Denmark recover to post first-up win
Denmark fought back from a shaky start against the Isle of Man to draw first blood in Group B with a 7-wicket victory at Preston Nomads' Henfield ground on Monday, while in the other morning fixture Belgium held on to post an 11-run win against Germany.
After winning the toss and electing to bat the Manxmen raced to 82 for one in the first twelve overs of their innings, opener Jaco Jansen (43) and Philip Littlejohns (39) putting on 69 for the second wicket before Jansen was caught behind by Fred Klokker off the bowling of Bobby Chawla.
Luke Lacey helped Littlejohns get the total up to 101 before he, too, fell to Chawla for a quick 15, and the Danish leg-spinner went on to claim two more wickets and finish with four for 23.
Lacey's departure was the trigger for a dramatic collapse, with six wickets falling in as many overs with the addition of just 17 runs. No-one else in the Manx side managed to reach double figures, and when Kamran Mahmood taking two wickets with the final two balls of the innings the final score was a disappointing 121.
Klokker began the Danish response with a brisk 21 from 15 deliveries, but then Daniel Hawke dismissed both the keeper and, four balls later, Aftab Ahmed, and Denmark wobbled for a moment at 29 for two.
Carsten Pedersen was batting confidently, however, and he and Kamran Mahmood proceeded to add 60 for the third wicket, putting their side firmly in command.
Arne van den Berg eventually claimed Mahmood's wicket for 22, but then Carsten Pedersen was joined by his brother Michael, and Denmark's most experienced batting pair saw their side safely home with 20 balls to spare. Carsten finished on 47, made from 41 deliveries with five fours and a six, while Michael made 18. Hawke finished with two for 24.
Germany started well against Belgium in the other Group B game, an early run-out, two wickets for Nafees Ahmad and one for Kashif Haider reducing the Belgians to 47 for four. But the innings, and perhaps the outcome of the match, turned on a crucial miss when hard-hitting Shaheryar Butt was on 6.
Butt took full advantage of his escape, smashing a 35-ball 55 which included two fours and five sixes and sharing a partnership of 91 with Manesh Krishnamoorthy. When Butt eventually departed Krishnamoorthy went on to a half-century as well, taking just 31 deliveries over his 52 before he was run out off the final ball of the innings, and Belgium closed on 163 for seven.
Germany were soon in trouble in their turn, and although most of their batsmen got a start none was able to gain the upper hand against a steady Belgian attack. Shahid Muhammad claimed two wickets and Faisal Khaliq three, but the final blow came from Shaival Mehta, who performed a hat-trick as the German side collapsed further to 106 for eight.
Nafees Ahmad and Kashif Haider offered some resistance towards the end, Haider top-scoring with an undefeated 24 from seven deliveries with two fours and two sixes, but the gap was too great and the innings ended on 152 for nine.