England was on the verge of a quarter-final berth in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2016 with a 61-run win over a fighting West Indies in Chittagong on Friday. The match was produced by the ICC TV and aired around the world by 15 broadcasters.
England’s second successive win in Group C – it beat Fiji on Wednesday –was built around an impressive 282 for seven from 50 overs after it elected to bat first.
There were two half-centuries from Dan Lawrence (55) and Callum Taylor (59), and useful contributions from George Bartlett (48) and Sam Curran (39).
The West Indies made a strong comeback after Curran had taken two wickets in the first over, but was bowled out for 221 in the 44th over.
Gidron Pope (60) put on 82 runs for the third wicket with Keacy Carty (22) before Keemo Paul took the fight into the rival camp with a pugnacious 65 off 58 balls.
Lawrence followed his half-century with two wickets to be adjudged the player of the match, but the bowling honors went to seamer Saqib Mahmood who claimed four for 42.
“It got a bit nervous out there when their partnerships were going, but in the end it was a comfortable win,” said England captain Brad Taylor.
“I think the seamers did a great job in conditions that did not favour them, but the spinners allowed us to get a lot of dot balls. Everyone held their nerves in what was a good win.”
England need a point in its last match against Zimbabwe on Sunday to finish as group leader.
West Indies captain Shimron Hetmyer said the poor start set his team back. “We needed a good start to chase a total like that but we lost two wickets in the first over,” he said. “Keemo and Pope batted well and that is a positive we can take.”
The West Indies needs to win both its remaining matches convincingly to march into the Super League stage.
Zimbabwe began its campaign in Group C by cruising to a seven-wicket win over Fiji, sending the first-timer to its second successive defeat.
Off-spinner Wesley Madhevere grabbed five for 24 as Fiji was shot out for 81 in 27.4 overs, a score Zimbabwe surpassed in the 19th over with Brendan Sly remaining unbeaten on 29.
Zimbabwe takes on England in its second league match on Sunday, needing a win to strengthen its chances of progressing to the Super League quarter-finals, while Fiji clashes with the West Indies on the same day.
Namibia made a creditable start in Group A with a surprisingly easy nine-wicket rout of Scotland to keep its dream alive of making the Super League quarter-finals for the first time.
Namibia, whose best-ever finish in the tournament was 11th place in 2008 and had lost both its warm-up matches in Bangladesh, made short work of Scotland in a one-sided contest.
The Scots were reduced to 129 for nine after electing to bat, before a last-wicket partnership of 30 between Scott Cameron and Mohammad Ghaffar lifted them to 159 all out. Michael van Lingen took three wickets.
Nambia eased past the target in 26 overs following an opening stand of 95 between SJ Loftie-Eaton (67 not out) and Niko Davin (52). Skipper Zane Green was unbeaten on 39.
Despite the early success, the Namibians will still need to win one of their two remaining matches against South Africa and host Bangladesh to ensure a place in the quarter-finals.
“It was a good team performance all-round,” said Green. “We started good with the bat and finished well with the ball. We really look forward to our other matches now.”
Scotland’s captain Neil Flack said he was disappointed at the defeat, but vowed to bounce back.
“We had a bad day, but credit to Namibia. It made us pay,” said Flack. “Our plans did not come through with the bat. We played a few silly shots. But trust me, we will bounce back.
“Cricket is a funny game, anything can happen. We are determined to make a strong comeback.”
Scotland must defeat both Bangladesh and South Africa to qualify.
The 11th edition of the biennial 16-nation tournament features nine Test-playing nations and seven Associate and Affiliate Members – Afghanistan, Canada, Fiji, Namibia, Nepal, Ireland and Scotland.
Teams have been divided into four groups with the top two in each advancing to the Super League quarter-finals and the other two qualifying for the Plate championships.
Scores in brief:
Group A – Namibia beat Scotland by nine wickets in Cox’s Bazar
Scotland 159 all out, 36.3 overs (Owais Shah 39, Haris Aslam 31; Michael van Lingen 3-19)
Namibia 162-1, 26 overs (SJ Loftie-Eaton 67 not out, Niko Davin 52, Zane Green 39 not out)
Group C – Zimbabwe beat Fiji by seven wickets in Chittagong
Fiji 81 all out, 27.4 overs (Wesley Madhevere 5-24, Blessing Mavuta 3-13)
Zimbabwe 84-3, 18.5 overs (Brendan Sly 29 not out, Jeremy Ives 23)
Group C – England beat the West Indies by 61 runs in Chittagong
England 282-7, 50 overs (Dan Lawrence 55, Callum Taylor 59, George Bartlett 48, Sam Curran 39; Gidron Pope 2-45)
West Indies 221 all out, 43.4 overs (Gidron Pope 60, Keemo Paul 65; Saqib Mahmood 4-42, Sam Curran 2-23, Dan Lawrence 2-38)