Bermuda's World Cup preparations suffered an early jolt, losing a practice match to Antigua and Barbuda by 24 runs in a low-scorer at the Antigua Recreation Ground in St Johns. Bermuda did well to restrict the home side to a meagre 139 in conditions which assisted the seamers but failed to chase down the target, folding for just 115.
Austin Richards, the Antigua opener who scored 183 for the Leeward Islands in the Carib Beer cup recently, top-scored with 36 and the only other batsman to cross 20 was Kerry Skepple. Richards and opener Kerry Mentore got the home aide off to a cautious start, adding 54 in 15 overs before Richards was caught at mid-off off seamer Saleem Mukuddem.
The rest failed to put together any substantial partnerships as wickets fell at regular intervals, thanks to some penetrative bowling from seamer Janeiro Tucker and left-arm spinner Dwayne Leverock. Skepple accelerated towards the end, scoring 23 off 41 balls, carting Leverock for three sixes. However, Delyone Borden wrapped up the innings with three quick wickets to signal an early end to the innings.
The Bermuda batsmen on the other hand failed to complement the efforts of their bowlers as they stumbled in the face of an impressive display in the field by the home side. Bermuda lost half their side with 45 on board and a succession of run-outs gave Antigua the upper hand. Oliver Pitcher top-scored with 38 but, by the time he was dismissed, his side was on the brink of defeat at 106 for 8.
Antigua will play Canada in another practice match on Saturday at the same venue while Bermuda play their first game of the tri-series, against Bangladesh on Sunday.