Bermuda go down fighting
Josh Ball, The Royal Gazette
In amongst all the wind, rain and biting cold there was quite a good game of cricket played in Toronto yesterday.
And while the record books will show that West Indies HP beat Bermuda by 19 runs, it does not tell the whole story.
David Moore's side played well enough in several areas of the game to more than support the Australian's assertion that his team could come to Canada and win.
In truth, they should have won yesterday, and will look to some na´ve decision making when batting, and crucial mistakes in the run chase that cost them dear. None moreso than the fact that they took just six runs from their three power play overs when they were well in control of the game.
At 115 for three, chasing 172 to win, Bermuda needed 57 runs from 42 deliveries, a more than getable total. Eighteen deliveries later, the length of the power play in the rain-affected match, they had managed to score six runs, lost two wickets, and still needed 51 runs from 24 balls.
On such things are matches won and lost, and despite captain David Hemp's impressive 78, which came from 62 balls and included seven sixes, the next highest scorer was opener Jason Anderson with 11. There were also the 10 no balls that the West Indies sent down, one of which accounted for David Hemp, who was run out by Keiran Powell when he backed up too far.
By that stage, however, with only nine deliveries remaining, the game was already lost although Joshua Gilbert did give Bermuda something to cheer about when he hit Brandon Bess for two consecutive fours in the final over.
"We needed to play well, and I think unfortunately we were in the game right up till the end, and poor batting, or bad options in the power plays didn't help us," said Moore. "It wasn't only the power plays, but really throughout our innings the bad options didn't help us.
"I'm always optimistic, but we haven't really played to our potential (yet), but I'm always optimistic when I see good things because you know that the team can do it.
"I thought we bowled fairly soundly. It was great to see Jones and Tucker bowl well at the death. I thought the two spinners, Borden and Gilbert, bowled really well. It was great to see Borden back, bowling well at international level.
"I thought we were going along quite nicely but you look at missed opportunities for singles that cost us. The game plan was to rotate the strike but we started trying to knock the ball out of the park and it got away from us."
How different the game might have been if the sides had been able to play the full 50 overs we will never know but some wet weather at the start of the week, and interesting choices by the ground staff yesterday morning, meant that the pitch wasn't ready until 2.00 p.m.
So 50 overs became 30 and with West Indies' openers Powell (46) and Rajendra Chandrika (32) getting their side off to a flyer, at one stage they looked like they might easily pass 200.
Powell is a highly talented batsmen who is already being tipped to make the full West Indies side in the next two years while Chandrika has the wristy look of a Brian Lara or Shivnarine Chanderpaul.
Both made batting, on a slow, docile pitch, look effortless and the way the ball began disappearing over the boundary rope, the West Indies had reached 79 before anyone had a chance to catch their breath.
In the end it was Gilbert who made the breakthrough, tempting Chandrika forward and having him well stumped by Anderson.
The young Somerset spinner accounted for Powell soon after and it was soon after that, that the rot set in for the West Indies. From 88 for two, Devon Thomas (29) and Nkrumah Bonner (29) put on 44 for the third wicket and then from 132 for three they collapsed to 172 all out.
Malachi Jones did most of the damage for Bermuda, returning from a wicketless opening spell to claim four wickets in his final two overs. Kevin Tucker also grabbed two wickets as Bermuda bowled West Indies out with three balls remaining in the innings.
Bermuda's reply started slowly with Terryn Fray (six) and Anderson getting their side to 26 before Fray got a snorter of a bouncer from Shannon Gabriel and was caught at first slip.
At that stage the required run rate was starting to near 10 an over and Bermuda were struggling to score against the pace of Gabriel and Bess and the impressive spin of Veerasammy Permaul, who conceded just 15 runs from his six overs.
Moore's side might not even had got as close as they did if not for a generous over from West Indies skipper Shamarh Brooks, who conceded 23 runs in six balls, most of which came in sixes for Hemp.
With ten overs still to go it was anyone's game, but Bermuda lost their way towards the end and will rue a missed opportunity to get a win that would have done their confidence the world of good.