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Rediff.com  » Cricket » India take top spot in Group C

India take top spot in Group C

Last updated on: February 11, 2006 00:48 IST

Scorecard | Final points table

India beat Sri Lanka by four wickets to take the top place in Group C and book a meeting with the West Indies in the quarter-finals of the Under-19 World Cup in Colombo on Friday.

But they did not do so without a few alarms.

India coach Venkatesh Prasad said the test his players got against Sri Lanka in their last group match was exactly what they needed ahead of the Super League quarter-final.

Sri Lanka reached 117-2 at one point after opting to bat first and looked set for a large score before they were pegged back and had to be content with 207.

Then, when India batted, the hosts reduced them to 28 for 3, only for Rohit Sharma (78) and super sub Mayank Tehlan (64) to add a match-winning 132 for the fourth wicket.

"That was absolutely what we needed," said Prasad after the match.

"Our first two matches have been very one-sided but this was a fantastic test for the players, for their character and for the standards they have set.

"We lost three early wickets and chasing a score over 200 the pressure was on, but Rohit and Mayank were fantastic and never panicked.

"I was pretty happy with the way we bowled as well to restrict Sri Lanka to their final score on a flat pitch and our fielding was fantastic with two run-outs and good catches.

"We did our job today," he added.

Sri Lanka, despite their relatively modest score, only had themselves to blame for not winning the match.

They dropped four catches by the kindest count, including Sharma three times and the Indian batsmen were in no mood to let generosity like that go to waste.

Sharma played superbly through the off-side and stroked six fours and two sixes in a 105-ball innings while Tehlan, India's super sub, hit three fours in a patient 110-ball innings.

There was some concern when he was dismissed as he collapsed after hitting a sweep shot to be caught at deep midwicket and he had to be helped from the ground.

Prasad said he thought the problem was cramps and hoped the player would be fit for the Super League quarter-final against the West Indies on Saturday.

Sri Lanka lost their way when they batted, sliding from 117-2 to 134-6 and it took a captain's innings of 52 from 68 balls from Angelo Mathews to get them up over the 200 mark.

He hit four fours and two sixes, including one shot over the ropes over extra-cover to bring up his half-century the ball before he was dismissed, the third and final victim of Vijaykumar Yomahesh.

The seamer was India's most successful bowler with 3-33, while there were two wickets for up-and-coming leg-spinner Piyush Chawla (2-35) and a wicket each for seamer Saurabh Bandekar (1-51), Ravindra Jadeja (1-37) and Sharma (1-3).

Pakistan rout New Zealand to charge into the Super League

Scorecard | Final points table

Defending champions Pakistan charged into the Super League as they routed Group A rivals New Zealand by eight wickets with the match finishing before the scheduled lunch break.

They dismissed their opponents for just 77 after winning the toss and then knocked off the required runs in just nine overs and the whole game was wrapped up in three hours.

The win sends Pakistan into the last eight of the tournament where they will face the winners of the England-Zimbabwe clash on Saturday.

For New Zealand there is the knowledge they have failed to qualify for the Super League for the first time in their history and they will now take part in the Plate Championship where they will face Ireland on Tuesday.

Conditions were extremely helpful for the Pakistan bowlers following heavy overnight rain that flooded the ground but the bowlers still had to exploit those conditions and Pakistan had two players who did just that.

Anwer Ali Khan and Jamshaid Ahmed were the chief wreckers in an innings that lasted just 24 overs.

Anwer took 5-34 in a full ten over spell while Jamshaid Ahmed took 3-14 from nine overs.  The only other bowler used was fellow seamer Akhtar Ayub and he picked up 1-23 in five overs.

To his credit, New Zealand coach Dipak Patel did not blame those conditions as a major factor in his side's collapse.

Only two New Zealand batsmen reached double figures -- opener Todd Astle, New Zealand's in-form batsman of the tournament so far, with 12, while Roneel Hira struck a defiant 28 not out.  Extras contributed 17 to the total, including six wides and five no-balls.

New Zealand did have the consolation of avoiding the lowest total of the tournament, so far, a dubious honour that remains with Uganda after the African side made 74 against Pakistan on Monday.

And they also avoided their lowest-ever total in the history of the ICC U/19 Cricket World Cup, the 53 they made against Australia in Moratuwa during the 2000 tournament.

New Zealand's total was disastrous but it could have been a lot worse for them as, at one stage, they were 17-6.

Marc Ellison's side reached 13-0 before the bowlers broke through with Jamshaid removing Martin Guptill (1), bowled, and Ellison leg before wicket (0) while Anwer dismissed Shaun Fitzgibbon (1), Andrew de Boorder (0) and Kieran Noema-Barnett (6).

And to make matters worse for New Zealand, Ronald Karaitiana was run out for nought, not an ideal dismissal with the bowling side already on top.

Colin Munro was drafted in as super sub to replace Hamish Bennett when the seventh wicket went down but he managed just one scoring shot -- albeit a six -- before Anwer got him as well.

Astle was the other one of Anwer's victims, one of two catches behind the stumps for Pakistan captain Safaraz Ahmed, who must have been thankful for winning the toss.

Hira's defiance was one of the few positives to come out of the innings for New Zealand as he struck two fours and a six in a 60-ball innings that spanned 90 tough minutes at the crease.

Pakistan had a small target to chase but they made quick work of it as Ali Khan struck an unbeaten 30 from only 29 balls to see his side home.

Tim Southee (1-25) and Hira (1-3) took the wickets for New Zealand but the bowlers faced a near-hopeless task after the failures of their batsmen.

Pakistan coach Mansoor Rana was ecstatic at the way his players had dealt with the pressure of their must-win match.

"This is what these boys are capable of doing," he said.

"They can embarrass you like they did against Bangladesh when we collapsed but they can do this as well and if we can do this then we are capable of doing it against anyone.

"There is no chance of us giving up the World Cup without a fight as we are here for that purpose.

"The boys are going to do our best as they have done today and now we must carry on because every game is a final and we must give it our maximum."

Johnson's innings helps South Africa win

Scorecard | Final points table

A captain's innings by Leon Johnson propelled the West Indies in a Super League quarter-final showdown with India.

Johnson made 83 and together with Jason Mohammed (76 not out) they added 148 for the third wicket to spearhead their side's comfortable seven-wicket win against South Africa.

It was a winner-takes-all match and the West Indies took the honours while the Proteas missed out on that Super League berth and had to be content with a place in the Plate Championship, where they will play Scotland next Tuesday.

The West Indies were chasing South Africa's 213-8 and they lost two early wickets which must have sent shudders through the dressing room after they failed in their previous run-chase, against Australia on Wednesday.

But the answer of Johnson, together with Mohammed, was to dig in against the new ball attack of Craig Alexander (1-51) and Wayne Parnell (2-31) before opening out later on.

Johnson's innings spanned 131 minutes, during which time he faced 100 balls and hit 11 fours and a six and when he was dismissed, with 49 still needed, Mohammed made sure there were no late alarms.

He faced 126 balls and like his captain, hit 11 fours and he had the pleasure of a close-up view as Gajanand Singh finished the match with a flourish, scoring an unbeaten 34 from just 25 balls, including four fours and two sixes.

South Africa must have always suspected they did not have enough runs, as despite a battling 90 from opener Pieter Daneel they failed to capitalise on a good start after the match was delayed for 30 mins due to wet outfield following overnight rain.

Daneel and Jean Symes (25) added 64 for the first wicket and South Africa were 108-1 at one stage before the West Indies bowlers began to assert themselves and it was spin that was the key.

Sunil Narine took 2-29, Rishi Bachan, the only survivor of the West Indies side that reached the final two years ago, took 1-27 and Sharmarh Brooks captured 2-43.

Daneel struck six fours during a 125-ball stay at the crease but the latter stages of his innings were handicapped by cramp and he required extensive treatment before he was able to carry on with assistance from a runner.

Perhaps it was no surprise to see a player cramping because of high humidity at the P.Saravanamuttu Stadium following heavy overnight rain which soaked the ground and led to a 30 minute delay at the start.

Apart from Symes and Daneel, the only other South Africa player to pass 20 runs was Richard Das Neves, who made a defiant 32 from 39 balls before opening bowler Javon Searles (2-56) returned late on to dismiss him.

And Johnson was confident ahead of Saturday's Super League quarter-final despite the prospect of playing the tournament favourites.

The West Indies were without opener Richard Ramdeen, who was still not 100 percent fit after taking a blow on his right wrist while fielding against Australia on Wednesday.

Williams' Zimbabwe gets the Balance right

Scorecard | Final points table

Zimbabwe captain Sean Williams said before the tournament he was targeting England as a must-win game and he was as good as his word on Friday, leading from the front as his side secured a narrow win that ensured they topped Group D.

Williams' 3-35 was crucial as the spin-inspired Africans knocked over Moeen Ali's line-up for 172 and then chased down the score for the loss of eight wickets with 2.5 overs in hand.

It means Zimbabwe will face Pakistan, the runners-up in Group A, in the Super League quarter-final on Saturday while England will go up against the winners of that group, Bangladesh.

And Williams said afterwards: "I feel relieved after what I said beforehand.

"I am also very proud of my players because we stuck to our plans, worked hard and got our rewards."

That plan involved spin, spin and more spin as Williams used four slow bowlers including himself to get through 34.5 overs between them.

And in the face of that trial by spin, England were found wanting.

They did reach 157-4 at one point but the pressure exerted by the spinners and the need to press on in the later stages of the innings prompted a collapse with the last six wickets tumbling for just 15 runs.

The Zimbabwe spin quartet was led by Williams who dismissed Rob Woodman (6), Rory Hamilton-Brown (47) and last man Andy Miller (4) but the other spinners -- all of them leg-break bowlers -- also played their parts.

Ryan Higgins (2-33) picked up the important top-order wickets of Varun Chopra (31) and Ali (19) while Gary Balance (who bowled the last over in the win against Nepal) took 3-21.

Balance mopped up the tail while Graeme Cremer, although wicketless, did an effective job of containment, conceding just 28 runs in his ten over spell.

Chopra and Hamilton-Brown were the only England batsmen to pass 30, although Ben Wright chipped in with a useful 27.

"The pitch was one where the slower you bowled it the harder it was to hit so I told Gary (Balance) to slow things down," said Williams.

"It was important for us to top the group but now we have a tough game against Pakistan.

"They will be out to prove a point but maybe they will be complacent and we hope to use that against them."

Balance followed up his bowling exploits with a timely contribution with the bat.

While wickets were tumbling around him he dug in to make a crucial 47 batting at number three and pulled his side around from a precarious 29-3.

Despite Balance's man-of-the-match effort England were still favourites when they took Zimbabwe's seventh wicket with 65 required but Cremer (29) and 'Chamu' Chibhabha, with a nerveless unbeaten 29, saw their side through that sticky period.

England's spinners were excellent, with Graeme White (0-24), Nick James (2-25) and Ali (2-29) all impressing and pace bowler Andy Miller (2-28) also impressing early on.

But in the end they did not have enough runs to play with.

England's next opponents Bangladesh gave them a torrid time on a tour there in November and December and England returned home from that trip without winning a match.

"All we can do is to go out there and give it everything and maybe Bangladesh might underestimate us.

"In some ways it was good to play like we did today because we can learn from that when we play tomorrow," added Ali.

England were without opener Mark Stoneman and seam bowler Huw Waters, both of them suffering from stomach upsets.

------------------------------------------------

Final points table:

GROUP A
COUNTRY P W L TIE ND POINTS
BAN 3 3 0 0 0 6
PAK 3 2 1 0 0 4
NZ 3 1 2 0 0 2
UGA 3 0 3 0 0 0

GROUP B
COUNTRY P W L TIE ND POINTS
AUS 3 3 0 0 0 6
WI 3 2 1 0 0 4
SA 3 1 2 0 0 2
USA 3 0 3 0 0 0

GROUP C
COUNTRY P W L TIE ND POINTS
IND 3 3 0 0 0 6
SL 3 2 1 0 0 4
NAM 3 1 2 0 0 2
SCO 3 0 3 0 0 0

GROUP D
COUNTRY P W L TIE ND POINTS
ZIM 3 3 0 0 0 6
ENG 3 2 1 0 0 4
NEP 3 1 2 0 0 2
IRE 3 0 3 0 0 0