It’s wide open — Cann
Bermuda stalwart Lionel Cann says the ICC World Twenty20 2014 Qualifying tournament, to begin today in Dubai, is “wide open” with any country capable of being toppled on the day.
“It's T20 so it's anybody's game,” he declared on the eve of Bermuda's opening Group B clash with Scotland at Sharjah Cricket Stadium.
“Ireland got beaten by Papua New Guinea (PNG) the other day (in a ICC World Twenty20 warm-up) so even the top teams can be beaten on the day.
“It's a very long tournament and the teams that survive at the end will be the teams that go through (ICC World Twenty20. The main thing for us is to keep improving with each game.”
Bermuda will go into today's clash against an experienced Scottish side high on confidence after recording a stunning three-wicket win over America's rivals Canada in the team's final ICC World Twenty20 warm-up at the ICC Academy Ground in midweek.
“To be able to beat Canada shows what can be done and adds confidence to the team,” Cann said. “Canada beat the champions Afghanistan the day before and then we turned around and beat them. And that has given the team — especially the youngsters — a lot of confidence and belief that they can achieve if they continue to work hard.”
Cann is bracing himself for what he anticipates will be a tough opening fixture against a Scottish team boasting several English County players, including skipper Kyle Coetzer and his Northamptonshire team-mate David Murphy, Robert Taylor (Leicestershire) and Matthew Machan (Sussex).
“You have to rate Scotland high,” Cann said. “They play in the English leagues and have a couple of professionals that play English County cricket.”
Cann is a survivor from Bermuda's team that defeated Scotland by five wickets in a 2007 ICC World Cricket League Division One match in Nairobi, Kenya, stroking an unbeaten 49 in an unbroken fifth-wicket partnership of 134 with then skipper Irving Romaine (85 not out).
“Obviously Scotland won't take us for granted knowing that we have beaten them before and we won't take them for granted either,” Cann added. “The guys have been working and the camaraderie is great and we are ready to go for tomorrow (today).”
Today's match will be played at the same ground where Cann, who turned 41 last month, thumped a half-century (73) off 47 balls in a losing cause against USA during the ICC World Twenty20 2012 Qualifier.
“I've got a lot of good scores there and it's a nice ground,” said Cann. “The ball comes on and the field is the same size as the National Sports Centre so it's a good ground and Bermuda has had some good results there.”
Bermuda have pinned their hopes for ICC World Twenty20 2014 qualification on a team boasting several young players who Cann says have been an asset to the squad.
“The new guys coming is definitely a plus,” he added. “We have four or five youngsters that are younger than my oldest son and they have added a lot of youth to the team. They are excited and add a lot of energy to the team.”
Bermuda will be captained by senior player Janeiro Tucker in Dubai.
Tomorrow Bermuda are scheduled to play Denmark on The Netherlands on Sunday.