan.
The run rate eventually climbed towards the end of the innings as Bermuda’s batsmen finally cut loose at the crease.
Tucker dominated a 33 run stand with Hemp before the latter was dismissed seven runs shy of a half century in the 18th over. Hemp fell off the second ball of left arm spinner Dar’s second spell after smashing the previous delivery out of the park.
The Bermuda skipper gathered three boundaries and a six.
Tucker and Leverock (18) then finished off the innings with a flurry, belting 35 runs off just 2.2 overs to place their team on what seemed to be solid ground.
Tucker’s 19-ball innings contained two boundaries and a six while Leverock, who faced only seven deliveries, thumped one boundary and two sixes.
The teenaged Leverock opened his account with a six off the first ball he faced from Dar, who was the pick of the Hong Kong bowling.
Bermuda will resume their quest for a first win in Dubai when they take on the Netherlands today.
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