Hosts Denmark made a successful entrance to the European Under-17 Division 2 championship at Svanholm on Monday, posting a comfortable six-wicket victory over Italy.
Put in to bat in unfamiliar conditions the Italians showed commendable application in the early part of their innings, and did well to reach 65 for two in the 30th over. But they were unable to score freely against a generally accurate Danish attack, and with a lush, slow outfield the first boundary did not come until the 35th over.
Hassan Ahmad and skipper Abdullah Chowdhury put on 45 for the second wicket, but it took them twenty overs to do so, and once Chowdhury was out for a patient 86-ball 29, wickets started to fall as the middle order struggled to accelerate the scoring rate.
Danish captain Adeel Akhtar bowled a fine spell of spin, taking three for 35 in his ten overs, and while Mads Nyeng was rewarded with just a single wicket, his spell was even more parsimonious, conceding just 24 runs.
Shahrukh Butt was the most successful of the later Italian batsmen, with his 20 coming from just 28 deliveries, while Munna Ahammed had the distinction of hitting the only six of the match, a huge straight blow which disappeared into the undergrowth beyond the sightscreen.
Of the Danish seamers Mohammed Ali Shah was the most successful with two for 21, while his new-ball partner Mads Hedevang took one for eight in five overs, and that included six wides.
Italy needed quick wickets if they were to have any chance of defending their modest total of 131, especially since Denmark started with the bonus of five penalty runs imposed after the Italian batsmen had persistently offended by running down the pitch.
Imran Khan and keeper Asif Ali combined twice in the first seven overs to remove the openers Fazan Ahmed – brilliantly caught down the leg side – and Mads Rasmussen and reduce the home side to 29 for two. Asif claimed a third catch off Shenal Amarakoon to dismiss Mati Malik and make it 49 for three, and it seemed that the Italians might be in with a chance.
But then Mads Henriksen and Lavanish Premachandran put on 79 for the fourth wicket in the highest partnership of the match, and by the time Henriksen was caught at mid-off off Imran’s bowling as, on 48, he attempted to reach his half-century in style, only four more runs were required.
Henriksen’s mature knock took 78 deliveries and included two boundaries. Premachandran, who finished on 20 not out, and Adeel Akhtar finished it off with a series of singles, and Denmark had won with almost 18 overs to spare.
Imran was the most successful of the Italian bowlers with three for 19.
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