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Bermuda stay up despite Italy defeat

Losing effort: Manders faced 73 balls for his 37 against Italy

Bermuda retained their World Cricket League Division Four status by the skin of their teeth despite suffering a shock defeat by bottom team Italy in Los Angeles yesterday.

The loss was Bermuda’s third of the tournament but they avoided relegation via a superior net run-rate over a Jersey side that upset United States, who along with Oman have secured promotion.

Bermuda started the day still in with a slim chance of promotion but were fortunate not to plunge farther down world cricket’s pecking order. Jersey and Italy have both been relegated.

Bermuda’s gamble to send Italy into bat backfired as they were unequal to the task of scoring just under five runs per over in reply to Italy’s 228 for eight.

Opening batsmen Kamau Leverock and Dean Minors added 30 for the first wicket before both were removed in the space of five runs. Delray Rawlins and Tre Manders added 47 runs for the third wicket to stabilise the innings.

However, Italy regained control after a middle-order collapse reduced Bermuda to 144 for seven with recognised batsmen Janeiro Tucker and Dion Stovell among the carnage.

Bermuda were unable to stop the bleeding as Jordan DeSilva and Somerset team-mate Greg Maybury both departed in the space of three runs to leave coach Clay Smith’s team staring down the barrel of defeat at 168 for nine after 42 overs.

With no margin for error, the required rate soared towards eight runs an over as Italy tightened the noose to keep the pressure on Bermuda’s last pair.

Tailender Cejay Outerbridge thumped 21 from 28 balls to keep Bermuda in with a shout.

However, tight bowling at the death left Bermuda requiring 30 runs from the final over, a task that proved beyond reach, as far too many dot balls took their toll, with the team finishing on 209 for nine.

Manders, batting at No 3, was the biggest offender for eating up the strike as his 37 arrived off 73 balls, while captain OJ Pitcher’s unbeaten 32 came from 51.

Seam bowler Charanjeet Singh was in menacing form for Italy, bagging four wickets for 24 runs.

He bowled Manders with the last ball of his first over and then returned to dismiss Tucker, Steven Bremar and tailender Maybury in his second spell.

Earlier, Rawlins led Bermuda’s attack with impressive figures of two for 21 with his slow left-arm. He claimed the wickets of early-order batsman Manpreet Singh and Alessandro Bonora and was virtually unplayable as he went for just over two runs per over.

Rawlins made a breakthrough in his first spell with the first delivery of the 22nd over when Singh, the wicketkeeper, was trapped leg before pulling across the line. The Sussex Academy player continued to put the ball in the right areas in his second spell and was again rewarded when he bowled Bonora with the last delivery of his final over as Italy slipped to 153 for six.

Outerbridge followed up his five-wicket haul against Denmark in the previous match by bowling Bentota Perera to take his overall tournament tally to 11. Opening batsman Singh scored 45 from 68 balls to top the batting for Italy.