Manders left bewildered by naive Bermuda
Arnold Manders lamented Bermuda's naivete as they prepared to board a flight back to the Island, having been beaten six times in succession at the World Twenty20 qualifying tournament in the United Arab Emirates.
The final denouement came in the play-off for thirteenth place yesterday, when the run-chase for a middling target turned into a procession before resulting in an 11-run defeat by Uganda.
“We should have been able to chase down the runs required to get the win, but we continually shoot ourselves in the foot because we aren't in real-life situations enough, both in the warm ups and build-up to the competition,” Manders, the Bermuda coach, said.
“The Papua New Guinea game and the Nepal game were both close and we should have won, but our bowling at the end leaked away some runs. But, again, it comes down to the players not being in these situations on a regular basis and knowing how to do the things they needed to do to win the game.”
Failure to make the most of the powerplay overs meant that Janeiro Tucker, the Bermuda captain and form batsman throughout the latter stages of the tournament, was under pressure to raise the rate from the moment that he entered the fray at the end of the eighth over with the score 34 for two.
Tucker, who had knocks of 48 and 42 at better than a run a ball in his previous two innings, made a fluent 30 from 32 balls, but Uganda's out-cricket restricted him to only the one boundary before he was caught off the left-arm medium pace of Brian Masaba in the final over, with Bermuda requiring 14 runs from three balls.
“We had a good start with the quick runs between the two openers [Dion Stovell and Tre Manders] early on, but we let the run-rate get up too high,” Manders added. “It was roughly six an over and in the matter of a few overs it was at ten an over and then 12.”
David Hemp was the top scorer with 53 from 55 balls, including seven boundaries. It was the former Glamorgan batsman's second consecutive fifty in the tournament, but, sadly for Bermuda, it was a case of too little, too late. And, as a batting unit, too slow.
Tre Manders was the only other batsman to reach double figures. The Somerset Cup Match hero, who was shunted down the order to No 10 in the previous match against Papua New Guinea, made 18 from 23 balls, with two fours. Stovell's star flickered all too briefly. He hit two boundaries from his first five balls but was bowled for nine by the sixth, with the score 15 from 1.5 overs. Nineteen runs from the next six overs, with Manders and Hemp in partnership, put Bermuda in a hole from which they would not extricate themselves.
The frustration for coach Manders has to be that after a succession of matches in the losing run, where runs were leaked at an alarming rate, the bowling unit performed closest to the level that had been expected when the squad departed Bermuda three weeks ago.
After a brisk start, Uganda were pegged back by Kamal Bashir and Kamau Leverock — Malachi Jones went for nine runs in the opening over and was not recalled. From a precarious 37 for three in eight overs, Uganda fashioned a recovery through a 58-run partnership by Hamza Saleh, Uganda's top scorer with 45 from 45 balls, including four boundaries and a six, and Davis Arinaitwe, the captain, who made 14. But they fell in consecutive balls from Leverock and Allan Douglas Jr before a crucial 31-run stand by Richard Okia, who hit 21 from 12 balls, with two sixes, and Jonathan Sebanja, who was 13 not out off five balls, instilled in Uganda the belief that they had gained enough momentum to put Bermuda under pressure.
Leverock finished as Bermuda's top bowler with two for 24 from his four overs, with Tucker taking two for 28 from three and Bashir one for seven, although, strangely given his economy, from three overs, too. Derrick Brangman, the slow left-armer, went wicketless, but his four-over spell is not to be underestimated, costing as it did only 22 runs.
Still, Manders wanted a bit more. “We fell 11 runs short and it comes down to their bowling at the death,” he said. “They bowled better than us in the final overs. At the end of our [fielding] innings, we gave up 20 or 30 runs and that was the difference right there. But we have had that problem all tournament long.”
Lionel Cann, arguably Bermuda's most explosive batsman for whom a run-chase such as yesterday's might have been tailor-made, was withdrawn from the squad reportedly so that he could return to the Island early because of a family bereavement.