Bermuda suffer innings thrashing by Namibia
Josh Ball, The Royal Gazette
There will not be many defeats that will be more comprehensive, more emphatic and more thoroughly deserved than this one. For two days of the three days that this match lasted, Bermuda were completely outplayed by Namibia, and the only question yesterday morning was when, and not if, the home side would win.
The more optimistic supporter would have hoped to see the game go into a fourth day, and the fact that the tourists capitulated inside two sessions yesterday should be cause for concern, especially, as with the first innings, wickets were thrown away needlessly. In the end Bermuda held out for just 47.1 overs, and while the run rate never fell below just under four an over, scoring quickly was never the point. It was all about survival. Only skipper David Hemp, who topped scored with 65 and was out to a stunning catch from Gerrie Snyman in the covers, provided any real long-term resistance.
Neither were the tourists helped in their task by a bowling attack that again failed to fire. And when the need was to stem runs first thing, they went the other way and conceded them at an alarming rate.
Namibia who began the day on 491 for six, amassed 92 runs in a blistering 40-minute spell early on, and then set about finishing Bermuda off with the confidence of a side that knows victory is all but assured.
Technically the tourists could still have saved the game, but it would have meant batting for the better part of two days. And that would have been an incredible feat for a team that is still not ready, mentally or technically, to undertake such a task. Certainly there has been no evidence in the recent past, nor in the past week, that has suggested that they could achieve that.
That's not to say that they won't be ready at some point in the future, for this is still a young team, but that can be a defence for only so long. And the mistakes that were made throughout the course of the game were basic ones, which a side lower down the cricketing ladder than Bermuda ought not to make.
The home side displayed all the skills that Bermuda did not, and need to learn quickly if they are to succeed at this level. From running between the wickets, to pressing in the field, to consistent, accurate bowling, all these skills need to be honed.
Dropping catches doesn't help either.
However, the struggles the tourists endured should be placed in context. This, after all, was their first serious game of the season, and so a certain level of rustiness is entirely understandable. In contrast, Namibia are coming off the back of a hectic domestic season that has seen them take on the best of the South African provinces, as well as several professional sides in Zimbabwe's Twenty/20 competition.
Bermuda also had the misfortune to come across a fast bowler, in the form of Louie Klazinga, who is at the top of his game. Klazinga, who is ranked in the top three in both Associate and South African cricket, had taken 48 wickets before this game began, and ripped Bermuda apart yesterday, taking four for 45 from 15 overs.
Still, even the most pessimistic of the Island's supporters would have hoped for a little bit more fight than the team displayed.
Namibia seized the initiative from the off, and although LP van der Westhuizen fell to Malachi Jones in his first over of the day, it was to an attacking stroke. Craig Williams and Toby Verwey summed up their side's approach, clubbing Jones, Rodney Trott and Stefan Kelly to all parts of the ground. Williams, who began the day on 70, quickly reached his hundred, off just 74 balls, and when Verwey (35) was the second wicket to fall of the morning, Namibia had added nearly a hundred runs to their score in just 9.5 overs.
Bermuda needed two things if they were ever going to stand a chance of saving this game, luck and fight. All out of luck, the fight only appeared in fits and starts, and that was never likely to be enough.
Chris Foggo's dismissal set the tone for the day when he was given out to highly dubious lbw decision off the bowling of Williams. Opening partner Fiqre Crockwell followed two balls later when he failed to pull his bat away in time from a rising Klazinga delivery and feathered a catch to wicketkeeper Ewald Steenkamp. Stephen Outerbridge (21) then joined David Hemp at the crease, and Bermuda's best batsmen set about the task of rescuing the day from the precarious position of 25 for two. They added 54 runs for the third wicket before Outerbridge gloved a catch to Raymond van Schoor at mid-on.
At 79 for three the game could still have been rescued, but then Klazinga dismissed Irving Romaine and Malachi Jones with consecutive yorkers, and the tourists were reeling on 80 for five. The dismissal of Jekon Edness rather summed up Bermuda's game as a whole. Hemp pushed the ball for an easy single to long-on, but rather than running, Edness sauntered down the wicket, and was run out by a bullet of a throw from Snyman.
Intermittent rain showers merely delayed the inevitable, and although Rodney Trott (24 not out) and Hemp put on 65 for the seventh wicket, Hemp's dismissal signalled the beginning of the end. The lower order followed in quick succession, and when Justin Pitcher was out to a smart caught and bowled by Toby Verwey, the inevitable defeat, that had been coming for much of the day, was complete.