India reached the final of the Under-19 World Cup with a tense nine-run win over New Zealand in Townsville. They will now play tournament hosts Australia in Sunday’s final.
The Indians were put in to bat by New Zealand captain Will Young and got off to a solid start thanks to an opening stand of 51 between Prashant Chopra and Unmukt Chand. Chand departed for 31 to the medium-pace of Connor Neynens, but Chopra added a further 81 for the second-wicket with Baba Aparajith, who was later named man of the match for the second consecutive game. Chopra made 52 and Aparajith 44, but the Blacks Caps’ bowers fought back well towards the end and, aided by some excellent fielding, restricted India to 73 for seven from their final 15 overs. Ben Horne ended with figures of three for 28 from six overs as India closed on 209 for nine.
New Zealand limped to 63 for four in the 18th over of their innings and looked to be going nowhere as Harmeet Singh picked up two wickets. However, Robert O’Donnell and Cam Fletcher put on 56 for the fifth-wicket to spark a recovery. O’Donnell fell for 29 to Aparajith, but Fletcher was joined by Neynens and the pair added a further 36 for the sixth-wicket. Unfortunately, Fletcher was bowled by Sandeep Shama for 53 to make it 173 for eight, and, in spite of a valiant unbeaten 21 off only 16 balls from Jacob Duffy, New Zealand ended short on 200 for nine.
Nepal bowled Papua New Guinea out for just 89 to record a respectable 13th place finish in this year’s tournament. Slow left-arm spinner Rahul Vishwakarma took six for three from 6.4 overs as only four of the Papua New Guinea batsman reached double figures. Nepal lost wicket-keeper Subash Khakurel for a duck in the third over, but Sagar Pun (20) and Naresh Budayair (27) both made useful contributions and they won by six wickets in the 19th over.
Skipper Matthew Bentley and Ryan Burl both hit half-centuries as Zimbabwe avoided the embarrassment of the wooden spoon by winning the 15th place play-off against Namibia in Brisbane. They made 236 for nine from their 50 overs after electing to bat and eased home by 70 runs by bowling Namibia out for 166. Namibian wicket-keeper Gerhard Erasmus top-scored with 32, but Luke Jongwe and Peacemore Zimwa each took three wickets.
Tomorrow, Brisbane plays host to the final of the plate competition, where Afghanistan take on Test nation Sri Lanka for the honour of finishing in ninth position. Elsewhere, England’s disappointing tournament concludes with a fifth place play-off against West Indies; Bangladesh take on Pakistan in the seventh place play-off; and Ireland play local rivals Scotland for the honour of an 11th place finish.
© Cricket World 2012
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