Bermuda coach Herbie Bascome believes his side were “disrespected” in their defeat by Singapore, after a late no-ball decision off the bowling of Dion Stovell.
The Bermuda captain was bowling the fourth ball of the eighteenth over of Singapore’s chase with the game finely poised.
Match-winner Navin Param had just moved past 50 by reverse-sweeping Stovell for four before square-leg umpire Chris Brown, stationed at point because of the setting sun, called a no-ball after adjudging Bermuda to have had more than two players behind square on the leg side.
To add salt to the wound, Param, who ended up unbeaten on 72, hit the subsequent free hit for another boundary and took a single from the extra seventh ball to retain the strike and move his side within 19 runs of victory with two overs to go.
It was Rodney Trott’s position in the circle at square leg that prompted the no-ball decision, one that Bascome and his captain could not hide their displeasure with.
“It seems like we’re not supposed to be at this level of cricket,” Bascome told The Royal Gazette. “Look at those decisions that were made, they were ridiculous.
“How can you justify the decisions they made? I just don’t understand that. Bermuda’s a small country, we’re a nation of cricketers that maybe the cricket fraternity around the world doesn’t think should be here.
“We’re amateurs, but we have a lot of passion and a lot of heart for the game, and we shouldn’t be subjected to this. It’s outright disrespect to us. That’s not how we teach our players to play like this. It’s very hard and we’re fighting to get a victory in the tournament. We end up getting on the verge of victory and we get that decision, which is totally ridiculous. What can I say?
“It’s the third ball of the over, the field has not changed, the man’s attempting to bowl his fourth ball and then you stop him and call a no-ball? That’s got to be something other than the way the game’s supposed to be played.
“It’s unfortunate that it’s fallen on us. We’re a struggling nation trying to take our cricket to the next level. Yeah, we have our challenges trying to keep our players focused, but we shouldn’t be subjected to these challenges that are out of our control.”
Stovell was equally dismayed at the officiating and had already been visibly infuriated by umpire Sharfuddoula’s decision to turn down an appeal for leg-before wicket before the incident over Trott’s placement.
“I thought a couple of decisions didn’t go our way and it is a hard pill to swallow,” he said. “There were a couple of lbw decisions; the no-ball, too. I bowled [three] balls, so I don’t know why he didn’t call the first balls because if that’s the case [that Trott was behind square], then he should have called a no-ball first ball.
“From what I’ve seen, he was in front of square. If he didn’t call the first balls, then it’s obvious that he had to be [in front of square].”
It was a sour note to end on at the end of a day when Bermuda produced their best performance of the tour so far, having been beaten badly by Papua New Guinea in their opening match on Saturday.
While Bascome was crestfallen after watching his side come so close to getting what would have been a crucial first win of the campaign, the 55-year-old was delighted with the Gombey Warriors’ improvement.
“I thought the fellas played extremely well, played some good cricket, fought a hard game and I applaud the players,” he said. “We are coming into ourselves at the right time and this victory would have taken us from one level to the next overnight. It would have changed the complexion of the whole unit — from the reserves to the staff.
“I don’t feel deflated from the way we played, I feel deflated because of what’s happened to the players. That’s the only thing that’s deflated me. My thing is that I have to continue to drive the players, to still give ourselves a chance, as we’re still in it.
“I wasn’t expecting to come and win all the matches. I was expecting one or two losses, and now we’ve lost two, we have to show some character and show some fight. Now we’ve got to put it out of reach of anybody’s hands.”
There is no time to wallow, with Bermuda back at Dubai’s ICC Academy Ground on Monday morning for their third game in three days when they take on Kenya.
They are far from out of the running, but need to quickly start winning games with Namibia (Wednesday), Scotland (Thursday) and Netherlands (Saturday) waiting in the wings.
Stovell believes it is a matter of time before he and his team get their first points on the board.
“As a team, we always come out to win, but it’s a hard loss today, so we go back, rest up and come again tomorrow,” the 35-year-old said.