Defending champions Pakistan survived a spirited performance by New Zealand to sneak home by 27 runs in a low-scoring game in the ICC Under-19 World Cup at the picturesque MPTI ground in southern Malaysia on Tuesday.
Having won the toss, New Zealand decided to field first and that decision was quickly vindicated as Pakistan struggled to 8-2 and then 28-4.
In fact, but for crucial contributions from Usman Salah-ud-Din (53) and Ali Asad (42) Pakistan would have fallen far short of its eventual meagre total of 156 all out.
The wickets were spread around the Kiwi attack with Tim Southee, Trent Boult and Anurag Verma snaffling two apiece and they all bowled with discipline and control, well backed up by some good fielding.
But, in reply, New Zealand's batsmen were not to receive the same success as Pakistan set about defending its low total with fervour and skill. The theme of tight bowling was continued and New Zealand fell badly behind in the run-rate as the pressure rose.
That said, at 49-2 and even at 99-5, Kane Williamson's team was still very much in contention but Pakistan never gave in and three run-outs certainly didn't help the young Black Caps' cause.
Eventually they fell 27 runs short of victory, with Ahmad Shahzad taking 3-35.
Meanwhile, at Kinrara Oval, a devastating spell of swing bowling by India's Pradeep Sangwan was too much for South Africa to handle in what had been billed as the big match of Group B.
The conditions leant themselves to movement through the air and Sangwan made the very most of them, ripping through South Africa's top order and finishing with 5-44, the best figures an India bowler has registered in any U/19 CWC.
Sangwan dominated the early exchanges of the match and left SA reeling on 45-5, with the talented left-armer bagging all of them.
Jonathan Vandiar (53) and captain Wayne Parnell (31) threatened to stage a recovery for the junior Proteas but then spinner Ravindra Jadeja got in on the act and took three quick wickets to make sure SA only managed 149 all out in just 30.5 overs.
When it came India's turn to bat, it did not look any less confident. Opener Taruwar Kohli hit a stylish and unhurried half-century while number three Tanmay Srivastava chipped in with 47 as India took its time, knocking off the runs in 42 overs for the loss of four wickets.
Although mathematically, India could still lose out, there is nothing from this impressive performance to suggest that this side will be anywhere else but top of the table when the group stage is complete.
Elsewhere, Nepal gave Australia a scare in Penang as, batting first, the Aussies were bowled out for just 206. Nepal captain Paras Khadka (4-32 off 10 overs) bowled beautifully but Australia managed to creep to a respectable total thanks to Phillip Hughes (46), Kirk Pascoe (37) and Michael Cramner (32).
In the end, it proved too many for Nepal because, not for the first time, its batsmen were unable to match the performance of the bowlers. In the end it fell 96 runs short with Rahul Vishwakarma top scoring with 33 not out and Clive Rose (3-21), James Pattinson (3-25) and Steven Smith (3-25) doing the business for Australia.
England easily overcame the challenge of Bermuda in the day's Group D match at Royal Selangor Club. Having won the toss and decided to bat, Bermuda was then dismissed for just 58 with Hampshire slow left-armer Liam Dawson (3-15) doing most of the damage.
England's openers picked off the runs in just 10.4 overs with James Taylor hitting 43 not out ensuring his side won by 10 wickets. After two games, England is yet to lose a wicket in the U/19 CWC having beaten Ireland by the same margin on the opening day.
On Wednesday, in Group A, Zimbabwe plays Malaysia at MPTI in Johor while in Group B the West Indies takes on Papua New Guinea at the Royal Selangor Club in Kuala Lumpur. Also in the capital, Bangladesh faces Ireland at Bayuemas in Group D and in Penang, Sri Lanka will play Namibia in a Group C clash.
Scores in brief:
At MPTI, Johor, Pakistan beat New Zealand by 27 runs
Pakistan 156 all out, 47.1 overs (Usman Salah-ud-Din 53, Ali Asad 42; Trent Boult 2-21, Tim Southee 2-29, Anurag Verma 2-41).
New Zealand 129 all out, 47.2 overs (Harry Boam 38; Ahmad Shahzad 3-35).
At USM, Penang, Australia beat Nepal by 96 runs
Australia 206 all out, 49.3 overs (Phillip Hughes 46, Kirk Pascoe 37, Michael Cramner 32; Paras Khadka 4-32, Raj Shrestha 3-32, Rahul Vishwakarma 2-34).
Nepal 110 all out, 32.1 overs (Rahul Vishwakarma 33 not out; Clive Rose 3-21, James Pattinson 3-25, Steven Smith 3-25).
At Kinrara Oval, India beat South Africa by six wickets
South Africa 149 all out, 30.1 (Jonathan Vandiar 53, Wayne Parnell 31; Pradeep Sangwan 5-44, Ravindra Jadeja 3-23)
India 153-4, 30.1 overs (Taruwar Kohli 54, Tanmay Srivastava 47; Wayne Parnell 2-27).
At Royal Selangor Club, England beat Bermuda by 10 wickets
Bermuda 55 all out, 28.5 overs (Liam Dawson 3-15, Stuart Meaker 2-6, Steven Finn 2-8, James Harris 2-22)
England 56-0, 10.4 overs (James Taylor 43 not out).