There was almost an upset on the fourth day of group matches in the 2012 Under-19 World Cup in Queensland as Afghanistan displayed the tenacity for which their senior side are renowned and almost pulled off a remarkable win over New Zealand.
The Black Caps won the toss and elected to bat, but had slipped to 20 for three in the eighth over after an early double-strike from Sayed Shirzad. Robert O’Donnell and Henry Walsh then added a composed 108 for the fourth-wicket – both men hitting half-centuries – but Yamin Ahmadzai removed the latter for 52 and Shirzad struck twice more shortly afterwards, dispensing with O’Donnell for 69 and wicket-keeper Cam Fletcher for 17. Yamin Ahmadzai then picked up three late wickets to also end with four and New Zealand were bowled out for 198 off the final ball of their innings.
In reply, the Afghans also lost early wickets, courtesy of New Zealand’s impressive opening pair of Jacob Duffy and Matthew Quinn, and found themselves 26 for five in the 10th over. Mohibullah Paak began the recovery with the aid of Najibullah Zadran, but departed for 21 to off-spinner Arnie Yugaraja, leaving Zadran and new batsman Afsar Khan to continue the job with a seventh-wicket stand of 51.
Zadran fell for 69 in the 40th over to swing the match back New Zealand’s way, but the underdogs weren’t finished yet and progressed to 178 without losing another wicket thanks to Afsar (42) and Yamin Ahmadzai (17). Ultimately they ended short, on 190 for nine, but not before they had almost delivered the first real shock result of the tournament.
Ireland could manage only 129 after winning the toss and choosing to bat against Australia in Townsville. Robin Kelly and Ryan Hunter added 33 for the first wicket, but it was downhill for the Irish thereafter as Alex Gregroy and Shane Casel each took three wickets and only one other batsman passed 20. Australia stuttered a little in reply, with George Dockrell delivering his 10 overs at a cost of just 10 runs, but got home relatively comfortably thanks to an unbroken partnership of 59 between skipper William Bosisto (36 not out off 84 balls) and Sam Hain (26 off 64).
India piled up 261 for six in Group C against Zimbabwe, which, in spite of a superb 118 from 18 year-old Malcolm Lake proved more than enough to record their first win of the tournament. Kamal Passi took six for 23 for the Indians as only one other batsman reached double figures. Earlier, Prashant Chopra and Unmukt Chand had both compiled half-centuries during an opening stand of 139 which had set India on the right path. Baba Aparajith (24 off 43 balls) and Hanuma Vihari (32 off 45) then added some solidity in the middle of the innings, before Passi finished it with a flourish, hitting 24 not out off only five balls.
South Africa’s openers both hit centuries during their side’s 209-run demolition of their African neighbours Namibia in Brisbane. Quinton de Kock and Chad Bowes added a mammoth 212 in just 191 balls for the first wicket as South Africa amassed 359 for six from their 50 overs. Namibia were never in the hunt and fell well short, being bowled out for 150 in the 46th over, with Theunis de Bruyn picking up four cheap wickets.
Tomorrow sees three more group matches take place, the pick of them being South Africa’s clash against Sri Lanka in Brisbane. The others are Afghanistan against Scotland in Buderim and Ireland versus Nepal in Townsville.
© Cricket World 2012
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