All-rounder Gibbons a doubt for Bermuda
Bermuda all-rounder Treadwell Gibbons will face a fitness test this morning ahead of the team’s crucial encounter with Nepal at St David’s in the Pepsi ICC Division 3 Tournament Gibbons hit a top score of 33 against Oman on Monday batting at number eight but injured his shoulder while fielding and had to leave the field. Fortunately he was not required to bowl as Bermuda won the match by 35 runs. “He is under the care of the physio and we will make a decision on him tomorrow,” said Bermuda coach Arnold Manders during yesterday’s rest day. Bermuda will return to St David’s and from Monday’s match will know what to expect from the pitch. Manders expects Nepal to be tough opponents. “There are six teams that are evenly balanced,” he reminds. “Nepal came here as one of the favourites and they are two losses down and trying to get back in so they are going to be dangerous. “The difference is it is early playing on our wickets and the wickets are slow and spinning a lot. The bounce is two-paced and it is difficult to bat on.” After two opening wins the United States and Uganda have established themselves as the teams to beat, while Bermuda and Oman occupy third and fourth in the standings with 1-1 records. Nepal, one of the pre-tournament favourites, suffered defeats to the US and Uganda and are joined at the bottom of the standings by winless Italy. Two losses leave Nepal with only an outside chance now of finishing in the top two and Bermuda will be desperate not to join them in the one-win two-loss bracket which would virtually eliminate them from advancing to the World Cup qualifying tournament next year. On Monday the Bermudians pulled off an impressive victory after recovering from 117-7 to post 194, thanks mainly to wicketkeeper Jason Anderson who hit a dogged 29 and tail-enders Gibbons and Jacobi Robinson (22 not out) who added 37 for the last wicket as they posted a match-winning 194. Two quick wickets before the lunch break, including one off the first over of the innings from Malachi Jones, enabled Bermuda to carry the momentum into the Oman innings. “I thought the mental approach by my team was awesome,” said Bermuda captain Stephen Outerbridge afterwards. “Something we do domestically, but internationally we seem to not back ourselves as we should, but today it was played in the right spirit.” “We knew that today was a crucial stage of the tournament, and really came out hard and came out with a victory, which is the most important thing.” Bermuda adjusted the batting order with top-of-the-order pair Anderson and Gibbons moved further down as left-hander Chris Douglas came in to open the innings with Dion Stovell. Anderson and Gibbons came good with the bat at a critical time and Robinson proved he is no slouch with the bat at number 11. “We carried an extra batsman,” said Outerbridge, who fell for 15 after a promising stand of 33 with Douglas for the second wicket. “We just need our batsmen to come into their own, a few late order batsmen did get close today to get us to 194, but we are looking for our top order to come to the party and deliver the goods for the team.” Worrying for Manders is the team not batting the full 50 overs in the first two matches. Against Oman they were dismissed with five overs still remaining. “Obviously not batting 50 overs is something you can’t do in a 50-over match,” said Manders. “We left about 36 balls that if we batted them out could have put Oman out of the match. “But we did well holding Nepal to what we did. We were never in on that pitch, it was turning and it was going to be difficult getting 190 on that pitch. (Syed Amir) Ali batted extremely well to keep them in the match. We’re happy but not so much happy with leaving overs on the board again. “If we want to get into the top two we have to win our remaining three games, we know that.” Outerbridge also acknowledges the importance of today’s match against a Nepal side desperate for their first win. “I think we haven’t played to our potential as of yet, in a way that is good thing for us, and we have another opportunity on Wednesday to get it right,” the Bermuda captain said. Oman were not able to chase down the modest Bermuda total despite a battling 58 not out from Pakistan-born number eight batsman Syed Amir Ali who had earlier claimed three for 34 with his spin bowling to take man of the match honours, albeit in a losing cause. “Our bowlers did a fantastic job in both matches, which is a plus point for this tournament,” said Oman captain Vaibhav Wategonkar. “Now we have to work a little bit on our batting strategy and hopefully everyone will take the responsibility in the next matches.” Today Oman face a huge match when they travel to Somerset to take on the United States who have already made their intentions known with two impressive victories. . USA captain Steve Massiah is very pleased with his side’s performances so far. “When the team came here, we focused on the first two games as the trend setters for the tournament,” said Massiah. “We wanted to get out of the gates quickly. We have now accomplished the first goal, and will focus on the next three matches.” Massiah believes the team’s strong opening performances are the result of the right balance of the team. “Our batting is pretty strong, it goes deep,” said the captain. “Some guys haven’t had a chance yet, or not had much time on the field, but they are also very strong batsmen. Our bowling is good too, but teams chasing high scores will go after the bowlers, that’s why it may look like our bowlers aren’t as strong as the batsmen, but we have a balanced team.” In the other match Uganda will be looking to continue their winning start with victory over Italy at National Sports Centre today. Uganda captain and man of the match in the win over Nepal, Davis Arinaitwe, was thrilled with his team’s performance in what he saw as a crucial encounter against Nepal. “It was very important to pick up a win against a big team like Nepal,” said Arinaitwe. “We know the quality they have, and so it was very important to do well today. It was a big game for us, we wanted to put them on the back foot as quickly as possible. We executed our game plan as we wanted and we did put them on the back foot, so I am very happy.”
Today’s schedule: Uganda v Italy (National Stadium); Bermuda v Nepal (St David’s); Oman v USA (Somerset).