Bermuda 'embarrass' Canada in opening game
Bermuda 150 for 4 (Mukkuddem 39) beat Canada 145 (Samad 28, Hurdle 3-24, O'Brien 3-50) by 6 wickets with 10 overs to spare
In what will definitely rank as a big upset, and one which Andy Pick, the Canada coach termed an "embarrassment", Bermuda traipsed to a memorable six-wicket win in the opening one-dayer at Toronto. Having bowled out Canada for 145, Bermuda, thanks to a solid 39 from Saleem Mukkudem, knocked off the target in just 40 overs.
"Since we arrived this morning, everything has been substandard," said Pick in his assessment, "our warm-ups, our practice and our performance." Not for the first time this season, Canada failed to put enough runs on the board, a trend hard to explain considering their good win in the four-day game, against the same opposition, earlier in the week.
Mukkudem, who took Bermuda to victory with a six over long-off, couldn't hide his excitement after the triumph. "It was a huge effort for us to put that defeat [in the four-day game] behind us," he said. "We got off to a fantastic start. It was good to get [out] the guys who had got runs [in the four-day game] out cheaply."
Canada lost John Davison, their captain, and Desmond Chumney early. Both fell to the pace bowling of Kevin Hurdle. Ian Billcliff followed soon and Canada were in a deep hole at 21 for 3. Ashish Bagai began comfortably but he too didn't last long, caught at backward square leg after making just 10 (46 for 4). Abdool Samad and Umar Bhatti added 29 for the sixth wicket before Bhatti was caught and bowled by Dwayne Leverock, diving to his left. Samad was out for what proved to be the top-score (28), driving Leverock into the hands of Irvine Romaine at cover.
The Canadian innings was completed so quickly that Bermuda began their innings before lunch. The Bermudan opening batsmen, Borden and Outerbridge, scored 23 by the interval. Their partnership was broken with the score on 41 but there continued to be little success for the home bowlers. Canada sniffed a faint chance when Bermuda were 86 for 3 but Mukkudem and Janeiro Tucker played sensibly. They added 48 for the fourth wicket and Mukkudem stayed unbeaten till the end.
There continues to be very little effort from the Canadian Cricket Association to promote the sport in this country, particularly these international matches. There was talk of selling off an existing inventory of merchandise at this summer's home games but no evidence has been seen of that initiative to date. It seems hard to believe the World Cup is just seven months away.
The two four-day matches in the Intercontintental Cup have been exciting and went down to the wire in the last hour of available playing time. The home ODIs have been disappointing but with plenty of latent cricket interest in the Toronto area it seems pathetic that a mere 30 people, including scorers and some officials, were dotted around the ground some ten minutes after play began. It cannot be much fun for the batsmen to hear louder roars for dismissals from the fielding side than the applause from home fans.
Canada and Bermuda play again on Monday at the Toronto Cricket, Skating and Curling Club. The ground is on Wilson Avenue, near the intersection with Avenue Road. Play is scheduled to begin at 10 am. This match is an ODI but also forms part of an ICC Americas Regional Tournament that takes place next week. All other matches in that event take place at Maple Leaf CC at King City. USA, Cayman Islands and Argentina are the three other sides in this tournament.