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Denmark v Ireland
Date: Tuesday 21st July 1998. At: HCC, The Hague.
Result: Denmark won by 3 wickets. Type: European Championship. (50 overs per team).
The 500th match played by Ireland since the first in 1855 was not a joyous occasion. After a remarkable match the result was a three wicket defeat - the first Danish victory over Ireland.
Ireland were rescued twice. Firstly by an 87 run stand by Dunlop and Cooke from a position of 98 for five. Then, with Denmark coasting at 176 for four, needing 20 in six overs, Ireland hit back again. Davy, Gillespie and McCallan restricted Denmark to 14 runs in five overs and took two wickets. Six were required in the last over. Another wicket fell but with three required from two balls a boundary was hit over extra cover to end the match.
The day started overcast but the sun appeared in the afternoon. The team was again unchanged and once again the toss was won. The decision, as in the previous two matches, was to bat. The mat was slower than on the previous day at the HBS ground and the outfield was, as usual, lush and slow - there had been rain in the night.
Two tall fast bowlers began for Denmark. Hansen was left arm and Sorensen right handed. McCallan was hit "amidships" early on -v- England on Saturday. It happened again to the first ball of the match! The only run in the first four overs came from a wide. Then McCallan took seven off a Hansen over, one stroke being a dangerous slash through gully having lost patience and advanced down the pitch.
Joyce, very much out of form, was out at 10 in the seventh over. He pushed forward too soon at Hansen. The ball left him off the pitch and he was caught at the wicket. McCallan followed Joyce in the next over. He reached at a wide ball from Sorensen and was caught by the only slip. At 13 for two in nine overs there was a 20 minute delay for light rain. Smyth was again in good form although he slashed M.Hedegaard for a four over the slip area.
M Hedegaard, medium pace, had come on for over 13 in place of Hansen. Sorensen bowled eight overs from which only seven runs were scored. 30 was up in over 16. Khan, medium pace with a slight slinging action, came on. Scoring remained slow. When the 20th over (Khan) began the score was 39. Khan went round the wicket to Smyth who drove a four and a two. The fifth ball bowled Smyth whose left shoulder came around too far as he drove at the ball towards mid-on. He missed. 48-3-24.
Molins joined Gillespie. 50 came up in over 22. With 11 off this over score was in fact 60 by the end of it. Klitgaard, slow left arm with a somewhat dubious action, came on at 69 for the 25th over. He took no wicket but bowled his 10 overs in a row for only 17 runs, with only eight scoring shots from the bat. L Hedegaard, another medium pacer, came on at 79. He was more expensive but got both batsmen, one in his third over and one in his fourth. Molins mishooked to fine leg and was caught by Khan running in. 94-4-14. Gillespie failed to go through with a drive and was caught at extra cover. Gillespie's loss at this point was a blow as he was playing very well. 98-5-37.
Cooke joined Dunlop with the innings to be saved. They went along carefully to accurate bowling. 100 in over 34 but only as far as 116 after 41 overs. The 43rd over, Klitgaard's last, yielded four byes followed by four wides and 10 runs in all. Hansen and M.Hedegaard returned. Hansen began his eighth over, the 46th at 141. By its end the score was 161! Cooke scored a single. Dunlop then cut a four and played a pick up shot to mid wicket for six. Another single brought Cooke to face and he snicked a four high through the wicket-keeper's hands. Two wides followed and the over finished with a two to Cooke which included an overthrow. There were six runs in the 47th, eight in the 48th and nine in the 49th.
The last over was bowled by Khan and 11 more were scored. Dunlop was run out on the second ball. It was a poor decision - the wicket being badly broken by the bowler before the ball arrived. Dunlop's 40 came in 43 balls with four fours and a six. It pushed his runs to 420 in 10 innings in 1998, four of them not out. Cooke's 38 not out (59 balls) was his highest and most important of his 18 innings for Ireland. 79 had come in the last 10 overs after 116 in the first 40. 54 runs came in the last five overs.
Singh and Pedersen began for Denmark and did very well against Davy and Eagleson. Nine runs, including wides and byes, came in Davy's third over. 20 was up in the sixth over. Cooke came on and Eagleson was driven and hit to leg for fours by Singh in his fifth over. 50 came up in Dwyer's first over - the 12th. Then Cooke and Dwyer reined in the opening pair. The score was 52 after 12 overs and only 55 after 17 overs. Furthermore the first wicket had fallen. Singh played Dwyer to leg. Pedersen wanted to run, ran up too far, was sent back but Cooke's throw to Dwyer beat him. 52-1-18.
Nielsen made a slow start, scoring his first single off the 16th ball he faced. Singh hit two successive fours off Dwyer's fourth over but was out in Dwyer's next over - the 22nd. Singh chipped off his legs and McCallan caught him diving to his left at short mid-wicket. 77-2-34. Ahmed hit Dwyer for a back foot four to cover point off his first ball. Eagleson returned for Cooke for the 23rd over. In this over a vital catch was dropped by Bushe. Ahmed (6) snicked low to Bushe's right. Bushe dived and had it in his right hand but it fell out. Ahmed went on to make 43.
Dwyer dismissed Singh in his sixth over but was, at once, replaced by McCallan who bowled six overs for 27. 100 came in the 27th over and with it another wicket. It was that of Nielsen (20) who top edged a sweep and was caught near the square leg Umpire. Wicket-keeper Siddiq now joined his fellow Pakistani in a 63 run stand in 15 overs which seemed to have won the match for Denmark. After 30 overs the score was 115 so 81 were needed in the last 20 overs.
McCallan tried his off breaks around the wicket and Ahmed hit him so far over square leg that the ball was lost. Next ball Bushe missed a stumping chance. Ahmed was 26 and the score 124. This miss cost 41 runs and probably was Ireland's last chance to win well. Dwyer and Cooke returned. Ahmed hit the latter for a straight six to bring up 150 in over 39. Cooke changed ends and had Siddiq well held by Eagleson at wide slip off a low slash. 163-4-26. 53 balls remained to score 33. It seemed easy.
However with 14 more added in 20 balls Davy returned as Dwyer had bowled his 10 overs for 33. Ahmed skied Davy's fourth ball to mid-off. 177-5-43. The wristy Ahmed had played well but was missed at six and 24. 32 balls now remained to score 19 and five wickets were left. It still seemed easy! Hansen and M. Hedegaard were now together.
By the end of Davy's over the score was 178. Five overs to score 18. Gillespie had bowled six overs in 10 matches in 1998. He was now brought on for the 46th over. Only three runs were scored and only a similar number came in Davy's next over. Now three overs were left to score 12. Gillespie's second over saw five runs scored and a near run out when Dwyer hit the stumps from short mid-wicket. McCallan now had to be used for the 49th over there being no other bowler left. With only seven required McCallan bowled a great over. His second ball squared up Hansen (17) playing back and he was lbw. The fifth ball conceded the only run in the over - a single to long-off by new batsman L.Hedegaard.
Now six were needed off the last over by Gillespie. A leg-bye brought M. Hedegaard to face and he got a single to square leg. His brother, Lars, now faced again with four to win in four balls. The next ball crashed through Lars Hedegaard's defence as he played head up. Khan came in with four to win off three balls. He swung and scored a single behind the wicket.
M.Hedegaard faced with three to win in two balls. The field came in but Hedegaard swung and hit a ball that was a little too short. It went in the air for four through extra cover where there was no fielder.
Ireland had put up a great fight but poor early batting and missed chances cost the match. Ahmed was given the Man-of-the-Match award.