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Match Report
Derek Scott

This was Ireland's last ever match in the Benson & Hedges Cup- the competition would not be played in 1999 and Ireland's last match in 1998 -v- Sussex at Eglinton on May 9th was subsequently abandoned without a ball bowled.

On a much slower pitch at Lord's than that encountered the previous day at Chelmsford Ireland put up a much better display. After being 89 for one a score higher than 196 for seven might have been expected. If so Middlesex might have found the chase that bit more difficult. With all the Irish bowlers doing a job Middlesex won with two overs to spare.

Middlesex fielded Langer, the Australian Test player plus England Test players Fraser (whose brother also played) and Ramprakash. Gatting did not play.

Ireland restored Cooke for Neely and so Davy did not play in any of the three Benson & Hedges matches and was not available for the fourth. The day was dull and overcast and there was some drizzle at times.

Molins and McCallan gave Ireland a very good start. Gus Fraser bowled tightly for six overs (15 runs) but Hewitt gave up 37 runs in seven overs. The pair ran well and two fours to Molins in the 14th over brought up 55. Alastair Fraser, back with Middlesex this year, came on and McCallan hit him for six over extra-cover. Johnson, on the fringe of the English team some years ago, replaced Gus Fraser and he it was who bowled Molins (34 in 52 balls) at 74. The ball kept low but there was little footwork. The McCallan/Patterson partnership of 15 was entirely in singles and took 46 balls. 88 was on the board at the half way mark. In the next over, at 89, Alastair Fraser took wickets with successive balls. McCallan charged and was caught at deep mid-on while Johnson wafted at a good ball that left him and he was caught low two handed to the right by the youthful Shah at first slip.

Worse followed at 97. Patterson called Joyce for a shot to mid-on. Then he sent him back but mid-on's throw hit the non striker's wicket. A Patterson boundary off the next ball brought up 100 in the 29th over. Dunlop was now in and care had to be taken. Weekes bowled five overs of off spin for 12. Dunlop took 10 off Alastair Fraser's last over. Ramprakash brought himself on with more off-spin. He it was who took the next wicket, at 128 in the 40th over. Patterson (23 in 62 balls) was caught at deep point.

Heasley made a brisk 10. Then Johnson returned and Heasley hooked him to Gus Fraser at deep square leg. 144 for six. Dunlop then opened out and scored 19 of 23 put on with Eagleson. He hit for a straight six and a four but Eagleson was caught in the same over, the 47th. With Cooke in 29 were scored in the last three overs from Weekes and Johnson, 18 of them to Dunlop. Dunlop was 49 when Weekes came to bowl the last over. A four and another straight six carried him to 59 in 67 balls, two sixes and five fours, and ultimately this innings won Dunlop the Man-of-the-Match Award (275.00 and a medal). It was the highest score of the match.

Johnson was one of two bowlers to bowl 10 overs (three for 31) but only Hewitt was expensive and Gus Fraser bowled 10 wicketless overs for 21 runs. The bowling rate was brisk, 50 overs in 185 minutes.

Langer and Brown were careful against Cooke and Eagleson but there were 10 wides in the first seven overs. In the seventh over Cooke bowled Langer "through the gate". 23-1-4. Cooke should have had another wicket at 56 in the 13th over. Brown (25) gave an easy chance to Eagleson at slip. McCrum came on at 69 and gave away eight in this first over including a boundary of wides. In his next over McCrum redeemed himself. He squared up Johnson and bowled him with a ball that kept low. The 63 run stand had come in 65 balls. 86-2-26.

Dwyer had now come on and he bowled beautifully and put a brake on the scoring rate. Ramprakash had come in and 100 was posted in the 22nd over. Dwyer's next over was a maiden and off the last ball he caught and bowled Brown chest high off a fierce drive. 104-3-46. Ramprakash hit one of only two four's off Dwyer's bowling and then took two off McCrum whose six overs cost 33. Heasley came on and Dwyer finished his 10 overs at 138 after the 35th over. He had one for 23 and had taken three for 122 in the three Benson & Hedges matches.

McCrum came back and 150 was up after 39 overs. Then Ramprakash hit Heasley for a six and a four. Pooley also quickened and 79 had been put on in just over 21 overs. Eagleson returned for McCrum and had Pooley very well held by McCallan low at deep square leg. 183-4-31 . Ramprakash finished the match with two fours off Heasley, the last two balls of the 48th over. Overall Ireland had done well, particularly Dwyer and, to a lesser extent, Eagleson.