Al Amerat Cricket Ground, Ministry Turf 1 (Italy won toss): Italy (2pts) beat Bermuda by five wickets
Bermuda fell to a tenth successive defeat in completed matches across all competitions yesterday to bring to a close a disastrous first stage of Cricket World Cup Challenge League B in Muscat, Oman.
With Delray Rawlins leading the team in the absence of Terryn Fray, and Dion Stovell returning from injury for the first time since the opener against Hong Kong last week, the Bermuda XI finally had the right balance to break a winless run that goes back to the final match of the ICC T20 World Cup Americas Qualifier on local soil.
However, the bowling unit did not have enough runs on the board to play with and, try as he might in ringing the changes, Rawlins’s debut as captain of the senior team ended in defeat.
The rot has so well and truly set in for coach Herbie Bascome’s squad that a typically explosive display by Kamau Leverock was reduced to a footnote by the time Italy sauntered past an unchallenging total of 180 with a whopping 18 overs to spare.
Leverock, who finished this stage of Challenge League B with a team-high 205 runs at 41.00 and a strike rate of 168 runs for every 100 balls faced, could do no more to inspire a change of fortune for Bermuda.
His stroke-filled knock of 40, which included elements of fortune, dominated an opening stand of 46 with the beleaguered Okera Bascome that lasted only 16 balls — the left-hander facing 15 of them and hitting nine fours before he was undone by a slower ball from Luis di Giglio.
Bascome did not encounter successive balls until the fourth over — and he was bowled by the second of them for a duck that left him with 12 runs in four innings and 19 in his past six, dating back to the T20 World Cup Qualifier in Dubai.
Despite Bascome’s demise, Bermuda still had a platform from which to build, but Italy kept taking wickets — the most significant being that of Rawlins, caught for 22 off 20 balls with the score 86 in only the ninth over.
Tre Manders and Stovell (seven) attempted to restore some sanity to the innings, but the end of their union, which lasted eight overs and yielded 23 runs, triggered a collapse where three wickets fell for eight runs.
Manders made 23 from 40 balls and it took useful contributions in the lower order by Derrick Brangman (25) and Zeko Burgess (13 not out) just to get the total to something that might be competitive.
Italy captain Joy Perera said in his pre-match interview that he was keen to win the toss and bowl first to put Bermuda under pressure. With his first objective accomplished, save for Italy’s struggles to contain Leverock, the 32-year-old led from the front as he and Nikolai Smith put on 56 in ten overs.
Smith, who has been unable to build on his opening 102 not out in the upset defeat of Kenya, was caught behind off Justin Pitcher for 18 on the first ball of the eleventh over.
Perera fell for 42 three overs later, trapped in front by Rawlins, but the foundation had now been set. A stand of 58 between Gian Meade (49) and Gareth Berg (30) left Italy in such control that not even a double-wicket burst from Burgess would halt momentum.
Burgess, as good in his second spell as he had been poor in his first — which cost ten runs in a single over — finished with three for 29 from five.
Were it not for Hong Kong beating Kenya by three wickets in the other match played, Bermuda would be cut adrift at the foot of the table with only the solitary point from an abandoned match.
Challenge League B resumes next year in Kampala, Uganda, between July 29 and August 8, its timing falling in direct conflict with Cup Match on July 30 and 31.
Club versus country. Decisions, decisions.
But long before that, there is the matter of this group returning for a much anticipated post mortem of a tour whose few highlights in the form of Manders and Leverock have been countered significantly by the more sensational lowlights — the Rodney Trott passport debacle before a ball had been bowled or struck in anger, the wholly avoidable suspension of Deunte Darrell, given his previous missteps and bad form, and Onias Bascome’s unappetising use of the Mankad.
What they may find upon landing, though, is a Bermuda Cricket Board in crisis — if there is to be anything gleaned from an annual meeting last night that spent less time at the wicket than the worst of the island’s underperforming batsmen.
K S Leverock b Di Giglio 40
O Bascome b Berg 0
T Manders c and b Fernando 23
* D M W Rawlins c Ross b Smith 22
D C Stovell c †Manpreet Singh b Rakibul Hasan 7
O G L Bascome lbw b Fernando 5
†S Smith c Meade b Berg 7
D L Brangman c and b Fernando 25
J E Pitcher b Meade 7
Z Burgess not out 13
K C Hodsoll lbw b Meade 7
Extras (b 1, lb 2, nb 1, w 20) 24
Total (40.3 overs) 180
Fall of wickets: 1-46, 2-46, 3-84, 4-107, 5-107, 6-115, 7-149, 8-149, 9-166.
Bowling: Di Giglio 4-0-50-1; Berg 10-2-44-2; Smith 3-0-11-1; Jaspreet 2-0-11-0; Fernando 10-2-21-3; Hasan 8-3-18-1; Ross 1-0-12-0; Meade 2.3-0-10-2.
*B B J L Perera lbw b Rawlins 42
G P Meade c Manders b Burgess 49
G K Berg c Smith b Burgess 30
M J Ross c Rawlins b Burgess 0
Rakibul Hasan not out 22
N A Maiolo not out 4
Extras (lb 5, w 11) 16
Total (5 wkts; 32 overs) 181
†Manpreet Singh, M G S M Fernando, L di Giglio and Jaspreet Singh did not bat.
Fall of wickets: 1-56, 2-73, 3-131, 4-131, 5-173.
Bowling: Hodsoll 4-1-25-0; Stovell 7-0-27-0; Pitcher 3-0-17-1; Burgess 5-0-29-3; Rawlins 6-0-27-1; Brangman 3-0-17-0; Leverock 2-0-10-0; O G L Bascome 2-0-24-0.
Umpires: V Kumar (Nepal) and T H Dar (Hong Kong).
Third umpire: A K Rajamani (Oman).
Match referee: M Nayyar (India).
Al Amerat Cricket Ground, Ministry Turf 2 (Hong Kong won toss): Kenya 213 (47 overs; C O Obuya 63, S R Bhudia 52; Nasrulla Rana 5 for 46); Hong Kong 217-7 (41.5 overs; Aizaz Khan 53, K D Shah 52). Hong Kong (2pts) beat Kenya by three wickets.