Bermuda suffer heavy defeat at T20 qualifiers
Bermuda suffered their second straight loss at the World Twenty20 Qualifiers in the United Arab Emirates today, and now face a crucial match with another mid-table team Kenya tomorrow.
Bermuda are hoping for at least two more wins in order to finish in the top five in Group B, after losing to one of the tournament favourites, Afghanistan, to drop to sixth in the tables with a 2-2 record from four matches.
It puts extra importance on the match against Kenya, who followed up two opening losses with two wins which lifted them up to fourth in the standings and level on four points with Bermuda and Papua New Guinea.
The team's predicament, following today's loss, was spelled out to Bermuda during a post-game meeting, with coach Arnold Manders making it clear to the players the importance of beating Kenya, who face tough final matches against the top two teams in the group, Netherlands and Afghanistan on the weekend.
Bermuda's last two matches are against Nepal and Papua New Guinea on Saturday and Sunday.
“We have to sort ourselves out before tomorrow because tomorrow's game is probably going to be the most important game,” Manders acknowledged. “If we win all three we could finish in the top three.
“If we beat Kenya they will have to beat Afghanistan or Netherlands in order to get ahead of us. And they understand that too. We both have three games left but they have the harder games; we have Nepal and Papua New Guinea. We don't want them (Kenya) to win because their net run rate is better than ours, so for us it is do or die.
“We wanted to get in the top three but we can finish fifth and still be in the qualifiers. If we finish in the top three we will get two chances and could lose and still get in.”
Added Manders: “We have to finish in the top five and right now we are in sixth, tied with Kenya but they have a better net run rate. If we can beat Kenya we will go into fifth and then they will have to win again in order to get back ahead of us.”
Bermuda were dismissed for 101 in 18.1 overs after being sent in to bat by Afghanistan with the spinners doing the damage.
“They are a good team, they batted exceptionally well and fielded well,” said Manders.
Lionel Cann, coming in at number four, led the batting with 28 from 23 balls but there was little else in the batting as only two others, Chris Douglas (12) and tail-ender Jacobi Robinson (13), reached double figures. Bermuda were undone by some tight spin bowling as seven of the ten wickets were claimed by the slow bowlers.
Leg spinner Samiullah Shenwari led the Afghanistan bowling with three for 20 from four overs while Karim Sadiq and Mohammad Nabi picked up two wickets apiece.
“We wanted to win the toss and chase but they won the toss and sent us in,” said Manders. “We didn't get the best of starts, Chris got run out by the wicketkeeper after he dropped the ball and then threw down the wicket.
‘It was one of those type of days, we didn't apply ourselves, I can admit that. Then they had to finish the game as quick as they could and just took apart our attack in the first six overs when we could only have two fielders out.
“The boy Shadzad (wicketkeeper Mohammad Shadzad) is probably one of the most prolific batsmen at the Associate level. They are a very good team but we let ourselves down because we didn't play as well as we can. Now we have to find a way to pick up ourselves for tomorrow because it is probably going to be the most important game for us in the tournament.”
Afghanistan left half their overs still on the board when they crossed the Bermuda total in 9.5 overs, with Shahzad leading the run chase with an unbeaten 60 from 36 balls while skipper Nabi gathered 33 from 16 to cap a fine all round display with bat and ball.
Shahzad added 42 for the first wicket with Nawroz Mangal and then shared in a second wicket stand of 56 with his captain who departed four runs short of victory.
Kamau Leverock (1-21) and skipper Janeiro Tucker (1-16) claimed the only Afghanistan wickets. Left arm spinner Derrick Brangman, again opening the bowling, bore the brunt of Afghanistan's aggression, going for 42 runs in just three overs before being taken out of the attack.