Afghanistan, Canada, Nepal, Scotland and USA registered wins on the third day of the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup Qualifier in Dublin, Ireland.
As has been the norm in the tournament thus far, the two games (Namibia v USA and Ireland v Scotland) affected by rain, produced the most thrilling contests of the day. The Namibia v USA game featured an exciting chase after a rain break and Scotland won in the final over against the hosts Ireland.
But the day belonged to the belligerent approach by USA’s wicketkeeper-batsman Steven Taylor (102: 74b, 14×4, 4×6) who slammed his second hundred of the tournament. Taylor’s knock was backed up by Pranay Suri’s unbeaten knock (55 n.o.: 70b, 5×4, 1×6) towards the end as USA posted 312 for six in its 50 overs.
In the chase Namibia lost early wickets, but after a rain interruption, wicketkeeper Gert Lotter (67: 67b, 7×4) and Merwe Erasmus (55: 50b, 4×4, 1×6) added 90 runs for the fifth wicket.
In the end Salman Ahmad (4-60) broke through the lower order to earn a 46-run win for USA at the North County Cricket Club.
Taylor’s knock fetched him the Man of the Match award. He attributed his effort to his positive thinking: “My plan was clear. I just wanted to attack and take advantage of the powerplay. If I had stayed on then we could have scored 400. Maybe I could have even got a double hundred. My philosophy is clear if I see the ball, I will hit it.”
Hosts Ireland featured in a final over finish for the third successive day. But this time the result was different. Jason van der Merwe (96: 114b, 11×4, 1×6) and Andy McBrine (53: 81b, 4×4, 1×6) added 119 runs for the fourth wicket to propel Ireland to 237 for six in its 50 overs.
Scotland’s chase was halted by rains with the score at 106 for four after 24 overs, at the Hills Cricket Club. The Duckworth-Lewis method was adopted after the interruption and Scotland now needed a further 100 runs in 16 overs to win its second game in two days. Ireland skipper George Dockrell (3-29) applied the brakes, but Peter Ross (60 n.o.: 71b, 5×4) held his nerves well to guide his side to a win in the final over with one ball to spare.
A relieved Ross earned Man of the Match award for his effort: “Despite the rains, I thought it was an achievable target. I just thought if we keep up with the rate we could be in with a chance. My plan was to keep getting run a ball. We have such depth in our batting that we can win from any position. This win has done a lot for the confidence of the side and we now need to keep performing to qualify.”
Afghanistan’s Sayed Shirzad picked up a haul of 5-31 against PNG at the Leinster Cricket Club. Shirzad was backed well by Javed Ahmadi’s spell of 3-35 as PNG was bowled out for 228. Ahmadi then held the Afghanistan innings together in a knock of 81 (85b, 11×4, 2×6). The Afghanistan middle-order held its own even as threat of rains loomed large. In the end, Afghanistan easy winners with more than seven overs to spare.
A relieved Ahmadi earned the Man of the Match award for his all-round effort:
“We were under a lot of pressure after losing the first two games. This time I wanted to bat big and hold an end up. I did not want a repeat of the first two games, where we chased and lost. Thankfully it went well for us and we are now back in the race.”
Nepal’s bowlers continued to impress, this time against Kenya. The varied attack of Nepal bowled out Kenya for a meagre 107 in 48.5 overs at the Railway Union Cricket Club. Avinash Karn (3-27), Krishna Karki (3-27), Bhuvan Karki (2-9) and Rahul Vishvakarma (2-26) shared the wickets for Nepal.
Nepal lost quick wickets, but skipper Prithu Baskota (31 n.o.) calmed frayed nerves to steer to an easy six-wicket win in 19.2 overs. Karn’s spell earned him the Man of the Match award. Karn was thrilled to have played a part in the win: “Unlike in the subcontinent, the pitches here offer some assistance. It swung a bit and seamed off the surface for me. We wanted to get them for as low a target as possible. It was a tricky chase but the captain got us through.”
Canada had the most comprehensive win of the day when it beat Vanuatu by nine wickets at the Merrion Cricket Club. Canada’s bowlers shot out Vanuatu for 145 in 45.5 overs. It was then left to Canada opener Nitish Kumar to continue his good form with the bat. Kumar made a brisk 48-ball 61 with seven boundaries and two sixes to help Canada overhaul the target in just 25.3 overs.
Kumar was yet again named the Man of the Match and was happy with the effort. “This pitch was flatter than the previous one. There was a bit of turn, but overall it came on to the bat very nicely. All credit to our bowlers for their spells. This win is a big boost to the team. We are now back on track. Everyone’s positive about it and the mood is great in the camp.”
Today Nepal plays Vanuatu at YMCA, Canada and Namibia go head to head at North County Cricket Club, Afghanistan takes on USA at The Hills Cricket Club, Kenya plays hosts Ireland at Leinster Cricket Club and PNG takes on Scotland at Oakhill.
Score summaries (Day Three):
At North County Cricket Club: USA U19 312 for 6, 50 overs (Taylor 102, Suri 55 n.o., Persaud 40; J Baard 3-28)
Namibia U19 266 all out, 46.4 overs (van Vuuren 43, Lotter 67, Erasmus 55; Ahmad 4-60, Shahid 2-36, Suri 2-37)
USA U19 won by 46 runs
At Railway Union Cricket Club: Kenya U19 107 all out, 48.5 overs (Karim 40; Karn 3-27, Karki 3-27, Vishvakarma 2-26)
Nepal U19 108 for 4, 19.2 overs (Baskota 31 n.o., Budayair 18; Allan 4-38)
Nepal U19 won by six wickets
At Leinster Cricket Club: PNG U19 228, 49.5 overs (Amini 52, Kent 46, Maha 43; Shirzad 5-31, Ahmadi 3-35)
Afghanistan U19 232 for 4, 42.2 overs (Ahmadi 81, Zadran 41, Ahmadzai 44 n.o.; Tom 2-34)
Afghanistan U19 won by six wickets
At Merrion Cricket Club: Vanuatu U19 145 all out, 45.5 overs (Nipiko 48; Aulakh 3-11, Juvarajan 3-47)
Canada U19 146 for 1, 25.3 overs (Kumar 61)
Canada U19 won by nine wickets
At Hills Cricket Club: Ireland U19 237 for 6, 50 overs (van der Merwe 96, McBrine 53; Sadler 3-41)
Scotland U19 206 for eight, 39.5 overs (Ross 60 n.o., Cross 34; Dockrell 3-29)
Scotland U19 won by two wickets