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By Peter Della Penna in (on Twitter)
USA exercised some mental demons on Thursday in Kuala Lumpur when they defeated Denmark by four wickets in a warm-up fixture at Royal Selangor Club ahead of 2012 ICC WCL Division Four, which starts Monday in Malaysia. In January 2011, USA lost twice to Denmark at ICC WCL Division Three in Hong Kong, failing to chase targets of 194 and 241, but on Thursday they were set 173 to win and managed to get across the line with 15 overs to spare.
USA won the toss at Royal Selangor Club and sent Denmark in to bat. The three players in USA’s squad who didn’t participate in the warm-up are the three players still yet to arrive in Malaysia: Aditya Mishra, Usman Shuja and Steven Taylor. However, USA’s victory without them will give the squad a big confidence boost knowing that they won without three players who will almost certainly be in USA’s first choice starting XI come Monday, September 3 in USA’s first match of the tournament against Malaysia.
Denmark’s highest score off the bat came from opener Shehzad Ahmed, who made 25 off 62 balls, as no one was able to go on to make a significant score after getting a start. The biggest partnership of the innings for Denmark was 47 runs for the second wicket between Ahmed and Anders Lambert, who made 22. It was broken by Muhammad Ghous, who had Ahmed caught behind by Akeem Dodson, one of three dismissals completed by the wicketkeeper.
The second high score in the innings for Denmark came from extras with 24, including eight byes. USA’s bowling attack turned in a solid combined performance. Playing in his first match in a USA uniform since July 2011, Timroy Allen opened the bowling and took 2 for 37 in 10 overs with three maidens. Left-arm seamer Elmore Hutchinson finished with 0 for 18 off six and Orlando Baker took 1 for 26 in seven.
In the spin department, Ghous claimed 1 for 25 in 10 overs while fellow off-spinner Abhimanyu Rajp finished with USA’s best figures on the day, taking 3 for 33 off 10 including the wickets of Lambert and Denmark captain Michael Pedersen. USA captain Steve Massiah took 2 for 15 in six overs while Ryan Corns bowled one over, taking 0 for 7. Denmark was 74 for 1 at one stage but lost wickets at fairly regular intervals from there on out, eventually getting bowled out on the final ball of the innings for 172.
Dodson and Sushil Nadkarni opened the batting for USA. The side stumbled at the start of the chase when Dodson was dismissed for a second-ball duck followed six balls later by the departure of Massiah for 5 to put USA in an early hole at 11 for 2 in the third over.
Aditya Thyagarajan joined Nadkarni and the two veterans steadied the ship for USA by adding 74 for the third wicket. Nadkarni scored at the quicker pace, eventually finishing with 41 off 36 balls, including five fours and three sixes before he was dismissed by Hamid Shah in the 15th over.
Image (right) - Aditya Thyagarajan file photo. [Courtesy: Bryan Vandenburgh/ICC]
Corns came in and scored 12 off 29 at number five before he was bowled by Henrik Hansen to make it 110 for 4 at the start of the 23rd. Thyagarajan, playing in his first match for USA since getting injured against Denmark in Hong Kong last year, fell just short of a half-century when he was caught behind off Hansen for 48 off 78 balls, including seven fours and a six, to make it 133 for 5.
Baker fell LBW for 11 in the 32nd to leave the score at 151 for 6 and give Denmark a sniff at victory but Andy Mohammed and Allen erased any doubts with a 27 run-stand off just 19 balls to seal the match for USA. Mohammed struck four boundaries in his 18 not out off 20 balls while Allen clubbed two sixes, including one maximum that brought up the winning runs, in his short stay to finish 14 not out off 10 balls as USA sealed the win with 90 balls remaining.
DreamCricket.com will have live coverage for all of USA’s matches at ICC WCL Division Four beginning with the team’s first match on Monday against Malaysia from Bayuemas Oval. Each match is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. local time, 10:30 p.m. EST and 7:30 p.m. PST the previous day in America.