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Sabir heroics bring Bermuda back from the dead

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Dominic Sabir backed up his first international fifty with three for 33 to breathe life into Bermuda's World Cup campaign (Photograph by Cleon Scotland)

Bayuemas Oval, Kuala Lumpur (Bermuda won toss): Bermuda (2pts) beat Saudi Arabia (0) by four runs

Bermuda’s hopes of qualifying for the Super Six stage of the ICC Cricket World Cup Challenge League Play-off were ignited by a gutsy performance culminating in a nail-biting finish against Saudi Arabia in a pivotal group A clash.

Captain Delray Rawlins stood up to be counted with a battling half-century and disciplined bowling performance, but it was Dominic Sabir who stole the show.

Drafted into the starting XI in place of Chare Smith as the only change from the Italy mauling by 157 runs, the 20-year-old Somerset all-rounder first made his mark with a run-a-ball fifty in helping to arrest an early slide, and then brought Bermuda back into the match with the ball in the wake of a shocking 27th over from a struggling Zeko Burgess that yielded 16 runs.

Reinventing himself as an off spinner only last summer, the player of the match bowled his ten overs unchanged for three for 33 — including Saudi Arabia’s two highest scorers.

Smart fielding at the end when the Saudi side staged a fightback as pace was put back on the ball got Bermuda over the line and ended a winless run in 50 overs that spanned more than 16 matches.

Defeat by Saudi Arabia would not have eliminated Bermuda from contention, as the top three from each group advance and there is still tomorrow’s match against Kuwait, but the impact on morale is significant.

“It’s a lovely taste,” Rawlins told The Royal Gazette. “We haven’t won a 50-overs game for a few years. We made it hard for ourselves in the end there, but a win is a win and on the board it says two points. We look forward to tomorrow.”

Relieved head coach Cal Waldron commented: “Emotionally, it’s been a rollercoaster. The guys fought hard for it. We talked last night about the belief that we could win, that we could do it. We want to carry that momentum into the next match.”

Assistant coach Janeiro Tucker was glad the winless run had ended.

“Mercy. Five years we haven’t had a victory in 50 overs,” he said with incredulity. “It’s nice to finally get the result and hopefully this takes the guys on tomorrow to get us through to the Super Sixes.”

Winning the toss, Bermuda decided to bat and immediately subjected the opposition to the unrelenting Malaysian heat and humidity.

Despite that, the Saudis were able to put Bermuda under pressure right away with the wickets of Chris Douglas (one) and Tre Manders (eight), leaving the score at 17 for two after five overs.

Marcus Scotland, pushed down the order to No 4, joined Terryn Fray and the pair took the score to 45 before they were both dismissed in the space of five balls with the introduction of spin.

Fray was caught at slip for 29 and Scotland was bowled for a painstaking four from 24 balls.

At 46 for four, Bermuda’s innings was in real danger of collapsing, but the arrival of the experienced Kamau Leverock retrieved the situation.

Getting to 24 and looking quite ominous, he lost his wicket after mistiming a shot that allowed mid-wicket fielder Ishtiaq Ahmad to take an excellent diving catch inches from the ground that reduced Bermuda to 91 for five in the 21st over.

Sabir joined his captain and provided the impetus needed to propel the scoring.

In a partnership worth 87 runs for the sixth wicket, the 20-year-old dominated with an impressive knock of 51 that included five fours and one six to mark his first international half-century.

Delray Rawlins mixed patience with aggression in his top score of 75 (Photograph by Cleon Scotland)

Rawlins, who had passed fifty himself, was now forced to shift his batting down a few gears as late-order wickets reduced Bermuda’s expectation of scoring in excess of 250.

Allan Douglas Jr, Sinclair Smith and Derrick Brangman all fell cheaply and it was up to last man Burgess (seven not out) to provide some support for Rawlins as Bermuda finished on 227 all out in 44.3 overs.

Rawlins was the last man out for a top score of with 75 with three fours and five huge sixes off 95 balls. His impressive innings showcased his trademark sweeps, wristy flicks and powerful six-hitting.

Saudi Arabia began their reply in aggressive fashion but Leverock halted their charge with two quick wickets.

He dismissed Faisal Khan (eight) with a one-handed return catch and then had fellow opener Abdul Waheed (16) smartly caught by Chris Douglas at mid-wicket to leave them 29 for two in the seventh over.

Bermuda claimed their third wicket at the start of the twelfth over with Brangman’s first ball.

The dangerous Kashif Siddique (23) mistimed his pull shot and top-edged the ball to Leverock at short fine leg, leaving Saudi Arabia precariously placed at 55 for three.

But captain Hisham Shaikh and Waji Ul Hassan steadied the innings as Bermuda began to struggle in the heat.

Wicketkeeper Smith had to go off after suffering a suspected calf muscle tear and his replacement, Scotland, had to be replaced as a precaution after feeling soreness in his groin. This meant new rules could be applied whereby the substitute, Jarryd Richardson, could stand behind the stumps.

An attacking 87-run, fourth-wicket partnership in 18 overs began to swing the match in favour of the Saudis as the middle-order pair ran with urgency between the wickets and found gaps for boundaries with regularity.

Sabir was called upon to break the partnership and he did more than that by trapping Waji leg-before for 41, bowling Shaikh for 45 and having Manan Ali (two) brilliantly caught by Allan Douglas Jr on the mid-wicket boundary to leave Saudi Arabia 157 for six after 36 overs.

Twenty runs later, Rawlins picked up the wicket of Usman Najeeb, well caught by Fray running in off the long-on boundary and Zain Ul Abidin was smartly run out by Manders swooping in from cover, with Richardson whipping off the bails in mid-air. The score was now 180 for eight after 43 overs with Bermuda firmly in the ascendancy.

With one ball bowled from the 45th over and the score 187 for eight, a heavy downpour forced the players off for 25 minutes, with Bermuda ahead by 20 runs on the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method.

On the resumption however, Saudi Arabia benefited from wayward bowling and below-par fielding as the oppressive conditions returned.

Leverock was brought back to bowl the 47th over, which yielded 14 runs, and the last ball of the next over bowled by Allan Douglas Jr sailed over long-on for six leaving Saudi Arabia to score 12 runs from the last two overs.

Rawlins tossed the ball to Brangman and with his second ball trapped Usman Khalid leg-before attempting a sweep.

The Saudis required seven runs to win off the final over with Allan Douglas Jr entrusted with the responsibility after Leverock, the regular death bowler, had proved far too expensive.

Only one run was scored from the first three balls and on fourth ball, Ahmad attempted a second run on the arm of Manders, who fired his return from the mid-wicket boundary to the non-striker’s end where Douglas broke the stumps to effect the run out and spark jubilant scenes.

In the other group A match, Kuwait crushed Italy by 130 runs to send a message of their intentions before the crucial finale tomorrow.

In group B, home side Malaysia left it to the last ball to beat Tanzania by one wicket.



T Fray c Waheed b Zain 29

C Douglas lbw b Najeeb 1

T Manders c and b Ahmad 8

M Scotland b Shaikh 4

* D Rawlins c Waji b Najeeb 75

K Leverock c Ahmad b Najeeb 24

D Sabir b Waji 51

A Douglas Jr c Waheed b Zain 6

†S Smith c Ahmad b Zain 0

D Brangman c Ahmad b Shaikh 2

Z Burgess not out 7

Extras (lb 3, nb 2, w 15) 20

Total (44.3 overs) 227

Fall of wickets: 1-4, 2-17, 3-45, 4-46, 5-91, 6-178, 7-186, 8-186, 9-201.

Bowling: Ahmad 7-0-36-1; Najeeb 7.3-0-37-3; Khalid 2-0-12-0; Shaikh 10-0-45-2; Zain 5.3-1-27-3; Yousaf 6.3-1-33-0; Waji 6-0-34-1.

Saudi Arabia

Abdul Waheed c C Douglas b Leverock 16

Faisal Khan c and b Leverock 8

Kashif Siddique c Leverock b Brangman 23

*Hisham Shaikh b Sabir 45

Waji Ul Hassan lbw b Sabir 41

Usman Khalid lbw b Brangman 33

†Manan Ali c A Douglas b Sabir 3

Usman Najeeb c Fray b Rawlins 15

Zain Ul Abidin run out 1

Ishtiaq Ahmad run out 18

Imran Yousaf not out 4

Extras (nb 1, w 15) 16

Total (49.4 overs) 223

Fall of wickets: 1-11, 2-29, 3-55, 4-142, 5-149, 6-157, 7-177, 8-180, 9-217.

Bowling: Leverock 8-0-56-2; Burgess 6-0-40-0; Douglas 7.4-0-30-0; Brangman 8-1-37-2; Rawlins 10-1-27-1; Sabir 10-1-33-3.

Umpires: L D V V Silva (Sri Lanka) and Tabarak Dar (Hong Kong).

Match referee: W C Labrooy (Sri Lanka).

Other matches

Group A

Royal Selangor Turf Club, Kuala Lumpur (Kuwait won toss): Kuwait 216 (49.4 overs; Mohammad Amin 61, Usman Patel 50); Italy 86 (25 overs). Kuwait (2pts) beat Italy (0) by 130 runs.


Italy (q) 3 2 1 0 4 0.574

Kuwait 2 1 1 0 2 0.330

Saudi Arabia 3 1 2 0 2 0.298

Bermuda 2 1 1 0 2 -1.530

Group B

YSD-UKM Cricket Oval, Bangi (Tanzania won toss): Tanzania 247-9 (50 overs); Malaysia 249-9 (50 overs; Ahmed Faiz 53). Malaysia (2pts) beat Tanzania (0) by one wicket.


Bahrain (q) 2 2 0 0 4 1.270

Tanzania 2 1 1 0 2 0.750

Malaysia 2 1 1 0 2 -0.160

Vanuatu 2 0 2 0 0 -1.860

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Published February 26, 2024 at 7:58 am (Updated February 26, 2024 at 7:58 am)

Sabir heroics bring Bermuda back from the dead

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