As reported last week, the qualification spots from the ICC T20 World Cup Americas Regional Final – held in Bermuda – were decided with two rounds of games to spare. Hosts Bermuda stunned the USA by beating them twice in 5 days eliminating them from contention and securing their place in the global qualifier in October/November. They will be joined in the UAE hosted event by Canada who, unlike the US, lived up to their potential and turned in a very professional performance all week.
All that remained from the weekend’s action was to see if the US could salvage some pride and for Bermuda and Canada to battle it out for top spot.
The latter was decided on Day 5, when Canada comfortably beat their hosts on the back of a six hitting onslaught by Rizwan Cheema (72 off 35 balls, 8 sixes) and four wickets for Dillon Heyliger. The USA comfortably beat the Cayman Islands earlier in the day including a fine 56* from Steven Taylor.
On the final day, the US once again fell to Canada to round out a horrible week – Ravinderpal Singh doing the damage this time with 67 off 33 balls including eight sixes to match Cheema’s effort from the day before. The final game saw Bermuda beat a spirited Cayman, led by the astonishing all-round performance of Allan Douglas who ended with 5/18 with the ball, three catches, and 47 not out with the bat.
Canada ended up as champions, unbeaten on 11 points (5 wins 1 NR), Bermuda a solid runner-up with 9 points (4 wins, 1 loss, 1 NR), the USA third on 4 points (2 wins, 4 losses) and Cayman bringing up the rear with six defeats.
Next stop is Dubai In October when Bermuda and Canada will join Ireland, Scotland, the Netherlands, Jersey, Namibia, Kenya, Nigeria, UAE, Oman, Hong Kong, Singapore and Papua New Guinea to fight it out for six places at the big dance in Australia next year!
Team of the tournament:
Rizwan Cheema (Canada) – Opener
6 games, 126 runs at 25.2, 3 catches
A six hitting machine, the 41-year-old Cheema rolled back the years to hit 13 maximums in the tournament, including eight against Bermuda in the top of the table clash where he scored 72 off 35 balls. Saved his runs for the bigger opponents, strangely scoring two ducks against the underdog Cayman Islands.
Okera Bascome (Bermuda) – Opener
5 games, Runs 93 at 18.6, 1 catch
Bascome got Bermuda off to quick starts in both critical wins against the USA – second highest scorer behind Rawlins in the opening day win with 21, and top scorer in the second with 35 off just 16 balls, including 4 sixes. The explosive hitting at the top of the order laid the foundations for what was to follow and were critical to Bermuda’s success. Kept wickets safely for the first three games with one catch.
Navneet Dhaliwal (Canada) (Captain) – Batsman
6 games, 190 runs at 63.33, 1 wicket at 16, 4 catches
Captained his side brilliantly throughout an unbeaten campaign, and was consistently impressive with the bat, leading from the front. Hit two half-centuries, was unbeaten in two innings, and in five visits to the crease, his lowest score was 23. Won two player of the match awards, against the USA and Bermuda. Chipped in with a fine caught and bowled against the US on the final day of the tournament and was a safe pair of hands with four catches.
Delray Rawlins (Bermuda) – Allrounder
5 games, 130 runs at 26, 4 wickets at 24, 7 catches
Bermuda’s exciting Sussex allrounder lived up to his billing as the tournament’s box office attraction. A blistering first day 63 off 53 balls combined with a wicket led Bermuda to the stunning win over the US which set the stall for the rest of tournament and secured him player-of-the-match honours. He turned on the afterburners against Cayman Islands with a rapid 49 that calmed nerves, and then contributed 2 wickets in the second win over the US that secured qualification. The ball seemed to follow him in the field, taking a tournament leading seven catches, including several stunners on the boundary.
Ravinderpal Singh (Canada) – Batsman
6 games, 189 runs at 63, 1 century, 5 catches
Winning the batsman of the series award ahead of his captain, Singh had a great tournament. He started out in blistering world-record fashion when he became the first man in 852 Twenty20 internationals to score a century on debut – his 101 off 48 balls against Cayman being the only century in the tournament. This was followed by 21* against Bermuda and then a scorching 67 off just 33 balls, including a tournament best 8 sixes against the USA, on the final day.
Kamau Leverock (Bermuda) – Allrounder
6 games, 106 runs at 21.2, 1 wicket at 42, 2 catches
The Nottinghamshire Second XI man’s numbers don’t quite tell the full story of his contribution, and he edges out the USA’s Steven Taylor in the team. Despite a slow start with the bat with a duck in the first game, Leverock chipped in with important knocks in seeing his side home against Cayman Islands (28 not out), an important 16 towards the end of the chase against the USA which set up Deunte Darrell to land the killer blows, and then top scoring with 33 in Bermuda’s only defeat to Canada. Took the important wicket of top-scoring Jaskaran Malhotra in the first day win over the USA too, as well as two catches in the tournament.
Onias Bascome (Bermuda) – Allrounder
6 matches, 83 runs at 16.6, 8 wickets at 11.12, 2 catches
Won player-of-the-match for his fine bowling display of 4-18 against the Cayman Islands, and followed up with strong contributions with the ball for the rest of the tournament, claiming 8 wickets at 11.12. Also had several important knocks with the bat – supporting Delray Rawlins with 20 in the first day win over the USA and accompanying Deunte Darrell to see Bermuda over the line in the all-important second win over the Americans on Day 4.
Hamza Tariq (Canada) – Wicketkeeper
6 games, 20 runs at 10, 7 catches and 2 stumpings
Tariq was as steady as a rock behind the stumps for Canada throughout the tournament, picking up seven catches and two stumpings. Wasn’t called upon to bat very often, but when needed did not disappoint – hitting the winning runs in the first defeat of the USA with a boundary.
Dillon Heyliger (Canada) – Seam bowler
5 games, 34 runs (no average), 11 wickets at 10.09, 1 catch
A strong contender for overall MVP, and rightly awarded Bowler of the Tournament by the organisers, Heyliger was a constant threat throughout. Took eleven wickets including two four-wicket hauls against Bermuda. Also had a very significant contribution with the bat in the first win over USA – with Canada needing 18 off two overs, Heyliger effectively ended the context with 13 off five Cameron Gannon balls, allowing Hamza Tariq to land the killer blow in the next over.
Romesh Eranga Don (Canada) – Seam bowler
9 wickets at 13.44, 2 catches
Eranga was the perfect partner in crime for Heyliger and picked up important wickets throughout, ending the tournament as the second highest wicket-taker. Single-handedly had Cayman Islands 9/3 on the opening day at one point and followed up with sensational figures of 2-4 off three overs in the rained-out game against Bermuda. Safe pair of hands too.
Karima Gore (USA) – Slow left arm orthodox
4 games, 4 runs (no average), 8 wickets at 8.35, 1 catch
That there is the only USA player in this team you everything you need to know about the Americans’ train-wreck of a performance here. Gore was the one shining light through a week of gloom for the USA. Called up in the third game of the tournament against Canada, the 21-year old spinner started slowly, but in his second game turned in the incredible figures of 3/5 off his four overs against Bermuda including a wicket-maiden in the 17th over which threatened to derail the hosts charge. Followed up with 2/20 against the Cayman Islands and 3/21 in the final day loss to Canada. Displayed some very athletic fielding too and was positive in the field – unlike most of his sullen team mates.
As this is a tournament, we’ll pick a squad of 14. Honourable mentions to:
Steven Taylor (USA) – scored a match winning half-century against the Cayman Islands, as well as knocks of 38 and 23 against Bermuda and Canada and chipped in with a few wickets along the way.
Saad bin Zafar (Canada) – narrowly misses out on the XI to Karima Gore. Picked up 8 wickets including two 3-wicket hauls against Cayman Islands and the USA in the second round of matches.
George O’Brien Jr (Bermuda) – economical opening seam bowler for Bermuda in the first four games. Picked up six wickets at 14.83 including two in two balls in the opening day win over the USA.