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Ireland and Scotland top the table

Mon, Jul 28, 2008 3:18 PM


Ireland and Scotland are heading up the points table after two days play at the ICC European Division 1 Championship in Dublin.

Ireland got the defence of its European Division 1 title off to a great start with a comfortable eight-wicket victory over newcomer Norway at The Vineyard in Skerries on Friday.

Norwegian captain Shahid Ahmed won the toss and put his side into bat, and although the openers Shahid Ahmed and Sameer Sachdev made a steady start reaching 35 without loss, the batting line up eventually succumbed to the Irish attack and was all out for 119.

Ireland made light work of the target, losing just two wickets and reaching the total in 22.5 overs.

Irish youngsters Gary Kidd and Gary Wilson, both of whom benefited from a trip to India earlier in the year for the ICC European Academy, were the heroes of the day.

Kidd took four for 25 in nine overs of well-controlled left-arm spin which bamboozled all the Norwegian batsmen whilst Wilson opened the batting making 47 not out. He had appeared to be proceeding towards his half-century until he was joined by Andre Botha, who unleashed a series of five boundaries to finish the match, leaving his partner just three runs short of his fifty.

Scotland made a winning start to its Championship campaign fending off a spirited challenge from Denmark.

The Danes batted well in benign conditions but their total of 224 for eight was at least 40 runs too few, and the Scots plundered boundaries with enough ease to offset the loss of wickets. When a huge rain cloud emptied over Malahide they were 151 for three off 28 overs, and comfortably clear of the Duckworth/Lewis threshold.

After a 70-minute break Scotland were set a revised target of 203 off 44 overs, meaning they had 16 overs to make a further 52, and a couple of sixes from Neil McCallum expedited the outcome. Qasim Sheikh hit the winning runs for a satisfying 80 not out.

Italy sprang the first surprise of the tournament, recovering from a disastrous start to complete an 8-run victory over The Netherlands in a tense finish at the Inch, Balrothery.

Put in to bat, Italy were reeling on 21 for four by the seventh over, Edgar Schiferli taking two for 5 and Mudassar Bukhari one for 15.

Captain Joe Scuderi led the recovery, putting on 58 for the fifth wicket with Hemantha Jayasena. Scuderi batted through to the end, making 84 not out off 122 balls and hitting 10 boundaries. His side finished on 181 all out from 49.4 overs.

The Netherlands batsmen did not look sturdy from the off, reaching just 19 before Vincenzo Pennazza trapped Darron Reekers leg-before in the fourth over. Din Alaud removed Mudassar Bukhari in the next, and the Dutch were 21 for two.

Only Tom de Grooth and Peter Borren were able to make any real impact on the Italian total making 51 and 34 respectively. By the end of the 43rd the Dutch were nine wickets down with only 9 runs needed.

Captain Scuderi introduced Alessandro Bonora into the attack, and the Dutch No. 9 Maurits Jonkman edged the second ball of his second over to Nick Northcote, giving the keeper his fourth catch and Italy a well-deserved 8-run victory.

After the jubilation of victory over The Netherlands, the Italians were abruptly brought back to earth by Scotland at The Vineyard on Saturday, losing by six wickets despite some determined bowling from their seam attack.

Scot John Blain proved too sharp for the Italian top order, taking three for 18 in a lively opening spell as the Italians collapsed to 37 for four in the space of 11 overs.

Then spinners Majid Haq and Glenn Rogers took over, taking three for 22 and Rogers one for 18, and it required an enterprising last-wicket stand of 38 – the highest of the innings – from Vincenzo Pennazza and Din Alaud to get the total up to 125.

Alaud and Pennazza then teamed up again when the Scots replied, producing eleven tight overs against batsmen intent on chasing down a relatively low total. However the top order clawed its way to the 126-run target in 29 overs for 4 wickets and Scotland retained its unbeaten record.

Ireland captain William Porterfield returned from his county commitments with Gloucestershire for his side's second match against Denmark at Rathmines on Saturday.

He scored a battling 58 to lead Ireland to a 5 wicket win over the Danes in a far from convincing display by the Irish, who have yet to play to their full potential in the competition so far.

Freddie Klokker of Derbyshire held the Danish innings together with a superb 85 from 126 balls. The elegant left hander played some exquisite drives, cuts and pulls, striking 11 boundaries as Denmark scored 179 for 9 in their 50 overs.

Kyle McCallan (3-32) was the most successful of the Irish bowlers, while Andre Botha (2-36) and Kevin O'Brien (2-33) picked up two wickets each.

Gary Wilson performed well again for Ireland with the bat making 32 and sharing an opening stand of 77 with Porterfield in 16.2 overs, nullifying the Danish opening attack, scoring boundaries at regular intervals, combined with superb running between the wickets.

The introduction of Lars Hedergaard saw Wilson trapped lbw, and just two balls later, Paul Stirling suffered the same fate, and Denmark saw a glimmer of hope. That glimmer increased when Andre Botha edged Michael Pedersen to slip, via the gloves of Freddie Klokker.

Porterfield and Andrew White (30) dug in, and added 38 in 14.3 overs, to take Ireland nearer to the win. Reinhardt Strydom and Kevin O'Brien made 21 and 12 not out, seeing the side home with 4.1 overs to spare.

The Netherlands came back from the shock of Friday's defeat by Italy with a relentless, record-breaking demolition of a hapless Norway, winning by a massive 370 runs.

Winning the toss and batting first, the Dutch took full advantage of a small ground, fast outfield and severely limited attack to rewrite the national record book.

In the course of 50 overs they registered the highest-ever total by The Netherlands in an international one-day match, their 474 for eight beating the 425 for four set against Israel in the 1986 ICC Trophy

Darron Reekers's 196 was the best individual score for his country in a one-day international, surpassing Rupert Gomes's 169 not out, also against Israel, in the 1990 ICC Trophy

Reekers's opening stand of 290 with Tom de Grooth (96), made in just 32.5 overs, was the highest for any wicket for The Netherlands, beating the 251 by Steve Atkinson and Rob Lifmann, also for the first wicket, as part of that total of 425 for four.

Reekers was simply unstoppable: his first hundred came off 58 balls, and he faced another only another 49 in going on to 196; in all he hit 20 fours and 12 sixes.

De Grooth was almost as devastating, hitting 11 fours and three sixes in his 94-ball innings, and all the Norwegian bowlers came in for heavy punishment as the total mounted.

The Norwegians lost Zaheer Ashiq in the second over of their reply, and it was downhill from there as the side fell for just 104 from overs. Captain Shahid Ahmed produced the most success with the bat with 29 and Dutch bowler Edgar Shiferli had the most success with the ball taking 5 for 52 from 9 overs.

The winning margin of 370 was a record for the European Championships, but it fell well short of the world record for an official one-day game: at last year's South Pacific Games in Apia, Samoa, Papua New Guinea beat New Caledonia by 510 runs.

Further information including live score updates, scorecards, match reports, photos and much more can be found on the ICC Europe website at http://www.icc-europe.org/EURODIV1/index.shtml

ICC European Division 1 2008 fixture schedule

All matches start at 1045



Monday 28 July

Ireland v Netherlands, Clontarf

Scotland v Norway, Leinster

Denmark v Italy, Merrion



Tuesday 29 July

Scotland v Netherlands, Clontarf

Ireland v Italy, Malahide

Denmark v Norway, North County



Thursday 31 July

Ireland v Scotland, Clontarf

Netherlands v Denmark, The Hills

Norway v Italy, Malahide



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