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U19 World Cup: Australia blank England; SA, Bangladesh win

Source: PTI
January 31, 2024 23:51 IST
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IMAGE: Australia picked up big win via DLS over England. Photograph: ICC/X

Australia blanked England while South Africa and Bangladesh showed their bowling prowess with mighty wins over Zimbabwe and USA respectively. In the 16th-place play-off, Afghanistan fought off a spirited USA side to win a low-scoring thriller.

Hugh Weibgen and Callum Vidler starred for Australia in their huge win over England on the second day of Super Six matches at the ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup 2024. Weibgen smashed a brilliant hundred while Vidler picked four wickets to help Australia gain a positive start to the Super Six round.


In Potchefstroom, things went south for Zimbabwe quickly with Kwena Maphaka putting on a masterclass with the new ball. The left-arm quick finished with his second five-wicket haul in the tournament before the South African openers once again flaunted their stroke-making to seal a big victory.

Bangladesh encountered a few hiccups in their win over Nepal, but saw players from the bench step in to make a significant impact in the game in what would be a huge plus for the side.

Outside of the Super Six fixtures, in the 13-16th place play-offs, Afghanistan staved off the USA side that refused to go down without a fight. Even with a low total on board, USA gave it their all to take the game to the final over.

Australia beat England

Left-arm spinner and all-rounder Theo Wylie came into the side and delivered for England with a remarkable four-wicket haul, effectively stalling Australia's charge in Kimberley after England chose to put them in to bat during the Super Six fixture of the U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup 2024.

Australia's key batters, Hugh Weibgen and Harry Dixon, displayed their prowess, with Weibgen scoring a stunning century to capitalise on his excellent form in the tournament. Following the early loss of Sam Konstas to Sebastian Morgan in the very first over, Dixon and Weibgen combined forces to construct a solid partnership at a commendable pace.

It was the introduction of Wylie, the seventh bowler used by England by the 19th over, that finally provided the breakthrough they needed. The left-arm spinner removed the well-set Dixon for 53 with the slog-sweep being caught at deep mid-wicket.

England enjoyed double success in the same Wylie over when wicketkeeper Jack Carney took a terrific catch to dismiss Harjas Singh.

Weibgen and Ryan Hicks then worked to revive the Australian innings, but England's spinners once again proved effective. Leg-spinner Tazeem Ali, who had been consistently outstanding for England throughout the tournament, cleaned up Hicks for 19, breaking a threatening partnership.

Wylie delivered a crucial blow by dismissing the dangerous Tom Campbell before he could inflict much damage. However, Weibgen found the support he needed from Oliver Peake. The two combined to compile a partnership of 66 runs in just 44 balls, boosting Australia's scoring rate.

Weibgen, the skipper, reached an impressive century during this partnership and was only dismissed in the 48th over when Wylie struck for the fourth time. In the final few overs, Raf Macmillan and Peake added a few more runs, including 20 runs off the last over, allowing Australia to finish on a total of 266 for six.

In response, Callum Vidler propelled Australia into a commanding position with an exceptional spell during the Powerplay. The pacer dismissed Wylie, who was opening the batting, in his first over, and later cleaned up the aggressive Ben McKinney just after the England captain had hit him for a six.

Hamza Shaikh and Noah Thain fell victim to short deliveries as Vidler claimed his fourth wicket within his first five overs, reducing England to a precarious 60 for four. Unfortunately, play was halted due to rain and lightning immediately after this, leading to the players leaving the field.

When play resumed, England’s revised target was 215 in 24 overs. Things unravelled quickly when Tom Straker and Macmillan ran through the middle and lower-order post the break.

From 60 for four, England were down to 75 for seven. Charlie Allison nailed a few big hits, but Straker and Macmillan kept going, reducing England to nine down in 16 overs before Campbell took the final wicket to bowl England out for 106.

With a massive 110-run win (by DLS method), Australia start off their Super Six stage with a huge win. They take on West Indies next on Friday while England will play Zimbabwe a day after. Australia, with six points, are now at the top of Group 2 standings of the Super Six stage. 

Bangladesh beat Nepal by five wickets in Bloemfontein

At Mangaung Oval, Nepal struggled to post a competitive total after choosing to bat first against Bangladesh. Rohanat Doullah Borson and Sheikh Paevez Jibon combined to capture seven wickets as Nepal were bundled out for 169.

Despite Bangladesh striking three times in the Powerplay with the wickets of Bipin Rawal, Aakash Tripathi, and Arjun Kamal, Nepal managed to recover from the early setbacks, mainly due to the efforts of skipper Dev Khanal and Bishal Bikram.

The pair steadily accumulated runs without resorting to aggressive strokes. Bangladesh were compelled to make several bowling changes, and it was the part-time off-spin of opening batter Jishan Alam, brought in for this game, that eventually broke their partnership.

Alam induced a catch at short cover to dismiss Khanal, who had moved across to play through the off-side. Off-spinner Jibon further deepened Nepal's troubles by dismissing Gulshan Jha and Deepak Bohara in consecutive overs.

Towards the end, Subhash Bhandari contributed a few crucial runs, allowing Nepal to reach a total of 169. Borson, who had previously shone in warm-up games with a hat-trick, concluded with impressive figures of four for 19. Jibon, who took three pivotal wickets during the middle overs, returned with excellent figures of 10-2-34-3.

Bangladesh started off the chase in style with Alam smashing Aakash Chand for a four and a six in the second over. The opener continued to attack, reaching an impressive 45 runs from just 32 deliveries within the first 10 overs, firmly placing Bangladesh in the driver's seat.
Subash Bhandari broke the opening stand when he had Rahman Shibli slogging to long-on for 16. Chowdhury Md Rizwan revealed his intentions early by smashing Dipesh Kandal for a four followed by a six, but his innings was short-lived with Bhandari getting him out stumped in the next over. 

Bhandari continued to shine, securing his third wicket in his fourth over when Jishan Alam's aggressive shot found the hands of the fielder stationed at long-off. Bangladesh were reduced to 92 for three, putting them in a slight spot of bother. 

Nevertheless, Ariful Islam and Ahrar Amin forged a valuable partnership that pushed the team's total to 137. It was Bhandari’s fourth that pegged Bangladesh back again, the off-spinner coming around the wicket to bowl a quicker arm-ball that flattened Amin’s stumps. A fifth followed for Bhandari soon after with the in-form Shihab James dismissed for a duck while attempting a big hit against the spinner. 

Ariful kept going amidst the loss of wickets at the other end to ambitious shots, completing an impressive half-century off just 34 balls. He remained unbeaten on 59 as Bangladesh romped home with five wickets to spare. 

South Africa beat Zimbabwe

In the Super Six clash of the U19 Men's Cricket World Cup 2024 between South Africa and their sub-Saharan Africa neighbours, it was a Kwena Maphaka masterclass with the new ball that set the stage for South Africa's dominance. Opting to bowl first, South Africa got an early wicket when Nathaniel Hlabangana was run out by a pinpoint direct hit from Romashan Pillay.

Maphaka went on a rampage from there, dismissing Brendon Sunguro, Campbell Macmillan, and Panashe Taruvinga within the span of just three overs, leaving Zimbabwe reeling at 16 for four. Two of these three dismissals saw the batters beaten for Maphaka's extra pace and movement off the surface as the stumps were disturbed.

Ronak Patel, who had showcased his resilience in challenging situations in the tournament, once again rose to the occasion, this time partnering with wicketkeeper-batter Ryan Kamwemba. Together, they constructed a valuable half-century partnership that lifted Zimbabwe from a precarious position.

However, the momentum swung back in South Africa's favour when Tristan Luus delivered a crucial double-wicket over. Luus had Patel and captain Matthew Schonken bowled in the 16th over, dealing a significant blow to Zimbabwe's batting lineup. Shortly thereafter, Riley Norton joined the party by dismissing Kamwemba, who had been well-set, without any additional runs on the scoreboard.

Maphaka, building on his burgeoning reputation, returned to the attack and dismantled the defence of two more lower-order batters, completing his second five-wicket haul in the tournament. With his skiddy pace and movement off the pitch, Maphaka was undoubtedly the standout bowler of the day. Remarkably, four of his five dismissals at the JB Marks Oval were bowled. 

With Zimbabwe struggling at 82 for nine, their last-wicket pair managed to add a few crucial runs, pushing their total just past the three-figure mark. It was Tristan Luus who finally ended Zimbabwe's innings, dismissing the last batter. Zimbabwe concluded their innings at a mere 102 runs, narrowly avoiding what would have been their third total below 100 in four matches of the tournament.

A superstar so far in the tournament, Maphaka led his team off the field after a brilliant performance that saw him go level with the top wicket-takers (12 wickets apiece) in the tournament, Saumy Pandey and Ubaid Shah.

South African opening batters, Steve Stolk and Lhuan-dre Pretorius, continued their ruthless assault in the Powerplay, replicating their dominant performance against Scotland in the previous game. Against Zimbabwe, they unleashed a barrage of strokes, piling up an impressive 86 runs within the first 10 overs.

Stolk, riding high from his remarkable 13-ball fifty in the last match, once again took off at a blistering pace, amassing 23 runs from his first 11 deliveries. 

In contrast, Pretorius initially played a more composed role. However, he quickly shifted gears and showcased his aggressive style by smashing a six and two boundaries off a single over from Ryan Simbi.

Anesu Kamuriwo was brought back into the attack following the first Powerplay, and he managed to dismiss Stolk, who had contributed a dynamic 29-ball 37 to the team's total. 

Meanwhile, Pretorius continued his onslaught, completing a well-deserved half-century. He remained unbeaten on 53 runs as South Africa cruised to yet another resounding victory, with more than 36 overs to spare.

South Africa take on Sri Lanka next on February 2 in Potchefstroom. They are currently below Australia with four points in Group 2 of the Super Six table. Zimbabwe, meanwhile, will be up against England on February 3. 

Kwean Maphaka, the Player of the Match, stressed that while this game was close to a complete performance for the Proteas, they were saving their best for the latter stages of the tournament.

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