England and India set the trend of what is expected to be two weeks of high-quality action in this month's ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup when they defeated Pakistan and New Zealand respectively in tight finishes on the opening day of the warm-up matches in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Monday.
England surprised two-time defending champion Pakistan by six wickets at the Kilat Club while India was stretched to the limits by New Zealand before claiming a six-run victory at the Club Aman.
Elsewhere, Bangladesh recorded a comfortable 165-run victory against host Malaysia at the Royal Military College, with opener Mohammad Mithun scoring 81, while Ireland recovered from a precarious 126-6 while chasing 180 to beat Papua New Guinea by two wickets with James Hall hitting an undefeated 70.
Pakistan lived up to its expectations of being slow starters in tournament when its batters struggled to find their feet to post just 217-6 in 50 overs. Umar Amin finished as the top scorer with 67, in a knock that came off 129 balls and included four fours, while other contributions came from Umar Mir (34 not out), Shan Masood (28) and Usman Salahuddin (22).
For England, 6ft 8in fast bowler Steven Finn quickly established himself as a player to watch when he finished with 2-23 while Dan Redfern bagged 2-22.
Opening batsmen Billy Godleman and James Taylor made sure that England got off to a winning start when they featured in a 110-run partnership as Alex Wakely's team achieved victory with four wickets and eight balls to spare.
Godleman was the more careful of the two openers hitting just two fours and a six in a 112-ball 61 while Taylor belted seven boundaries in his 77-ball 52.
England had slumped from 110-0 to 166-6 but Ben Brown (25 not out) and Liam Dawson (25 not out) put on 52 runs for the unbroken seventh wicket.
For Pakistan, the frontline bowlers remained far from impressive as wickets were shared by Ahmad Shahzad and Shazaib Ahmed.
In another nerve-wracking thriller, India was made to sweat by New Zealand. Batting first, India scored 281-9 with Shreevats Goswami hitting a flawless 91 from 101 balls with seven fours and two sixes, and Ravindra Jadeja slamming a quick-fire 71 with five fours and two sixes.
Captain Virat Kohli (36) and Taruwar Kohli (34) were the other notable run-getters as Nicholas Beard and Tim Soothee shared six wickets between them.
New Zealand made a spirited run-chase after collapsing to 57-3 but fell just six shorts and ended on 275-8. Opener George Worker and Corey Anderson featured in a 115-run fourth wicket partnership while Fraser Colson and Anurag Verma added 66 runs for the ninth wicket.
Worker scored 69 from 111 balls with five fours, Corey Anderson slapped three sixes and three fours from 84 balls, Colson chipped in with 36 not out and Verma contributed 29 not out.
For India, fast bowler Pradeep Sanghwan bowled with a lot of fire and venom to return figures of 4-52 while Einstein Napolean bowled intelligently for his 2-41.
Scores in brief:
At Kilat Club, England beat Pakistan by six wickets
Pakistan 217-6, 50 overs (Umar Amin 67, Umar Mir 34)
England 218-6, 48.4 overs (Billy Godleman 61, James Taylor 52)
At Selangor Turf Club, Ireland beat PNG by two wickets
PNG 179 all out, 45.4 overs (Heni Siaka 81; Gavin McKenna 3-33, Andrew Britton 2-21, James Hall 2-21)
Ireland 180-8, 40.5 overs (James Hall 70 not out; Colin Amini 3-47)
At Royal Military College, Bangladesh beat Malaysia by 161 runs
Bangladesh 270-8, 50 overs (Md Mithun 81, Md nasir Hossain 36, Mahmudul Hasan 31)
Malaysia 105 all out, 38.5 overs (Ahmad Faiz 35; Md Nasir Hossain 3-20, Md Sohrawardi Shuvo 3-23)
At Club Aman, India beat New Zealand by six runs
India 281-9, 50 overs (Shreevats Goswami 91, Ravindra Jadeja 71, Virat Kohli 36, Taruwar Kohli 34)
New Zealand 275-8, 50 overs (Gregory Worker 69, Corey Anderson 56, Fraser Colson 36 not out, Anurag Verma 29 not out; Pradeep Sanghwan 4-52)