Bermuda secure Division 3 status with win over USA
United States 220
Opening batsman Chris Douglas smashed 89 off 75 balls to lead Bermuda to an impressive five-wicket victory over the United States in their final ICC World Cricket League Division 3 round robin match on Saturday at the National Sports Centre.
Douglas, a late inclusion to the Bermuda squad for the six-team tournament after Jekon Edness withdrew because of a back injury, launched a brutal assault on the US bowlers from the outset as he dominated an opening stand of 43 in just six overs with Treadwell Gibbons (4) to lay the foundation for a Bermuda victory that dashed the US’s hopes of advancing to the ICC World Cup Qualifying Tournament next year. Douglas brought up his, and the team’s, 50 in the eighth over with 26 runs in one over.
Bermuda also missed out on qualifying for that tournament on net run rate as Nepal clinched the second spot behind Uganda following their eight wicket win over bottom team Italy, thus putting them ahead of the US and Bermuda on net run rate to finish second in the standings. The three teams finished level on six points and Bermuda will play the US again on Sunday in a third v fourth playoff match at St. David’s.
There was some relief in the Bermuda camp, however, as the win enabled the tournament hosts to avoid relegation into Division 4, which would have been their fate had they lost against the US as Oman also won their final match by seven wickets over previously unbeaten Uganda at Somerset Cricket Club and would have moved ahead of Bermuda on net run rate.
Douglas made certain of Bermuda’s survival in Division 3 with a blistering innings that contained nine fours and three sixes in his innings which earned the Man of the Match award while captain Stephen Outerbridge scored 37 and Janeiro Tucker 37 not out. The dashing left-hander knocked Elmore Hutchinson out of the attack after just one over when the seamer went for 20 runs in his only over, as the spin of Muhammad Ghous was introduced after just two overs.
Eventually Douglas’ frantic scoring pace did slow up but not before he reached his 50 and was then hampered by cramp which restricted his running between the wickets. At one stage Douglas was threatening to win the match in Chris Gayle-style, before a brilliant one-handed catch by Rashard Marshall at extra cover to a firm drive ended his entertaining stay at the crease. At 139-3 in the 31st over, Bermuda were well on their way to a comfortable victory and captain Outerbridge and Tucker kept the momentum going with valuable knocks, though Outebridge, was hampered by a recurring hamstring injury that restricted his running between the wickets.
It was fitting that Tucker and Lionel Cann were at the crease when victory was achieved. They are the two surviving members of the 2005 ICC Trophy team that sealed qualification for the 2007 World Cup with victory over the US in Ireland. This time the Bermuda victory, while not enough to keep alive dreams of another World Cup, ended the US’s hopes of reaching next year’s Qualifiers as Nepal came from two wins down to pip them for the second spot.
Four US bowlers took one wickets with former West Indies Test player Neil McGarrell returning impressive figures of one for 21 from his 10 overs while Ghous gave up 32 runs in his 10 overs. McGarrell also made a valuable contribution with the bat, supporting opener Akeem Dodson’s 50 with 45 not out off 43 balls late in the innings.
Bermuda had the US in early trouble at 20-2 with Stephen Taylor (9) again failing to reach double figures and captain Steve Massiah both falling to Janeiro Tucker catches in the slips off Malachi Jones who finished with figures of three for 48 while Treadwell Gibbons had two for 35 as the US struggled to score at more than four an over for most of their innings. Tucker, who shared the new ball with Jones, had one for 30 from 10 overs as the US’s first hundred came up in the 30th over.