Dubai International Stadium (Bermuda won toss): Scotland (2pts) beat Bermuda by 46 runs
Bermuda coach Herbie Bascome hopes his side’s experiences at the ICC T20 World Cup Qualifier will benefit cricket in the country in the long run, despite a chastening week in the UAE.
The islanders exited the tournament with a fifth successive defeat in Dubai on Thursday, as they were beaten by a highly impressive Scotland side who are among the favourites to earn a spot in Australia next year.
It marks a disappointing return for Bermuda playing in a qualifier for a global ICC tournament for the first time in six years and in pursuit of a maiden T20 World Cup appearance. It also denies them a first World Cup appearance since making their debut at the 50-over event in 2007.
But Bascome has challenged himself, his staff, players and the Bermuda Cricket Board to use this tour as a learning exercise for the betterment of Bermuda cricket.
“[Other teams] have a bunch of players that look like cricket is a way out for them and I really appreciate watching them and I’m pretty sure they’re making themselves proud playing for their country.
“I just wish we could put in place the cricketing infrastructure that’s going to allow our players to do the same,” Bascome said.
“As a coach and staff, we have to take what we’ve been seeing and what we’ve experienced back to our country and sit down, get back to the drawing board and see if we can get it right.”
Bermuda struggled with the bat in the UAE, saw captain Dion Stovell relinquish the captaincy after three matches and were rocked by Deunte Darrell’s one-match ban for “conduct that brings the game into disrepute”.
It taints a tournament that promised so much when they landed in the Middle East, having defied the odds to qualify in superb fashion from the Americas qualifiers in August.
A lack of cricket of note for the majority of the squad since then meant they arrived with some ring rust, brought to the fore in their struggles with the bat that has largely cost them here.
However, Bascome is certain that this setback should be used to spur all involved with the sport in Bermuda on to greater things.
“If we put a structure and a programme together in our country that’s going to allow these guys to play together at a higher level and give us the benefits of playing more cricket then, with our talent, we should get much better,” he said.
Facing Scotland in need of the first of two wins absolutely necessary to salvage their remote hopes of qualification, Bermuda recalled Stovell, but Rodney Trott continued to lead the side having overseen Wednesday’s defeat by Namibia.
That was one of four changes made — George O’Brien and Allan Douglas recalled, and Oronde Bascome featuring for the first time.
Leading run-scorer Janeiro Tucker, Malachi Jones, Derrick Brangman and the suspended Darrell missed out as Bermuda played their first televised match of the tournament at Dubai International Stadium’s cavernous Ring of Fire.
It provided a global audience for their attempt to recover from four successive losses and Scotland had issues of their own, losing two from four going into this game and off spinner Tom Sole being suspended from bowling because of an “illegal action” just hours before the start.
Bermuda’s bowlers clearly enjoyed the limelight, as shown in Kamau Leverock’s joyous celebration after taking the first wicket, but the remaining overs were pretty joyless.
Scotland went on to smash 204 for four, the highest score of the qualifier, with George Munsey making 51 and Calum MacLeod, who was dropped twice, scoring 74 from only 37 balls, as the Scots posted an imposing total.
Bermuda had everything to gain in victory as Stovell opened the batting alongside Oronde Bascome, the fourth different opening batting partnership Bermuda have used.
They have changed their playing squad at every outing, unable to find consistency in either selection or performance.
But Bermuda provided their best powerplay with the bat, moving to 56 for two after six overs as they responded to the daunting chase in fine fashion.
Delray Rawlins then showed why he is every bit a first-class cricketer with a stunning display of hitting, saving his best performance of the tournament for when the chips were down and the cameras trained on him. And it will come as no surprise to his county team-mates back in England.
“I always get some stick back at Sussex that I like playing in front of the cameras, but I’ve been hitting the ball well all tournament,” Rawlins said.
“It’s just fine margins, little things that haven’t managed to come out on my side or silly little errors on my part.”
The 22-year-old ended with 46 from 21 balls, an innings including four fours and three sixes and although admitting it has “been a tough tournament”, Rawlins believes he and his team-mates can take heart from their performance against one of the top sides in Associate cricket.
“We’re pretty confident coming out of that performance,” he added. “There’s is a different brand of cricket probably at a different level than us as a group, but we’re always learning and I think we’re getting better and better.”
It provided a spiriting display of real quality, as did Leverock’s unbeaten 43, for a team yet to showcase enough of it, but the task eventually proved too great as Bermuda’s tournament came to an end with one game remaining.
H G Munsey c Onias Bascome b Trott 51
*K J Coetzer c O Bascome b Leverock 12
O J Hairs c O Bascome b Stovell 23
C S MacLeod c O’Brien b Leverock 74
R D Berrington not out 34
Extras (b 4, lb 2, nb 1, w 3) 10
Total (4 wkts; 20 overs) 204
†M H Cross, T B Sole, S M Sharif, M R J Watt, A C Evans, Hamza Tahir did not bat.
Fall of wickets: 1-19, 2-55, 3-131, 4-204
Bowling: O’Brien 4-0-31-0; Leverock 4-0-39-2; Stovell 4-0-40-1; Rawlins 4-0-45-0; Trott 3-0-26-1; Onias Bascome 1-0-17-0.
D C Stovell b Sharif 12
Oronde Bascome lbw b Hamza Tahir 16
T S Fray c & b Sharif 6
D M W Rawlins c Sharif b Watt 46
A C Douglas b Watt 5
Onias Bascome c Munsey b Evans 7
K S Leverock not out 43
Okera Bascome lbw b Hamza Tahir 1
*R J Trott lbw b Berrington 1
†S Smith not out 7
Extras (b 1, lb 1, w 12) 14
Total (8 wkts; 20 overs) 158
G H O’Brien did not bat
Fall of wickets: 1-17, 2-29, 3-57, 4-93), 5-100), 6-103, 7-104, 8-113.
Bowling: Watt 4-0-18-2; Sharif 4-0-33-2; Evans 4-0-35-1; Berrington 4-0-45-1; Hamza Tahir 4-1-25-2.
Umpires: Chris Brown (New Zealand), Allahudien Paleker (South Africa).
Match referee: G S Lakshmi (India).