Bermuda v Bahamas International Series Wrap

The Bermuda national men’s team played host to their counterparts from Bahamas this weekend for a five-game friendly series, with one fifty-over clash and four T20 games played over four days on the beautiful mid-Atlantic island .

For the Bermuda Cricket Board, the series was arranged as a test event, both off and on the field, to help it prepare for hosting the ICC Twenty20 World Cup Americas Regional qualifier tournament next month, where it will play alongside the USA, Canada and the Cayman Islands.

Accordingly, the first three games were held at White Hill Field in Sandys Parish in the western end of Bermuda, which is to be used as the second venue for the WT20 qualifiers, with the last two held at the National Sports Centre in Devonshire just outside the capital Hamilton.

On the pitch, coach Herbie Bascombe assembled a large squad of both senior and junior players for the series, with the aim of giving as many players as possible a taste of international cricket ahead of selecting a smaller squad for the WT20 qualifiers.

For the Bahamas, the games presented a rare opportunity to play international cricket as they look to build the sport’s profile back home and move up the ICC rankings.

Day 1 – Fifty-Over International

The first game was held on Thursday 25th July at White Hill. Batting first, the hosts amassed 269/7 from their 50 overs, led by an imperious century from big opener Treadwell Gibbons, whose enjoyment at reaching three figures was cut short as he retired hurt immediately afterwards, hobbling off to a fine ovation from teammates, opponents and spectators alike.

White Hill Field during the 50-over clash. Photograph by Neil Joynson
The scoreboard at White Hill marks the century and retirement of Bermuda’s Treadwell Gibbons. Photograph by Neil Joynson

He was assisted by Pierre Smith who notched a fifty in an opening partnership of 137 with Gibbons, and a 22-ball 37 from 18-year old Dalin Richardson, Bermuda’s Under 19 captain, fresh from scoring a half century for the U-19s against Argentina in Canada a couple of weeks ago. For the Bahamas, captain Gregory Taylor notched three Bermudian wickets, as did Randolph Fox.

In their reply the Bahamas were blasted out for 107 in just 25.4 overs, with Ryan Tappin top scoring on 24. With the ball, Bermuda were led by quick bowlers Mackih McGowan (4-29) and Kwasi James (3-19).

Scorecard here

Day 2 – Twenty20 games #1 and #2

The next day, White Hill saw attention switch to the shorter format of the game, with two T20s, although despite both Bermuda and Bahamas being accredited by the ICC, and the ICC’s decision to grant all 20-over games between member associations full T20I status, these games were not granted that full status.

However, that did little to dampen their importance to both sides. This is the format Bermuda will be focusing on most ahead of the all-important ICC qualifier next month, and it is the format that will allow Bahamas to gain official status for the first time at some stage in their future.

In the morning game, Bahamas batted first and struggled to 73 all out from 14.5 overs, with Tappin again top scoring on 25. Captain Greg Taylor indicated after the game that his side had very little experience playing on a turf wicket, and struggled with the slow pace of the track. Bermuda selected in their XI their star all-rounder Kamau Leverock, back home for a stint from his place with Nottinghamshire second XI in England. He claimed 4 wickets for 22 runs with the ball, but even this was outshone by teammate Dion Stovall who returned the astonishing figures of 4-2 off 2 overs!

Bermuda quickly knocked off their target of 74 in just 6.2 overs, but not before Greg Irving got the big wicket of Leverock for a second ball duck!

The Bahamas fared much better in the afternoon game, bringing up 136/8 off their 20 overs batting first, led by a fine 60 from Marc Taylor, younger brother of Greg. Charles Trott highlighted the bowling figures for the hosts, with 3-16. In the second innings, Bermuda overcame the target in 14.2 overs, with half centuries for Terryn Fray (56) and Oronde Bascome (52*).

The Taylor brothers, Marc and Greg, bat for Bahamas in the 2nd T20. Photograph by Neil Joynson.

Scorecard Game #1 here

Scorecards Game #2 here

Day 3 – Twenty20 games #3 and #4

Saturday 27th July was a rest fay for the visitors, with most of the Bermuda team playing in trial matches for Somerset and St Georges ahead of the domestic classic Cup Match next week, so it was not until Sunday that the teams met again in two more T20s. These games were played at the impressive North field at the National Sports Centre.

The crowd watches on at the National Sports Centre. Photograph by Neil Joynson

There was heavy rain ahead of the morning game which didn’t help the track, and Bahamas again struggled to 72/9 which Bermuda easily chased down scoring 73/2.

In the final T20 of the series on Sunday afternoon, Bahamas again batted first and showing some signs of fatigue from an arduous few days, limped along to 62/9 from 19 overs, hampered by an injury to key batsman Tappin who was forced to retire on 10. Dennis Brangman topped the bowling figures for the hosts with 3-12, and opening bat Gibbons chipped in with 2 wickets as well.

Bermuda chased their final target easily, with opener Allan Douglas hitting a fine 31 from 20 balls before falling c&b to Randolph Fox. Fittingly, it was left to first day centurion Gibbons to hit the winning runs sealing a 5-0 series win for the Gombey Warriors.

Scorecard Game #3 – tbc

Scorecard Game #4 here

Bermuda’s Treadwell Gibbons hits the winning runs in the final T20. Photograph by Neil Joynson
The two teams share a handshake at the end of the tour. Photograph by Neil Joynson

Random musings from the World Cup Group Stage

Now that the dust has settled on the Group Stage of the 2019 World Cup, I thought it would be fun to dust off the blog  and share some of my thoughts on the tournament from a fans perspective following from overseas. Not stats-related, not a review as such, just a few of my random musings about the six weeks that have passed! Here goes

Format and Schedule – okay but for the wrong reasons!

When the format and schedule was announced I assumed that around three weeks into the mega-group stage, the first signs of boredom would have crept in and I would be losing interest. After four weeks, I suspected I may have all but given up. The group had the potential to be tedious, endless and full of dead rubbers.

However, this never transpired, albeit largely thanks to Sri Lanka’s shock win over England. As evidence for my continued engagement, I live in Bermuda and most of the games started in my time zone at 6.30am. I am absolutely not a morning person but throughout I have been dutifully getting up at that ungodly hour to start watching the day’s game – a very very rare occurrence that I am seen alive before 8am believe me! ! have been thoroughly entertained, and frankly I am as surprised by this as you are.

However, my enjoyment of the tournament has been despite, not because, of the format. Let me be 100% clear, this format sucks. It is exclusionary to the point of Machiavellian and was clearly designed by the ICC to maximise profit and to ensure as best they could (without actually match-fixing!) that the Big 3got through to the semis. We couldn’t have India exposed to the risks of a shock defeat in a small group meaning they didn’t qualify for the semis now could we (ahem, 2007!), and by making all teams play nine times, the risk of this is minimised, in fact all but eliminated.

Not to mention the shutting out of any Associates. This has been decried, discussed and despised by so many people that it is hardly worthwhile me repeating it here, but a World Cup in any sport should be inclusive and seek to grow the popularity of the sport beyond its usual reach. Cricket does itself a huge disservice by being so closed-minded and driven by profit.

Because of this, half of me really wanted this format to fail to deliver an exciting World Cup, as that might…just might…have led the ICC to reconsider for 2023, but sadly I can’t see that happening now.

You hardly needed to be Nostradamus

As if to prove the above point, half the cricketing world correctly predicted the top four six weeks ago. Three of the four were an almost certainty to make the semis, with the fourth being strong favourites to join them. Two or three others were given dark horse status pre-tournament, but no-one really believed that! So, in many ways, the last few weeks have been a massive waste of everyone’s time!

The wonderful Shakib Al Hasan

The rest of the world now knows what many of us having been saying for a long time – that Shakib Al Hasan is a superstar and the best all-rounder in world cricket (save possibly for Ellyse Perry!).

We are not worthy!

There have been many other stand-out performances in this World Cup – Rohit, Bumrah, Warner, Starc, Archer, Root, Williamson, Ferguson, Shaheen to name a few – but no-one has come close to the all round impact on his team than Bangladesh’s talisman has, and he must be a strong favourite for the Player of the Tournament award despite not making the semis.

Net Run Rate is suddenly bad eh Mickey?

Some of those – I’m looking at you Mickey Arthur – whingeing about the unfairness of Net Run Rate (NRR) as a tie-breaker were strangely quiet on the subject before the tournament began weren’t they? It’s almost as if their criticism is based solely on the effect to specifically had on their team at the end. I don’t know, but maybe one way of ensuring NRR doesn’t come back to bite you is not getting blasted out for 103 in your first game putting you on the back foot from the start?

Better late than never I guess!

For the next World Cup, someone at Cricket South Africa headquarters should set an Outlook alarm or something, so that their team turns up on time, not five weeks late. Had they started the tournament as they finished it, who knows what might have happened?

Retirements

World cricket will greatly miss a few players for which this tournament is their swansong, in ODIs at least. Despite everything that comes with his talent, I will miss Universe Boss Chris Gayle and seeing him bowling with sunglasses and cap on was an absolute highlight. Imran Tahir’s sheer love of taking wickets and his sprinting ability has been a joy to watch, and Shoaib Malik has been a fine servant to Pakistan for many years. A few more retirements of modern-day legends may well be announced in due course (Amla, Malinga?) and they will equally be missed.

Salute!

Sheldon Cottrell and his salute have been a breath of fresh air. His engagement with the fans, especially children as evidenced by the videos circulating of him taking the time out to perform his signature celebration with youngsters, have been wonderful to see. This is exactly the kind of thing cricket needs to engage a future audience. We should be the ones saluting you Sheldon!

We salute you Sheldon!

Cricket bat guitar guy deserves harsh treatment

Whoever came up with the concept of that bloody awful Gray Nicholls cricket-bat guitar screeching at every break deserves to be loaded into a very large cannon and fired directly into the centre of the Sun. This may seem a little harsh, but it isn’t – if anything it is too good for them!

Commendable Commentators

That loveable teddy bear-like Kiwi, Ian Smith, is still comfortably my favourite commentator -I especially enjoyed him giving Michael “Slats” Slater a hard time when they were on together. Although I must be mellowing in my old age, as I have actually warmed to Slats in this tournament. He used to make my ears bleed in his Channel Nine days when I lived in Oz, but maybe all he needed was to be separated from the rest of that nauseating old boys club?

Smithy!

Of the commentators I don’t get to hear very often, I also quite liked Pommie Mbangwe and Shaun Pollock, and Kumar Sangakkarra is as good at commentating as he is at everything else – i.e. very very good.

On the flip side, it would be good if Sourav Ganguly could at least try to pronounce players names correctly, and as for Michael Clarke, whatever he might be saying is lost as my head struggles to cope with him saying “nooooooice” all the time like something out of Kath and Kim! Please, for the love of God, make it stop!

Noooooiiiice Clarkey!

This Could Be The Best Year Of Your Life!

Watching the tournament online through Hotstar, I have gained over the last six weeks an intimate knowledge of at least five methods in which to remit funds to India should I ever need to, although of the five I definitely won’t be choosing that “bad compromise” guy – he makes my skin crawl! Also, Virat Kohli is a much better commercials actor than Joe Root ever will be – wooden is an understatement Joe!

Oh and I did buy the annual pack, so this is indeed going to be the best year of my life!

Onwards to an ideal final?

So onwards to the semi-finals and finals. I don’t have any predictions for you, but being an Englishman married to a Kiwi, I am firmly hoping for an England v New Zealand final. My two favourite teams and will ensure that the World Cup has a new winner. Surely no-one wants to see Australia win for a sixth time – that would just be boring 😊

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