Bermuda began their ICC World Twenty20 Sub Regional Qualifiers with a resounding 124-run victory over Argentina at the Belgrano AC Ground in Buenos Aires yesterday.
Opening batsman Kamau Leverock struck 93 off 51 balls as Bermuda posted an imposing 209 for seven in their 20 overs after winning the toss in their pool B qualifier. Argentina could only manage 85 for six in reply.
Leverock shared an opening stand of 82 off just seven overs with wicketkeeper Okera Bascome, who contributed 32 off 16 balls before he was first out.
Leverock shared in another big stand for the second wicket, when he and Janeiro Tucker added 96 to keep Bermuda well on course for a total in excess of 200. Leverock departed with the score 178 for two, bowled seven runs short of a century after hitting 12 fours and four sixes.
Tucker went on to add 40 from 33 balls, before he was fourth out with Bermuda on 185, just two deliveries after losing captain Dion Stovell for three.
Clay Smith, the Bermuda coach, was impressed with the team’s outing, the first competitive match for most of the players since last September.
“Today’s win was very impressive,” Smith said. “We went as a team yesterday and scouted them [Argentina and Cayman], so we had a good idea of what we were up against and how we wanted to play.
“Kamau and Okera were excellent at the top of the order as they had 70 runs after the first six-over powerplay, which put us in a commanding position early. Okera was the one initially dominating at the top, but as Kamau got accustomed to the pace of the wicket he was exceptionally brutal, scoring to all parts of the field.
“It was a shame he fell just short of a hundred because he deserved it. Janeiro also came good, scoring a hard-fought 40. Taking into consideration that this was our first time batting on a wicket outdoors, I thought we did a fair job but there are definitely areas that we could still improve upon as a team.”
Smith added: “Next up is Cayman and we are expecting a stiffer test from them. Their two opening bowlers seem fairly decent and they are supported by a variety of spinners.
“After today’s win the guys seem in good spirits and are mentally prepared for tomorrow’s match, as a win tomorrow puts us on the brink of qualifying to the next phase, which is the main objective.”
Charles Trott and Kwasi James were the pick of the Bermuda bowlers, taking two wickets apiece as Bermuda made easy work of defending their total. Trott conceded 14 runs off his four overs, while James took two for eight.
“Also I thought the three young bowlers bowled extremely well and gave a good account of themselves, Kwasi James, Charles Trott and Cejay Outerbridge,” Smith added.
“It was nice to see Jacobi [Robinson] back in the fold as well because he brings another dimension to our bowling attack. Overall, it was a very good team performance. We had four players, Okera Bascome, Macai Simmons, Kwasi James and Charles Trott, make their international debut for Bermuda which is phenomenal for the future of Bermuda cricket.”
Argentina, needing to score at more than ten an over, found runs hard to come by as they reached 52 for two after ten overs. Opener Pedro Arrighi was their top scorer with 42 off 50 balls, sharing in an opening stand of 33 with Ramiro Escobar. Arrighi was fifth out in the sixteenth over when the score was 65, with Argentina heading an inevitable second defeat, having lost by five wickets to Cayman Islands in their opening game on Monday.
Outerbridge shared the new ball with Robinson — conceding 15 and 19 from their four overs each — while Leverock was the first change. Simmons also took a wicket in his lone over.
Bermuda play Cayman today in their second match.