Tucker hits PNG for six
Janeiro Tucker produced a career-defining innings to power Bermuda to a five-wicket win against Papua New Guinea at the ICC Global Cricket Acadmey Ground in Dubai yesterday.
The veteran all-rounder blasted six sixes and a boundary in an unbeaten knock of 52 from 33 deliveries that carried Bermuda safely across the line with three balls to spare in yesterday's World Twenty20 qualifier.
Bermuda required 16 runs for victory off the final over of the match with Tucker and Kamau Leverock at the crease.
With the game on the line, Papua New Guinea skipper Rarva Dikana took matters into his own hands and brought himself back into the attack.
But the gamble backfired as Tucker thumped three successive sixes off the right arm seamer to end the match in a flurry.
The Southampton Rangers player/coach smashed Dikana's first delivery out of the park, the second over long off and the third over the cover boundary to bring up his half-century and end the match in style.
It was Tucker's best knock in a T20 international, surpassing the 33 he scored against Nepal the day before.
“Hitting that last ball was amazing,” Tucker was quoted as saying on the ICC's official website. “That was always my intention to try to get us to victory in the last over.
“My personal performance was really outstanding today. I haven't really had a good last four or five games, but today (it) all came together.”
Fittingly, the Bermuda stalwart's half-century earned him man-of-the-match accolades.
Leverock, who watched all the drama unfold at the non-striker's end, never faced a delivery during the unbroken 18-run sixth wicket stand with Tucker that broke Papau New Guinea's back.
Skipper David Hemp and Dion Stovell also made valuable contributions with the bat to help Bermuda put an end to a five-game losing streak that dashed all hope of appearing at September's World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka.
Stovell slammed a typically robust 31 (four fours and a six) from 24 deliveries while a more sedated Hemp (one four and one six) gathered 30 from 27.
Lionel Cann (15) and Fiqre Crockwell (13), who came into the team for seamer Stefan Kelly, both made promising starts but failed to build upon them.
With Stovell in full flow, Bermuda stayed ahead of the run rate until the aggressive opening batsman was bowled by leg spinner/seamer Mahuru Dai playing across the line in the eighth over of the innings.
Papau New Guinea's bowlers then turned the screws until Tucker shifted through the gears and conjured up another match-winning innings.
He gave an ominous warning of the pending danger when he lifted seamer Joel Tom's first delivery of the 18th over over long-off for six and then helped himself to another boundary off the bowler's fourth delivery that cut a path as it raced to the cover fence.
Bermuda only managed to take five runs off the penultimate over as seamer Hitolo Areni varied his line and length to keep the batsmen guessing and set the stage for a dramatic climax.
Wicketkeeper turned bowler Tony Ura, who claimed the prized scalp of Cann in his first spell, was the pick of Papau New Guinea's bowling with one for 12 from two.
Papua New Guinea were sloppy in the field as they gave up a costly 16 runs that came back to haunt them in the end.
Earlier, middle order bat Vani Morea slammed an unbeaten 49 from 31 balls and all-rounder Chris Amini a run-a-ball 32 to give Papua New Guinea a good platform to attack Bermuda's bowlers at the death.
Morea carried his bat to the end, dominating a 35-run stand for the fifth wicket with Amini before adding a further 22 for the sixth with John Reva as Papua New Guinea plundered 63 runs from the last five overs.
Tucker and fellow seamer Justin Pitcher bore the brunt of the onslaught.
Tucker went for 17 runs in his second over and Pitcher for 19 in the penultimate over of the match.
Stovell (two for 21) once again led Bermuda's bowling to take his overall tournament tally to 11 wickets.
The 27-year-old all rounder varied his line and length throughout to keep the batsmen honest and the pressure eventually told as he accounted for the scalps of Asad Vala (11) in the fourth over of the innings and Amini in the 17th with the second delivery of his second spell.
Seamer Sammy Robinson (two for 27), who bowled his four-over spell unchanged, also claimed two wickets to finally open his account in his second appearance in Dubai.
Bermuda, whose win yesterday lifted them off the bottom of Group A, face unbeaten group leaders Afghanistan in their final group match today at the same venue.
For more pictures
Bermuda v Papau New Guinea (PNG), World Twenty20 qualifier A Vala lbw Pitcher 11
T Ura b Stovell 2
G Jones cwk Anderson b Robinson 23
C Amini cwk Anderson b Stovell 32
M Dai c Crockwell b Robinson 10
V Morea not out 49
J Vare run out (Trott) 11
J Reva not out 4
Extras (13w) 13
Total for six wickets in 20 overs: 155
Fall of wickets: 1-10, 2-21, 3-57, 4-70, 5-105, 6-133
Bowling: Stovell 4-0-21-2; Pitcher 4-0-35-1; Trott 4-0-25-0; Robinson 4-0-27-2; Tucker 2-0-25-0; Leverock 2-0-22-0
D Stovell b Dai 31
F Crockwell run out (Vala) 13
L Cann c Areni b Ura 15
D Hemp c Ura b Tom 30
J Tucker not out 52
S Outerbridge c Jones b Areni 1
K Leverock not out 0
Extras (5b, 7lbs, 3w, 1nb) 16
Total for five wickets in 19.3 overs: 158
Fall of wickets: 1-39, 2-54, 3-79, 4-134, 5-140
Bowling: Areni 3-0-27-1; Tom 3-0-23-1; Dikana 3.3-0-36-0; Dai 3-0-14-1; Reva 2-0-12-0; Amini 3-0-22-0; Ura 2-0-12-1
Result: Bermuda won by five wickets at ICC Global Cricket Academy Ground in Dubai
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