Captain Carries Canadians
The reports I had heard last night of Bermuda declaring on 333/9 were apparently incorrect, as the Bermudan tail-enders were at the crease as play opened this morning. They were not there for long, however. After Dwayne Leverock scored a single, Henry Osinde took his 3rd wicket of the innings as he clean bowled Kevin Hurdle to end Bermuda's innings on 334.
Davison and Barnett came out to open the batting for Canada, and did well to start. They met the opening onslaught from Hurdle and Steede well, and amassed 36 runs before Barnett was caught in front by Ryan Steede. The call was quite possibly a poor one, as (very unofficial) replays seemed to confirm my opinion that the ball was headed over the wicket. But there is no video replay here, and Barnett was gone for just 9 runs. Stewart Heaney lasted all of 14 minutes at bat until he edged to the captain Romaine in the slips off Hurdle's bowling. The Canadian innings was threatening to collapse in the early morning sun - then on strode Ian Billcliff.
Billcliff started slowly, with a couple of scary moments in his first few overs. He grew in confidence and shared the strike with his captain as they began to build the foundation for a very strong partnership. Davison reached 50 off 71 balls, and on the very next ball edged a ball to wicketkeeper Minors - who dropped it! It was not an easy catch, but it is one Minors will replay in his head tonight, especially considering what was to come. Billcliff and Davison stroked boundaries effortlessly as Dwayne Leverock and Delyone Borden could get no movement off the still slightly green pitch. Leverock bowled an astounding 33 of the 92.1 overs - including the entire afternoon session - but came up empty. The 233 run 3rd wicket partnership was finally ended when what would have been Davisons 25th boundary was caught spectacularly by Stephen Outerbridge who sprinted 25 metres along the rope to take the ball at long on. 169 for the captain.
The next wicket fell quickly, as Ashish Bagai was in and out for 2, and Bermuda was again full of confidence and thinking they may be able to preserve the innings. But Qaiser Ali had different thoughts. He stabilized the Canadian ship and worked well with Billcliff who made his century shortly thereafter. What could have been another massive partnership was stalled when Ali called for a second run on a ball that should have been a single. A good throw came in from midwicket and Minors took off the bails to run out Ali for 34 runs. Sunil Dhaniram who bowled well for Canada yesterday also batted well, leaving most of the strike to Billcliff and scoring himself when he could. In the 91st over of the innings, Dhaniram edged a ball clumsily to Minors and was gone. The Bermudan captain Romaine chose to take the new ball, and 2 overs later Steede took his 4th wicket - a big one - bowling Ian Billcliff who was dismissed for 126. Steede's 4-75 were a bright spot in an innings marked by frustration for Bermuda's bowlers. Stumps were drawn at that point, saving Canada from a full collapse and leaving questions as to how big a lead Canada can build. Canada 386-7 at close.
What is important, however, is that Canada have claimed the first innings points (6 of them) and that mathematically eliminates Kenya from qualifying for the finals. Canada's coach Andy Pick was overheard saying that Canada will hope to build at least 100 runs lead for the first innings, perhaps trying to bat 120 overs in this first innings. It appears Mother Nature is going to play ball, at least for the most part. Tomorrow there is still a good chance of rain, but it seems it will begin around 5 pm, hence not cutting out too much time from play. Also Tuesday the forecast has changed and now calls for sunny skies all day. All this appears to be leading us to a result in this match, and currently it seems that Canada have the upper hand.
Unfortunately I will probably not be attending the play tomorrow or Tuesday (unless I can skip off work early and head up). So there will be no live updates here UNLESS(!!!) somebody else comes forward saying they will be there and can phone (or text) in scores to me. Otherwise we will need to rely on other, less efficient, sources.