Ireland start defence with a win

ICC Europe/CricketEurope

Ireland have got their campaign to retain the European A Championship off to the perfect start with a five wicket win over Denmark at VOC Rotterdam.

Denmark won the toss and chose to bat, setting off at their task more than a little slowly. They were finding runs hard to come by, with the outfield being very slow thanks to some overnight and early morning rain. The aerial route wasn't working either, with the soft outfield meaning that the ball didn't bounce much.

Opening batsman Troel Thogersen top scored with 31, made off 80 balls and featuring the only six of the innings. Some tight bowling from Ireland, on a pitch that was already showing signs of spin, helped restrict the Danes to 145/8 from their 50 overs. Denmark did start to attempt to hit out towards the end of their innings, but their running let them down, with two runouts late on.

Ireland's reply didn't exactly get off to a good start when a mix up between the two opening batsmen saw both of them end up at the same end, with Reinhardt Strydom run out with the score on 15.

This brought Paul Stirling to the crease and he set about getting Ireland's run rate up, scoring at just under a run a ball. He shared in a 41 run partnership for the second wicket with James Hall, then put on another 12 for the third wicket before he fell for 39, the top score of the match, to a great diving catch by M Pedersen.

Ireland's run rate then slowed as the Danish bowlers tightened things up. Jacob Larsen bowled particularly well, bowling six maidens in his ten overs, taking one wicket for 17 runs.

But whilst they bowled tightly, they didn't take wickets, and Ireland continued to score quicker than the required rate, and they reached their target in 38.2 overs to win by five wickets, skipper John Mooney and Andrew Balbirnie taking them home.

Ireland will play the Netherlands tomorrow at VOC, whilst Denmark play Scotland at VRA.