ICC Academy Ground No 2, Dubai (Namibia won toss): Namibia (2pts) beat Bermuda by six wickets
Bermuda moved closer to elimination from the ICC T20 World Cup Qualifier in the United Arab Emirates after a fourth successive defeat — again borne out of a woeful batting performance.
The result against Namibia yesterday leaves Bermuda as the only side in group A without a single point on the board and in need of a miraculous run of results elsewhere, combined with wins over Scotland and the Netherlands in their remaining two matches if they are to have any chance of qualifying.
They would also require an enormous swing of their net run-rate, which at -2.331 is comfortably the lowest in the group, if they are to sneak into the fourth-place spot that essentially sets up a quarter-final with one of the two defeated teams in the second and third-place play-offs.
Their best hope now would be for Scotland to lose their remaining two games, while Kenya and Namibia, who face each other tomorrow, win a maximum one game each and Bermuda secure two convincing victories to nudge themselves above all three by virtue of net run-rate.
Rodney Trott, standing in for captain Dion Stovell, who dropped himself after a disappointing run with the bat, was left ruing that latest ruinous start from Bermuda’s top-order batsmen.
“I feel like our fielding has been excellent, our bowling’s not been too bad, but we’re losing too many wickets in the powerplay early,” Trott said.
“And we’re losing those wickets without getting [many] runs. It’s hard to win cricket games like that, losing wickets in the first six and you’re not getting runs. We talk about this every night. We’re looking for someone at the top to just bat at least eight overs.”
Despite making zero, one and four in the three previous games, Stovell’s omission was a surprising one at the toss, with Bermuda in need of as many leaders on the field as possible in search of a victory that would have resulted in them moving level on points with Namibia, and temporarily with Kenya, who scored a big win over Singapore later in the day.
Stovell was the most notable casualty in Bermuda’s attempt at a reshuffle after dispiriting batting performances against Papua New Guinea and Kenya. His place was taken by Sinclair Smith, who batted at No 11 as a specialist wicketkeeper — surely a novelty in Twenty20 international cricket — while Derrick Brangman and Malachi Jones were brought in for Allan Douglas and George O’Brien.
Both Trott and his coach, Herbie Bascome, were quick to explain Stovell’s absence as being purely down to form, reiterating that the 35-year-old remains Bermuda captain.
“For right now, it’s a short-term thing,” Trott said. “Just a little change, something different. Dion’s been struggling a bit with his form, so we’ve tried to do something different today.”
Bascome added: “He’s struggling a bit with his batting and form, so he’s given himself a back seat a little bit. It’s nothing too serious. Dion will probably be playing tomorrow; he’s still our captain.”
Also struggling was Okera Bascome, who made six, four and zero from the first three matches opening the batting, but he kept his place, dropped down the order to No 8 and surrendered the gloves to Smith.
At least in his case, the reshuffle proved inspired, as the 25-year-old right-hander finally found some rhythm, making a classy 37 from 30 balls.
But the entire new-look top five found themselves trotting back to the changing rooms inside the first eight overs, and after Onias Bascome became the latest Bermuda player without a helmet to be bounced out, the score was just 42 for six at the halfway stage.
It has been a constant ploy from opposition bowlers to target the Bascome brothers, Deunte Darrell and Malachi Jones batting without helmets and Kenya captain Shem Ngoche went as far as describing his quick bowlers seeing the absence of head protection as a show of disrespect.
Trott acknowledges that it is something the camp has talked about internally. “For me, I’m wearing a helmet, no matter what,” he said. “Where we come from at home, the wickets are maybe a little slow and low, and the bowling isn’t really that fast, so these guys don’t like wearing helmets. But when you come to this level, I feel like you have to wear one.
“It’s not just about the bowlers being able to bowl you bouncers, that’s also taking away a scoring option with no helmet on.”
Trott was on the pitch at Cup Match in August when Stovell was felled by a short-pitched ball from Justin Pitcher. The Somerset player’s health was a source of concern and the match was stopped on dangerous grounds shortly after, with Stovell virtually ruled out of the regional qualifier for this tournament because of concussion protocol.
“An incident just happened back home that a guy got hit in the head, but these guys still won’t come out wearing helmets,” Trott said. “You can only talk about it. You can’t actually force the helmet on somebody.”
Despite the superb Kamau Leverock recording career-best full Twenty20 international figures for a second game in a row, with three for 19, Namibia made light work of the chase and eased home with 41 balls to spare.
Bermuda take on Scotland, the highest-ranked team in the tournament, next at Dubai International Stadium in a match that will be televised live. Coach Bascome is hoping the chance to impress in front of a global audience will inspire his side to show the world what they are capable of.
“We are getting televised, so it’s a perfect opportunity for some of the guys, especially the young players who are trying to get themselves known, and to get out there and let the world watch them,” he said.
“Yes, our main objective is to be successful, to get a victory, but we’ve got to make sure that our talented players get the opportunity to shine because that’s going to give them confidence in the long run.”
K S Leverock c Smit b Frylinck 0
T S Fray c Viljoen b Smit 16
D M W Rawlins c Green b Viljoen 6
J J Tucker st Green b Scholtz 6
D A P Darrell lbw b Scholtz 2
M O Jones c Smit b Scholtz 5
O G L Bascome c Green b Smit 1
O Bascome b Viljoen 37
*R J Trott c Green b Williams 0
D L Brangman not out 23
†S Smith not out 5
Extras (lb 1, w 4) 5
Total (9 wkts; 20 overs) 106
Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-21, 3-23, 4-32, 5-33, 6-36, 7-48, 8-50, 9-79.
Bowling: Frylinck 4-0-20-1; Viljoen 3-0-27-2; Smit 4-0-18-2; Shikongo 3-0-15-0; Scholtz 4-0-17-3; Williams 2-0-8-1.
S J Baard c Rawlins b Trott 27
N Davin c Darrell b Leverock 37
J P Kotze c Smith b Leverock 0
C G Williams c Fray b Leverock 13
* M G Erasmus not out 19
J J Smit not out 12
Extras (lb 1, w 2) 3
Total (4 wkts; 13.1 overs) 111
†Z E Green, C Viljoen, J N Frylinck, B M Scholtz and B Shikongo did not bat.
Fall of wickets: 1-39, 2-40, 3-65, 4-88.
Bowling: Jones 1-0-11-0; Brangman 1-0-24-0; Leverock 4-0-19-3; Rawlins 4-0-24-0; Trott 2-0-21-1; O G L Bascome 1.1-0-11-0.
Umpires: A Paleker (South Africa) and Ahsan Raza (Pakistan).
Match referee: J J Crowe (New Zealand).
ICC Academy Ground No 2, Dubai (Singapore won toss): Singapore 157-9 (20 overs; S Chandramohan 40, Aritra Dutta 33; L N Oluoch 3 for 22, E Otieno 3 for 29); Kenya 159-3 (18.5 overs; I A Karim 71 not out, A R Gandhi 50). Kenya (2pts) beat Singapore by seven wickets.
Tolerance Oval, Abu Dhabi (Nigeria won toss): Nigeria 71 (19.5 overs; Aamir Kaleem 4 for 14; Bilal Khan 3 for 7); Oman 72-3 (7 overs; Jatinder Singh 48). Oman (2pts) beat Nigeria by seven wickets.
Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi (Canada won toss): Canada 156-5 (20 overs; N S Dhaliwal 69, N R Kumar 53); Ireland 146-7 (20 overs). Canada (2pts) beat Ireland by ten runs.
Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi (Hong Kong won toss): Hong Kong 144-7 (20 overs; Nizakat Khan 48, S S McKechnie 40 not out; B Ward 3 for 19); Jersey 136-6 (20 overs; B D H Stevens 39, C Bisson 30 not out). Hong Kong (2pts) beat Jersey by 12 runs.