Denmark topples USA to create three-way tie for first

Zameer Khan took the Man of the Match award in Denmark’s win over USA for hitting an unbeaten 97 © Peter Della Penna

Denmark’s fast bowling unit led by stand-in captain Amjad Khan produced an inspired display of death bowling to contain USA to 261 for 9, setting up a comfortable chase as Denmark defeated the tournament hosts by four wickets at Severn Cricket Field. It was an emotional win for Denmark with Amjad dedicating the victory to captain Michael Pedersen, who missed the match after flying home on Tuesday night to attend to a family emergency.

USA sat at 244 for 6 heading into the final four overs of the first innings, after being sent in, with Timroy Allen on 41 and Elmore Hutchinson on 13 having just hit two sixes in the 46th over off Aftab Ahmed‘s medium pace. The Americans appeared set to launch for at least 280 with the 48th and 50th due to be bowled with the wind at their backs. The stiff breeze was a key factor in USA launching 11 sixes in their innings, Nicholas Standford hitting four of them in his run-a-ball 59 to top score.

All but one of the 11 sixes came while batting from the north end of the pitch swinging with the wind blowing south but after USA scored just 16 off the next three overs, they had one last chance to go big hitting with the wind in the 50th. The big-hitting Allen was also on strike, on 52, to begin the last six balls but could only manage a dot and a single off the first two balls. Aftab then fired four consecutive balls in the blockhole, accounting for three wickets while keeping Allen off strike as USA finished on a well below par total on a flat pitch with favorable winds making boundary hitting relatively easy for one half of the ground.

Sure enough, Aftab opened the chase smashing Hutchinson for four and six back down the south end of the ground and Denmark barely looked back. Their momentum was briefly halted when Aftab’s fellow opener Saif Ahmad had to retire hurt on 28 off 23 balls after eight overs with the score 47 for 1 after Saif injured himself attempting a sharp single.

New batsman Hamid Shah got out for 6 three overs later to bring Zameer Khan together with Freddie Klokker and the pair were rarely troubled during a 166-run third wicket stand. While Ali Khan and Timil Patel kept things relatively tight bowling from the north end with the wind at their back, there was hardly any sustained pressure as runs continued to leak from the south end.

Denmark also seized on USA captain Steven Taylor’s decision to bypass specialist left-arm spinner Danial Ahmed for the part-time spin of Alex Amsterdam. Ahmed bowled an exceptional spell against Oman a day earlier to finish with 0 for 29 in ten overs, with two chances grassed off his bowling, but a day later he bowled just one over, the 16th, for nine runs and was taken out of the attack for good. Amsterdam fared little better, finishing with 0 for 32 in seven against Denmark.

After USA went wicketless between the first and second drinks breaks, Taylor tossed the ball to Khan to begin the final session of play and he struck on the final ball of the 40th over, bowling Klokker for 86 to give USA faint hope of victory with Denmark needing 42 off the final 10 overs with seven wickets in hand. Three more wickets fell but Zameer saw Denmark the rest of the way, ending unbeaten on 97. He played sensibly, milking singles through the latter stages of his innings as he didn’t hit a boundary between the 34th and 47th overs, and got Denmark home with 10 balls to spare.

After a disastrous start to the tournament, Bermuda continued their remarkable turnaround with an 85-run win on Duckworth/Lewis over Jersey at Wright Cricket Field and are now an outside contender for promotion. Kamau Leverock and OJ Pitcher shared in a 211-run stand for the first wicket with Leverock striking 137 off 111 balls. His innings was interrupted by a lengthy delay in the 15th over just moments after he brought up his fifty when heavy winds throughout Woodley Park blew over the sightscreens. The stoppage to fix the sightscreens caused the game to be reduced to 45 overs a side.

However, Leverock was not distracted by the interruption and brought up three figures off 96 balls in the 28th. He took on Rhys Palmer’s off spin for three consecutive sixes to start the 32nd. He finally fell to Charles Perchard as Bermuda posted the highest total of the touranament thus far, 312 for 8.

Cejay Outerbridge took two wickets at the start of Jersey’s chase to prevent momentum from building, though the chase didn’t truly go pear-shaped until the 16th over when Janeiro Tucker mankaded Will Harris for the fourth wicket to make it 82 for 4. Left-arm seamer Outerbridge then came back to take three more scalps to finish with 5 for 25 as Jersey were bowled out for 227 in the 38th over.

Oman defeated Italy by five wickets at Wong Cricket Field chasing down a target of 206 with 9.3 overs to spare. Italy’s top order was wrecked by Rajeshkumar Ranpura and captain Ajay Lalcheta after winning the toss and batting, stumbling to 5 for 3 in the sixth over. Damian Crowley propped up Italy with his second straight fifty and Fida Hussain contributed an unbeaten 51 to set Oman a competitive total.

Carl Sandri took the new ball bowling offspin to Zeeshan Maqsood and took his wicket on the second ball of the chase, the opener’s second duck in as many days, but Italy couldn’t capitalize on the early breakthrough. Zeeshan Siddiqui hit 54 not out and put on a 63-run stand with Jatinder Singh for the fifth wicket to steer Oman’s innings as they improved their net run rate with the win but still trail USA and Denmark comfortably on the tiebreak. The loss confirmed Italy as the first relegated team back to Division Five.

Thursday is a scheduled off day at the tournament before the final day of round-robin play on Friday. Oman plays Denmark on Severn with the winner clinching one of the two promotion berths available. The loser can still take the second promotion spot but would need USA to lose to Jersey by a big margin to jump ahead of USA on the net run rate tiebreaker.

A win for USA over Jersey at Wong would see them clinch the other promotion berth. Bermuda holds an outside chance at claiming the second promotion spot. They would need to defeat Italy by a wide margin while simultaneously seeing USA lose and the Oman v Denmark result be by a sizable margin to jump two positions on the net run rate tiebreaker.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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