Sri Lanka thumped Namibia in a low-scoring clash while West Indies and Pakistan added important wins in the ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup 2024.
Jewel Andrew shone yet again as West Indies got off the mark on the points table with an important win over Scotland in Potchefstroom. Coming off a spectacular hundred in the tournament opener, Andrew stood unbeaten with a half-century to steer his side home.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka prevailed over Namibia in another low-scoring affair in Kimberley with the bowlers putting up quite a show in the second half of the game. Earlier, it required Supun Waduge’s composed half-century to save Sri Lanka’s blushes with the bat after Namibia yet again impressed with the ball.
Elsewhere, Pakistan eased home to a second successive win on the back of another good batting performance. Azan Awais led the charge for Pakistan with the bat in the run-chase after spinners Arafat Minhas and Ahmed Hussain restricted Nepal to a modest total in East London.
Pakistan beat Nepal by five wickets in East London
Pakistan 201/5 (47.4 overs) v Nepal 197 (50 overs)
In East London, Nepal put up a tough fight against Pakistan after opting to bat first.
The openers got off to a quickfire start aided by some wayward bowling from Pakistan’s new ball bowlers, but Ahmed Hussain’s introduction at first-change brought the breakthrough.
The leg-spinner cleaned up Arjun Kamal and then had Aakash Tripathi caught in the next over. A composed Bipin Rawal and skipper Dev Khanal rebuilt for Nepal but left-arm spinners Arafat Minhas and Ali Asfand helped Pakistan take back control in the game.
Asfand produced the breakthrough by sending back Khanal (23) in the 18th over. Minhas then dismissed wicketkeeper Uttam Magar and the well-settled Rawal (39) in fairly quick succession.
From 80/2, Nepal slipped to 96/5, but they fought back with the lower middle-order contributing runs.
Gulshan Jha, Deepak Dumre and Subash Bhandari added over 60 runs between them and with further runs from the No.10 Aakash Chand, Nepal reached a respectable 197.
Minhas with three wickets was the key bowler for Pakistan with Ubaid Shah snaring the final two wickets off back-to-back deliveries in the final over.
In reply, an 80-run opening stand between Shamyl Hussain and Shahzaib Khan, who had made a hundred in the first game, gave Pakistan a strong platform.
The two were watchful at the start, scoring only 33 runs in the first 10 overs, but runs started to flow better after the Powerplay overs.
Just as it seemed Pakistan were cruising to the target, Chand struck a double blow in the 22nd over, sending back both openers in the space of three deliveries.
He added a third a few overs later by dismissing Minhas for eight. Aakash Tripathi joined in on the act with a fourth wicket in the 28th over and Pakistan were suddenly in a spot of bother at 104/4.
However, Azam Awais stood firm for Pakistan from No.4, with Hassan lending a good hand. The fifth-wicket stand of 54 put Pakistan on top in the game and erased any hopes of an upset win for Nepal.
Dipesh Kandel dismissed Hussain for 29, but Awais remained unbeaten on 63*, taking his team to a win with a lofted hit for four over mid-on.
Pakistan take on New Zealand in their final game, with both teams having already made the Super Six stage. Nepal, meanwhile, with two losses, will need a win against Afghanistan to stay in contention.
Player of the Match Azan Awais identified his stand with Hassan as a crucial part of the run-chase.
“The pitch was tough in the second innings, the ball wasn’t coming on easily. Ahmad [Hassan] and me planned to play till the last. We batted really well to win the game despite the wickets in the middle overs.”
Sri Lanka beat Namibia by 77 runs in Kimberley
Sri Lanka 133 (37.5 overs) v Namibia 56 (27 overs)
Namibia produced a stirring display with the ball after opting to bowl first in Kimberley, which had witnessed low-scoring matches earlier in the tournament.
The Sri Lankan openers were off to a cautious start before a run-out saw the back of the dangerous Pulindu Perera. It was the opening Namibia were seeking, and Zacheo van Vuuren exploited it by taking four wickets between overs 10 to 20.
Reduced to 71/5, Sri Lanka were banking on No.3 Supun Waduge to carry them to safety and he did so with a sublime half-century in tricky conditions.
Meanwhile, wickets continued to tumble at the other end as Johannes de Villiers took three of them to send Sri Lanka from 122/6 to 133 all out.
Namibia, who had given Australia a scare in their first fixture, had an opportunity to win against Sri Lanka, but any hopes of that were shut out in the early stages of their innings thanks to a spirited comeback from the Sri Lankan bowlers.
De Villiers battled it out in the Powerplay with his solid defensive shots, but having lost two wickets in the first 10 overs, Namibia needed someone to push back at the Lankan bowlers.
That didn’t happen as the Namibians crumbled post-Powerplay. 18/2 turned to 25/8 in overs 10-20 as Sri Lanka struck at regular intervals to dent the Namibian batting.
Garuka Sanketh, Dinura Kalupahana, Vishwa Lahiru, and Ruvishan Perera were all among the wickets as Sri Lanka put up a strong bowling performance.
Some runs late in the innings from the tailenders lent some level of respectability to Namibia’s final total. But with two losses from as many games, Namibia will need a win against Zimbabwe to qualify for the next round.
Left-arm spinner Lahiru and medium-pacer Perera starred with the ball for Sri Lanka taking three wickets apiece. The two have five wickets each in the tournament currently.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka have a win and a loss from their first two games and take on Australia next.
Speaking of their performance, Namibia skipper Alexander Volschenk said that the team needed to sort out their batting before the next game.
“Our fielding and bowling were significant, but we just crumbled with the bat. We will need to try and sort it out before the next game against Zimbabwe.”
Player of the Match Supun Waduge expressed his elation at playing a massive role in the win.
“I had a positive mindset and did my basics right; I was happy to score some runs. In Sri Lanka, we practised in similar conditions so it was easier for me to adapt to these wickets and play late.”
West Indies beat Scotland by five wickets in Potchefstroom
West Indies 206/5 (35.1 overs) v Scotland 205/9 (50 overs)
Scotland couldn’t capitalise on a great start in Potchefstroom after being put in to bat by the West Indies.
Openers Jamie Dunk and Adi Hegde added 89 for the opening wicket in a solid start for Scotland, but once Nathan Sealy broke the stand, West Indies found a way to consistently pick up wickets to dent Scotland’s charge.
Hegde fell for 32 to Sealy, but Dunk and Alec Price lifted Scotland with a swift partnership that was broken when Raneico Smith dismissed Dunk for 57. Price fell a bit later for 31 when Isai Thorne joined in on the act by cleaning up the batter.
Thorne built on the great dismissal, picking up the wicket of skipper Owen Gould in the same over. He added two more in quick time to reduce Scotland to 171/6.
Bahadar Esakhiel and Ruaridh McIntyre threw the bat around for some crucial runs down the order, but in the end, Scotland had only managed to just cross the 200-run mark.
Thorne made a strong impression with a five-wicket haul, taking his last in the final over of the innings.
In the run-chase, Scotland struck three times in the Powerplay to peg West Indies back. Adrian Weir was dismissed by McIntyre and skipper Stephan Pascal’s run-a-ball charge came to an end when left-arm spinner Logan Briggs had him caught out.
Ibrahim Faisal struck in the very next over as the Windies were in trouble at 45/3. Jordan Johnson and Mavendra Dindyal lifted them out of the precarious situation with a counter-attacking 45-run partnership.
But Scotland managed to find a way back when Hegde struck with the wicket of Dindyal after an eye-catching 24-ball 29. Hegde went on to grab a catch a few overs later off Qasim Khan as West Indies lost Johnson for 24.
Any hopes of a comeback from there were shut down by the excellent Jewel Andrew, fresh off a brilliant hundred last game, smashing a fine half-century at rapid pace.
The wicketkeeper batter was once again in his element, taking the attack to the Scotland bowlers to push West Indies closer to the target.
In Nathan Edwards, he found solid company and the duo put on an unbeaten 95-run partnership that saw West Indies cruise to the target with ease.
West Indies have a win and a loss in two games and take on England next. Meanwhile, Scotland with two losses in two games will now need to beat South Africa in their final game and try and boost their net run rate to stand a chance of progressing to the Super Six stage.
West Indies skipper Stephan Pascal was relieved with the victory that puts them in contention for a Super Six spot. He reserved special praise for the Player of the Match Isai Thorne.