Photo credit: Peter Della Penna
Bermuda captain Terryn Fray celebrates after running out Monank Patel on a day when Fray led his side to a stunning upset of USA.
By Peter Della Penna in Bermuda
Sussex star allrounder Delray Rawlins made a spectacular return to his native Bermuda, top-scoring with 63 before taking 1 for 26 – including the prized scalp of Timroy Allen at the death – and two catches in a stunning all-round performance to help Bermuda upset USA by six runs at White Hill Field on Sunday in the opening day of the 2019 ICC T20 World Cup Qualifier Americas Final in Bermuda. It’s Bermuda’s first win over USA in ICC tournament play since the last day of round-robin play at 2013 ICC WCL Division Three in Bermuda, snapping a six-match losing streak.
Bermuda captain Terryn Fray won the toss and elected to bat first on a sometimes two-paced wicket. USA were dealt a blow before the start of the match as pace bowling spearhead Ali Khan suffered a sprained ankle at the team’s final training session on the eve of the match and was ruled out.
Okera Bascome got the hosts going by swatting USA captain Saurabh Netravalkar for three boundaries over the off side in the opening over. But just as quickly, USA took momentum back when Jessy Singh followed it with a double-wicket maiden at the opposite end in the second over. Singh claimed the key scalp of dangerous allrounder Kamau Leverock for a second-ball duck with a good length delivery that kept low before Fray chased a wide ball and edged to Steven Taylor at slip, who took a spectacular diving catch moving right.
It brought Rawlins to the crease, who hadn’t played for Bermuda since WCL Division Four in Los Angeles in November 2016. After seeing off the hat-trick ball, he went about reconstructing the innings, striking two boundaries off Singh in the fourth.
One of three T20I debutants on the day, Queensland fast bowler Cameron Gannon made the next breakthrough, inducing a miscued flick off Okera for 21 as Timroy Allen dove forward at midwicket in the ring for a sharp catch to make it 41 for 3 in the 7th. Allan Douglas fell in identical fashion off the bowling of Allen in the 11th as Netravalkar lunged forward for another low take to make it 69 for 3.
With the match evenly balanced, USA did well to restrict the pair of Onias Bascome and Rawlins over the next four overs and the score was 90 for 4 after 14. But in a pivotal 15th over, Singh conceded 21 runs, including 17 off the bat of Rawlins as the medium pacer overstepped three times as part of four no balls on the day in his spell. Having brought up his 50 with a single earlier in the over, the final free hit was hit for six over long-on by Rawlins to end the devastating frame.
Another sweep over square leg off Hayden Walsh Jr. produced the last of Rawlins’ three sixes before Gannon came back in the 17th to dismiss him attempting a reverse over short third man where Singh took a simple catch. Onias fell slogging to Walsh Jr. in the next over for 20 as Bermuda managed just 17 off the final four overs – Gannon bowled a superb 17th and 19th that conceded just nine singles and included a runout off his own bowling – following the dismissal of Rawlins to end on 141 for 7. Gannon finished with USA’s best figures on the day, taking 2 for 21 in his four.
Just as Singh had done in the first innings, Bermuda produced a double-wicket maiden of their own in the Powerplay as nippy medium pacer George O’Brien rattled USA in the fifth over of the chase. Having reached 25 for 0 off the first four overs, O’Brien induced a miscued flick to square leg by Xavier Marshall for 4 before Taylor was bowled for a golden duck with a ball that kept low in identical fashion to Leverock’s first innings dismissal.
From there, USA’s lineup struggled to rebuild any sort of momentum and suffered another setback in the eighth over when Monank Patel ran himself out for 3 after hesitating for a dicey single to midwicket where Fray’s direct hit from 12 yards sent him back to the tent to make it 39 for 3. Jaskaran Malhotra made 38 off 39 balls after opening the innings with Marshall but struggled to time the ball, racking up 13 dot balls in the Powerplay alone, before edging a slower ball bouncer off Leverock through to Okera behind the stumps in the 12th.
By the end of the 14th over, USA had struggled to 81 for 4 as the required run rate climbed above 10. By comparison to others in the lineup, Aaron Jones played an efficient knock in his 29-ball 39, including a pair of sixes over long-on, but he fell to a brilliant leaping catch by Rawlins at deep midwicket off the final ball of the 16th from Malachi Jones to keep Bermuda in front as USA needed 42 off the last 24 balls.
Walsh Jr. and Allen put on a brisk 24 off just 11 balls, including 16 off the first five balls of Justin Pitcher’s over in the 18th, as both batsmen struck the medium pacer for six during the sequence. It left USA needing just 18 off the last 13 balls to win. But Walsh Jr. flicked the final ball of the 18th high to deep square leg where Rawlins took another superb catch diving to his right on the run. Rawlins then took the ball to start the 19th and capped his brilliant day by claiming Allen, who drove flat to Deunte Darrell at long-on off the first ball of the over. Suddenly, USA’s two best finishers were gone with 18 needed off 11 at 124 for 7.
It was left to Nisarg Patel and Gannon to get the final runs but Rawlins was magnificent in conceding just four runs off the last five balls of the 19th, meaning USA needed 14 off the final over with Nisarg on strike. Leverock took the ball coming around the stumps and began with two wides slanted too far across the right-handed Nisarg.
But the Nottinghamshire allrounder regained his composure, conceding three off the next three balls. With nine needed off three, Leverock sent down a full toss on Gannon’s thigh but the Queenslander missed out, managing a leg bye. With eight off two, Nisarg swung through another delivery slanted away from off stump to mathematically seal victory before a single was driven to long-off on the final ball, sparking emotional celebrations in front of the 500 fans who came to support Bermuda at White Hill Field. O’Brien ended with the best figures on the day for Bermuda with 2 for 14 in his unbroken four-over new ball spell.
In the second match of the day, Ravinderpal Singh became the first Canadian batsman to strike a T20I century, doing it in 47 balls, as Canada defeated Cayman Islands by 84 runs. Ravinderpal achieved the landmark by striking his 10th six of the day over square leg before falling on the very next ball, bowled by Conroy Wright. Cayman were led in the field by Paul Manning, who claimed 2 for 3 in his only over while Wright ended with 2 for 34 as Canada made 196 for 6 batting first.
After Romesh Eranga’s three-wicket burst had helped reduce Cayman to 13 for 5 in the Powerplay, former Zimbabwe batsman Greg Strydom helped his side save face with a classy 49 off 34 balls before he was caught at point off Nikhil Dutta in the 14th. Cayman eventually ended on 112 for 7. Eranga claimed 3 for 20 in his four overs.
USA takes on Cayman Islands in the late match of the second day of play at 3:30 p.m. at the National Sports Center in Hamilton as both teams look for their first win. Bermuda takes on Canada in a battle of undefeated sides to start the day at 11 a.m.