Greg Taylor (left; photo courtesy: tribune242.com) led Bahamas in the match, while Esteban MacDermott (right; photo courtesy: Wikimedia Commons) led Argentina.
Greg Taylor (left; photo courtesy: tribune242.com) led Bahamas in the match, while Esteban MacDermott (right; photo courtesy: Wikimedia Commons) led Argentina.

The ICC World Cricket League Americas Region matches do not typically garner interest, but this one, between Argentina and Bahamas, played on June 3, 2010, produced one of the most bizarre outcomes. Abhishek Mukherjee looks back at a climax that bordered on the boundaries of both hilarious and ridiculous.

Let alone follow, very few are aware of the fact that there exists an international cricket tournament in the Americas. In fact, barring the occasional appearance by Canada (and a few near-forgotten ones by USA and Bermuda), few are aware of the fact that cricket exists beyond the Caribbean nations in the Americas.

But there is something called ICC World Cricket League Americas. The tournament has been a regular fixture since 2000, and at the time of writing this article, it has witnessed eight editions. There have been up to three divisions, with the last and first teams being promoted and relegated. In fact, in 2010, there were as many as four divisions. The tournament has been dominated by Canada (4 titles) and USA (3), while Bermuda had won in 2006.

Note: The other divisions include some exotic winners. Division Two winners, for example, have included Argentina, Bahamas, and Suriname. Division Three had Suriname, Brazil, Belize, and even Turks and Caicos Islands (how many of you can point it on a world map?) as winners. To make things more surreal, the only Fourth-Division title was claimed by Mexico.

The 2010 edition of the tournament was hosted by Bermuda, who were obviously one of the participants. USA and Canada were among the participants, but there were also Argentina (who had once defeated England, and easily the finest South American side), and two small groups of islands — Cayman Islands and the Bahamas.

As things would turn out, Canada would beat everyone, USA would beat everyone but Canada, and Bermuda would beat everyone but Canada and USA. Bahamas were thrashed by Cayman Islands, who, in turn, lost a close contest against Argentina: chasing 237 they were down to 127 for 8, but eventually fought back to lose by a mere 13 runs.

The 14th match of the tournament was played at Hamilton, the Bermudan capital. Argentine captain Esteban MacDermott — nicknamed ‘Billy’, just like the illustrious Craig McDermott — won the toss and opted to bat.

The Paterlini mayhem

The Paterlini brothers — Matias and Lucas — walked out to the middle. Despite being the younger brother, Lucas Paterlini was probably the superior cricketer of the two. Here, too, he established his supremacy, dominating a stand of 95 in 71 minutes.

Then Marc Taylor struck with his off-breaks, having Matias Paterlini stumped by his captain Greg Taylor (the Taylors are not related as per my knowledge). Lucas Paterlini continued, and once Donald Forrester walked out, runs came at breakneck pace.

Lucas eventually fell for a 127-ball 138, studded with 12 fours and 9 sixes. Forrester continued with the onslaught, remaining unbeaten on a 39-ball 71, including 5 fours and 4 sixes. Bahamas used eight bowlers, but they could not stop Argentina from piling up a huge 333 for 5.

To avoid relegation, Bahamas needed to chase this down inside 35 overs (approximately).

The outrageous counterattack

The target seemed beyond the scope of Bahamas. They had, after all, managed only 128 (against Bermuda), 192 (USA), 99 (Cayman Islands), and 98 (Canada). Add any two of these, and you still would not get 334, let alone in 35 overs.

Things got worse. Lucas Paterlini removed Dwight Weakley in the second over. Gary Savage, his new-ball partner, clean bowled captain Greg Taylor; and at 16 for 2, it seemed another collapse was on cards.

Then Marc Taylor joined Rohan Parkes. And St John’s Field witnessed one of the most brutal assaults ever.

Parkes was at the crease for 77 minutes. He faced a mere 59 balls (that is not even ten overs). And he scored 133. The number of balls he needed to reach his hundred is not documented, but it is certainly worth a research. A whopping 122 of these runs (14 fours, 11 sixes) came in boundaries.

Parkes was eventually dismissed by a curiously named pair of cricketers. Stumped by Alejandro Ferguson off Diego Lord does not really sound a dismissal out of a normal cricket scorebook.

Note: Diego Lord’s father Ricardo ‘Dickie’ had also played for Argentina, as had Alejandro Ferguson’s father George William Anthony ‘Tony’ and grandfather George William. As for Alejandro’s younger brother Pablo, he was playing the match, though he was scheduled to bat at ten, and did not bowl or kept wickets.

But let us not digress. Parkes’ dismissal did not deter Marc Taylor, who carried on with the business with Ryan Tappin. When Taylor was dismissed for 93, Whitcliff Atkinson walked out and smashed a 5-ball 13 before Savage bowled him.

Bahamas were right on track with the chase. They needed a mere 69 with 5 wickets in hand. They had almost half the overs left. All they need was to put together a partnership, which was precisely what Tappin and the Sri Lanka-born Narendra Ekanayake did.

While Ekanayake took charge, Tappin held one end up; they ran their singles; and 34 runs were added. Then Lucas Paterlini came back to dismiss Tappin. They needed another 35.

It was Mario Ford’s turn to hold fort now. He was eventually trapped leg-before by Lucas, but not before they had added another 19. Then Jermaine Adderley helped Ekanayake put on another 14.

The score read 332 for 7. They needed just 2 more with 3 wickets in hand. There was no hurry, for it was the 32nd over.

There was no hurry. There was no need for big hits. If you hung around, those 100-odd balls would not be required.

They were almost there.

Those mad, mad last minutes

Then Ekanayake had a brain-freeze, and was run out for a 28-ball 43. Lord, bowling the 33rd over, had Adderley caught-behind. This meant that No. 11 Albert Peters would be on strike, while the best No. 10 Jonathan Barry could do was stand at the other end and hope.

And they still needed those two runs.

But Peters played out the over, which brought Barry on strike. Fittingly, Lucas Paterlini was asked to bowl. His 8 overs had gone for 79, but a chunk of those overs were bowled at the seemingly unstoppable Parkes. MacDermott, with embarrassing figures of 4-0-72-0, decided to hold himself back.

The 35-over mark was still some distance away.

Barry stole a single to level the score. Bahamas could not lose from there, but Peters was on strike. They needed that run. They had balls in hand, but a tie would not help their cause.

There were exactly a hundred balls left. A hundred balls, to score one single run.

And then — somehow, somehow — Barry was run out; and Bahamas had managed to tie the match with 99 balls to spare. They had managed to score at 9.94 runs an over — 49 per cent more than what they needed to — but had completely ignored the wickets-in-hand bit.

Perhaps the most wasted 99 balls in the history of limited-overs cricket.

Brief scores:

Argentina 333 for 5 in 50 overs (Lucas Paterlini 138, Donald Forrester 71*) tied with Bahamas 333 in 33.3 overs (Rohan Parkes 133, Marc Taylor 93, Narendra Ekanayake 43; Lucas Paterlini 3 for 80, Diego Lord 3 for 88)

Man of the Match: Lucas Paterlini.

(Abhishek Mukherjee is the Chief Editor at CricketCountry and CricLife. He blogs here and can be followed on Twitter here.)