Expectations of a classic final in the Pepsi ICC Americas Division 2 Championship between Suriname and Bahamas took a sudden change with Suriname going down to a convincing defeat at the hands of Panama on day one of the event.
Panama won the toss and decided to bat on the artificial surface of Windsor Park. A solid opening partnership of 121 between Nilesh Bhakta (48) and Imran Bulbuia set the stage for a large target. The opening stand was followed by useful contributions from Irfan Tarajia (47) and skipper Soyab Chohan (69) as Panama reached a respectable innings of 303 in its 50 overs. Vishaul Singh remained the most successful bowler for Suriname taking 3-35 in six overs.
The defending champions started their reply in a confident manner with openers Vishaul Singh and Deraj Sewanan putting on 61 in ten overs, but when Singh was dismissed, the rest of the batting line up showed little resistance and it was dismissed for 181 all out in the 40th over. Panama's Sailesh Amir was the pick of the bowlers taking 4-28. With its effective all-round performance on the first day, Panama now joins the Bahamas as the teams to watch for in the Championship.
At the Haynes Oval, host Bahamas had an easy day against newly-promoted Brazil. The South Americans lost their captain Matt Featherstone to an injury prior to the tournament and it was very obvious his batting talent was sadly missed. Bahamas won the toss and elected to bat on a good strip.
Marc Taylor (40), Ryan Tappin (40) and Jon Barry (47) gave the home side a solid foundation but it was Albert Peters (62), batting at number eight, who entertained the crowd with seven fours and three sixes off 44 balls. R. Hartman was Brazil's most successful bowler taking 4-57. Chasing a target of 305 was never going to be easy for Brazil and it was bowled out to 112 all out in the 33rd over. Greigor Caisley followed his tidy work behind the stumps with a useful 26 with the bat. The home side got a fine bowling performance from N. Ekanake who took 3-44 in five overs.
The second day of the tournament will see Turks and Caicos play Suriname at the Haynes Oval, while Panama tackles Brazil at Windsor Park.