This was the vital game in the five match first round. Victory would almost certainly mean qualification for the last eight. Defeat would mean playing in the plate and doing less well than had been done in Nairobi in 1994.
What a match it was! USA recovered from 158 for seven to 212 all out. At 159 for seven Ireland needed 54 in 41 balls. All seemed lost. Then came Mark Patterson, at number nine, to score 27 in 18 balls and the win came with five balls to spare. It was a miracle chase on the slow pitch at Tenaga. In fact this Irish chase blinkered the team into thinking they were good chasers. The chase in this match was in fact a poor one until a miracle occurred. It was to have its consequences later on in the vital match against Scotland.
Heasley was replaced by Gillespie and Molins came back as an extra slow bowler in place of McCrum. There were now four slow bowlers, three of whom were off spinners. Faoud Bacchus, aged 43, captained the USA. He had scored 160 not out for West Indies against Ireland in Castle Avenue in 1980. Also in the team was Derek Kallicharran, brother of Alvin, also of West Indies Test fame.
There was sunshine and humidity for the 9:30 a.m. start. The pitch was very slow, another reason for not chasing but USA were sent in. Gillespie (four overs) and Patterson (three overs) were the opening bowlers to Singh and Lewis. Patterson bowled no less than eight wides in his three overs but Gillespie took a wicket with the fourth ball of his second over. Singh was lbw swinging across the line. 9-1-4. Denny came in and hit three fours in Gillespie's fourth and last over. Eagleson was tried but he went for 14 in two overs and, after 10 overs, the score was 56!
Harrison's second over was dramatic. Denny was dropped by Gillespie at square leg off successive balls, the first a difficult one. The next ball accounted for Lewis, caught at the wicket. 62-2-16. Doak came on for Eagleson in the 14th over and Molins replaced Harrison (four overs for 23). There was a double success in the 80s. Benson caught Denny low at mid-on, off Doak, at 83. Denny scored 44 in 50 balls with eight fours. In came Bacchus who played out Doak's remaining three balls in his third over. Molins bowled an over for no batting runs but two wides. Doak came to bowl to Bacchus again. Bacchus charged the second ball, head up, and was bowled for nought. 85-4.
Ali joined Texeira and a 67 run stand ensued. Doak came off after four overs (2-4), perhaps a mistake. Molins bowled four overs for five, and now Curry and Harrison were in tandem. Scoring was slow, 85 in 20 overs became 98 in 25 and 100 went up in over 27. 120 was up in 30 overs. Doak returned for Curry. Molins had bowled six overs for 13 and deserved a reward but all he got in his seventh over was two dropped catches, both by Patterson. Both the batsmen were dropped at long-on, one to the left and one to the right off successive balls at 138 and 139. Neither catch was easy. Fortunately, these were not very expensive misses. Doak, in his eighth over, the 38th, had Texeira caught by Eagleson at long-off. Texeira had hit no boundary in his 40. 152-5-40.
Harrison returned for the next over in place of Molins and his first ball saw Ali caught at wide long on by Lewis running to his left. 152-6-32. For the next over Curry came back for Doak (3-17 in eight overs). Again a wicket fell, now three had fallen in three overs. Gillespie took a fine two-handed catch over his head on the long-off boundary to dismiss Dennis. 158-7-2. 10 overs remained in which USA scored 54 and lost their three remaining wickets, the 10th off the last ball of the 50 overs. Kallicharran and Amin put on 27 for the eighth wicket in just slightly more than five overs, mostly off Harrison and Curry. In his ninth over, the 46th, Curry took two wickets. Amin was bowled hitting out and Islam caught by Molins off a skier to square leg off a mis-sweep.
The score was now 186-9 with four overs to go. Doak bowled an over for two and Curry, his last, for three. So 191 with two overs left. Doak's last over conceded eight, including a difficult caught and bowled chance. The options for the final over were Molins or one of the faster bowlers. The choice was Molins. Grant, the number 11, hoisted him for two sixes over long-on. The last ball was heaved to mid-wicket by Kallicharran and was well caught by Graham running to his left. Graham was on as substitute for Mark Patterson who had damaged his hand while attempting a catch. 13 off the over was very unfortunate for Molins. In his first eight overs only singles were scored off him, 21 in all. Doak and Curry were the bowling stars. Each took three wickets, Doak for 27 and Curry for 28. Doak had only one four struck off him and that from his second last ball, while Curry gave up only two fours. The faster bowlers 10 overs cost 54 runs.
Ireland, through Lewis and Curry, had a fine start. Curry hit each opening bowler for a six and struck two successive fours off Grant. Bacchus, off-spin, bowled the 10th over and had Curry caught at mid-on from a mis-pull. 43-1-25. Benson joined Lewis and was dropped off a clipped shot to square leg at 53. Bacchus bowled five overs for nine runs and, after 20 overs, 73 were up, very satisfactory. The fifth and sixth bowlers used were two more spinners, Amin and Kallicharran. In Amin's fourth over, Lewis hit a towering six and was lbw sweeping at the next ball. 92-2-37, in the 25th over and well on course. Dunlop joined Benson and only 10 runs were scored in five overs. 106 were required in the last 20 overs.
Lewis returned and missed a caught and bowled off Dunlop. Bacchus also came on again and had Dunlop out caught at deep square leg. Another mis-sweep. 122-3-12 in the 34th over, and Dunlop's 12 took 33 balls. Doak started well but the rate dropped and wickets began to fall. Benson clipped Lewis to mid-on when the score was 133 in the 37th over. He had made 31 but faced 61 balls. After 40 overs, 148 was up and 65 required. Then three wickets fell in two overs in the 150's and all seemed lost. Doak, 18, went LBW to Lewis when sweeping and good bit down the pitch. Next over Kallicharran picked up Eagleson, caught at the wicket, trying to hit to leg and Gillespie was stumped off a wide off-side ball. 159-7, 54 needed and only 37 balls left!
Patterson joined Harrison with his hand bandaged. He was in debt to his colleagues for his eight wides and dropped catches. How well he redeemed himself! Harrison hit his fourth ball for six to mid-wicket and 11 runs came off this Lewis over. Now 43 were needed off 30 balls. Seven came from a Kallicharran over with a four to Patterson. The next Lewis over give up 10, 8 to Harrison who, as yet, had not failed to score off nine balls he faced. Now 26 were needed off 18 balls.
Kallicharran did not bowl his 10th over, he had taken 2-34 in nine. Amin came back and conceded 15 including another six to Patterson and a wide which went for four. Now 11 were needed off 12 balls and one felt that Ireland would win. Dennis, an opening bowler, replaced Lewis. There was another twist. Four runs were scored, including another wide. Then Patterson called a bad run to short cover and Harrison gave himself up. Seven now were needed in seven balls. Harrison had been the perfect foil to Patterson. He nudged and pushed and scored off every ball he faced, 18 off 14 balls. Molins arrived and scored a single off a no-ball. Patterson hit the last ball for four. Two to win off one over. Grant, the their opening bowler, returned for the last over. His first ball was shuffled past square leg for four by Molins. A famous win which virtually assured a last eight place. Curry was proclaimed Man-of-the-Match but Patterson won the match for what seemed an impossible situation.
The Irish Ambassador, Brendan Lyons, and his wife Mary, were present as they were every day from that day on. A party was held in the Embassy residence that night for the players, officials, and supporters. The Embassy supplied the drink while Mustansir and Mahboob Khetty, ex-pupils of Wesley College, supplied the food.