Bermuda and Melbourne set for decider
Bermuda and visiting Melbourne Cricket Club will have everything to play for when the two sides clash in the final match of a three-match 50 overs series at Somerset Cricket Club today.
Both teams managed wins at the weekend to set up a winner-takes-all scenario heading into today’s tour finale.
Bermuda drew first blood after handing the visitors a 34-run defeat in the first meeting between the two sides on Saturday. But the visitors came roaring back the next day to level the series courtesy of a five-wicket victory in the second match.
Both teams have been forced to make changes to their line-ups ahead of today’s match.
Bermuda are without skipper Stephen Outerbridge, Jekon Edness and Lionel Cann because of work commitments while teenaged all-rounder Kamau Leverock has returned to studies in the United Kingdom.
Rodney Trott will lead the team in Outerbridge’s absence while fast bowler Greg Maybury has been included in the squad of 12 players.
All-rounder Dion Stovell, who has yet to play against Melbourne, is expected to get his first taste of action against the visiting Jamaican side today. He was included in Sunday’s team but did not play amid claims he was left out for showing up late for the match.
Melbourne, whose overall tour record stands at 3-1, have lost the services of skipper Andre McCarthy who has returned to Jamaica to prepare for his country’s upcoming Super50 semi-final commitment with Windward Islands in Barbados.
Bermuda coach Arnold Manders and his Jamaican counterpart Robert Samuels both expressed optimism on their team’s chances of success in today’s crunch match.
“If the guys can stick to the game plan then we should be all right,” said former Bermuda skipper Manders. “Melbourne are a decent team with good spinners, a genuine quickie and have a tall batting order, so the guys know what they are up against and what they have to do to be successful.”
Samuels, who toured Bermuda as a player with the West Indies ‘A’ and Jamaican national team in the 1990s, acknowledged that McCarthy’s services will be missed.
“The series is set up nicely but at the same time I’m losing my captain and one of my premier batsman, so it sets me back a little bit,” he said. “But at the same time it’s good to know we are going into the third game 1-1.”
Samuels believes his players threw the game away against Bermuda in the first meeting between the two sides.
“We didn’t get beat, I think we gave the game away,” he said. “I think because of the victory in the second T20 (against Somerset) the guys relaxed a bit and took things for granted.
“The team didn’t play together at all, so we had a meeting and we ironed out some stuff. I was very hard on them and had a meeting that lasted a couple of hours just to get them refocused, and it worked. Hopefully on Tuesday we can get another victory.”
McCarthy, who claimed seven wickets and amassed 170 runs in the four tour matches he played in, is confident his team can do the job against Bermuda in his absence.
“I think the guys can pull it off,” he declared. “All of the guys are focused and willing to go out there and play hard cricket.”
Today’s 50 overs contest at Somerset bowls off at 11am.
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