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Bermuda battling for second

Must win games: Bermuda cannot afford to lose against the United States today or Canada on Saturday

Bermuda will be looking to pick up their first win in the Under-19 World Cup Qualifiers when they meet group leaders Canada today at Lord’s.

Canada, 2-0 after beating the United States by one run in a thrilling contest at Somerset on Tuesday, look to have enough in their all-round game to claim the automatic spot for next year’s Under-19 World Cup in Bangladesh. However, Bermuda can still earn a second chance at qualification during a global qualifier involving the runner-up teams from the various ICC regions, provided they beat both Canada and the US in their final matches.

So far Bermuda have been outplayed, but watching the US fightback against Canada after being 10-4 in chasing 242 for victory, could give Bermuda new belief ahead of today’s crucial match. Chasing 258 for victory three days ago, Bermuda were dismissed for 186 in 46.3 overs.

“We have a team meeting later this evening to discuss our plan for tomorrow,” Terry Fray, director of the Bermuda team, said yesterday. “We’ve got to improve in all our disciplines.”

In each of the three matches the team batting first have won the game after posting scores of 255, 257 and 241. Bermuda are relying heavily on three or four main batsmen, opener Jahnoi Bean-Wilson, Alex Dore and captain Delray Rawlins, for their runs while the US, with greater depth in their batting, almost pulled off a sensational victory after captain Alex Shoff, batting at seven, hit a century before he was last man out.

“We need one or two players to get good performances in to inspire the others, that’s how it works.” Fray said. “We have to build partnerships because Canada and the United States are 250-run teams. We need to be patient and not give our wickets away.”

Bean-Wilson looked promising against the Canada seam bowlers before he lofted a catch to mid-on after scoring 31 and wickets began to fall regularly, before Rawlins offered some resistance by scoring 45 at number five.

“We did see a vast improvement in the last game against Canada from the batting point of view when we played with positive intent,” said Fray, a Bermuda youth team batsman in the early 1980s. “They were looking to hit the ball back up the park and most importantly they rotated the strike much better than the first game.

“He [Bean-Wilson] worked that hard to get a good start but didn’t see it through. He scored 31 runs hitting the ball all along the ground and then wanted to do something different.

“I remember a great quote by Geoff Boycott: ‘if I score one hundred runs one way, why should I look to score the second hundred a different way when the first hundred worked well for me’. We need to look to one of the early order bats to bat the majority of the overs.

“Canada and the US have early order batsmen who are capable of doing that and that’s how they build their innings.”

Bermuda also need to be disciplined in the bowling and fielding departments, Fray said.

“From a bowling point of view we definitely have to look to reduce the number of extras and bowl aggressively at them and restrict them as much as we can,” he said.

“What let us down in the last game is we bowled too many boundary balls. We fielded well in spurts, which is not good enough in a 50-over game at this level. We lose concentration when partnerships are being developed and the boys have to understand that that is a very important part of the game.

“Partnerships will be developed and you have to contain, attack, create pressure and, most importantly, be patient. We dropped too many catches in the last game and we need to improve on that.”