Nel impresses in Bermuda rout
Scotland 100 for 2 (Smith 46*, Poonia 38*) beat Bermuda 99 for 7 (Outerbridge 37*, Nel 3-12) by eight wickets
Scotland kept their chances of reaching the World Twenty20 in England alive with a comfortable eight-wicket victory over Bermuda with 14 balls to spare. After some good bowling, in particular by Dewald Nel, some very capable batting by Navdeep Poonia and Colin Smith guided them home.
The weather was mainly overcast, but with light clouds, as Scotland won the toss and put Bermuda in to bat. Chris Foggo hit one spectacular boundary, almost a six, over backward point before being trapped lbw with the total at 13 in the fourth over. After five overs the score was still only 16. Scotland brought on their off-spinner Gregor Maiden for the seventh over, but David Hemp swung him over square leg for six.
Pitcher, hesitating, was run out for 13, and then James Celestine drove a low catch to cover without scoring. After ten overs the score was a worrying 46 for 3. Worse was to come as the key batsman Hemp, trying to loft Ryan Watson over long-off for six, failed to reach the boundary and holed out for 20.
Steven Outerbridge fought back with some good strokes, driving one of Watson's little seamers for six. Still only on 79 in the 17th over, though, they were further troubled by the return of Nel to the bowling crease: with his first two deliveries, full-length, he clean bowled Irvine Romaine and Jekon Edness as the batsmen unwisely tried to work straight balls on the leg side. At the other end Rodney Trott was stumped off Gordon Drummond, reducing Bermuda to a dismal 82 for seven.
Outerbridge and George O'Brien kept going, running ten singles off successive deliveries, followed by a two, but even so Bermuda only managed 99 for seven wickets before their time was up. Nel bowled superbly to take 3 for 12 in his four overs, while Outerbridge finished unbeaten with 35 off 34 balls. Bermuda would indeed have been in a sorry state without him.
It looked like another dull, uncompetitive match, but Ireland and Canada had got themselves into some trouble on the first day through lack of urgency when chasing small targets. Bermuda struck early, as the Scotland captain Watson pulled half-heartedly at his first ball and hit a low catch to midwicket. The bowler, O'Brien, struck again in his next over, having Fraser Watts lbw for 7, and Scotland were now 8 for 2. But this was to be the only brief period of the match when Bermuda held out any hopes of victory.
The legendary Dwayne Leverock received a round of applause when he came on to bowl the sixth over, with Scotland 21 for 2. O'Brien continued to apply the pressure at the other end and finished his overs with 2 for 11. At the 10-over mark Scotland were 49 for 2, with Poonia playing the anchor role while Smith was more aggressive.
As they approached the target, Bermuda wilted badly in the field, and a couple of difficult chances either went down or were not attempted. Poonia began to play more fluently, and a flick by Smith to the leg boundary in the 18th over saw Scotland home comfortably. He finished on 46 off 42 balls, and Pooniah 38 off 54; their match-winning partnership added 92. Apart from the two Os, Outerbridge and O'Brien, Bermuda have little positive to take from this match and will have to pull themselves together seriously to compete with Ireland later today.