Openers Hasitha Boyagoda and Dhananjaya Lakshan featured in a double-century stand that helped Sri Lanka defeat the Windies by three wickets in the Plate championship final of the ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup in Christchurch, New Zealand, on Sunday (January 28).
The 213-run partnership between Boyagoda (116, 124b, 17×4,1×6) and Lakshan (98, 119b, 12×4, 1×6) put Sri Lanka in a position of strength to overtake the Windies’ total of 254 for five but a batting collapse made things difficult for the 2000 finalists and they ultimately won with only two balls to spare.
In the Super League, Bangladesh defeated England by five wickets in the play-off semi-final for fifth place to set up a match with South Africa on Wednesday, 31 January, in Queenstown. The winners of Wednesday’s match will finish fifth in the tournament. England will next play New Zealand to decide the seventh place a day earlier in Queenstown.
Plate Championship final
The Windies scored a competitive 254 for five after being put in to bat. Alick Athanaze continued his fine form with an unbeaten run-a-ball 110 (5×4, 2×6) which enabled him to finish the tournament with 418 runs, the second most by any Windies player at a single U-19 Cricket World Cup after Donovan Pagon (421 in 2002). Brad Barnes (37 not out) and Bharat Yadram (31) were the other main contributors to the total for the 2016 Super League champion side.
Sri Lanka seemed to be coasting home after a fine opening stand between Boyagoda and Lakshan that had taken the team to within 37 runs of victory with 12 overs to go. But some quick wickets including a couple of run-outs, saw the team lose seven wickets for only 31 runs before scraping through to 255 for seven in 49.4 overs.
Sri Lanka captain Kamindu Mendis said they were happy with the Plate championship win after failing to make the Super League: “We kept them under 260 and after that we put on a big partnership so that we could win easily. Unfortunately, our middle-order batsmen fell very quickly because I think we relaxed a bit. It became a very tight situation but we managed it well in the end.”
Windies captain Emmanuel Stewart said he was happy that the team fought back and also praised Athanaze: “We wanted to put up a good fight and give our best. It was our last time as a group as most of us will be going to the next level now so we wanted to enjoy the moment. Alick is a brilliant player, he is one for the future.
Super League play-off semi-final for fifth place
Bangladesh were impressive in their five-wicket win over England with Afif Hossain’s all-round effort of three for 18 and 71 not out proving the difference between the two sides.
With fast bowlers Hasan Mahmud (three for 29) and Qazi Onik (two for 46) also doing their bit, England were bowled out for 216 in 47.2 overs. Opener Liam Banks (74) and captain Harry Brook (66) were the main scorers for England, who had beaten Bangladesh by seven wickets in the preliminary league.
Bangladesh scored 220 for five in 47.3 overs with Afif (71, 84b, 7×4, 1×6) and captain Saif Hassan (59, 89b, 4×4) figuring in a 66-run partnership for the fourth wicket and then Afif adding 51 for the next with Mohammad Rakib (28 not out, 42b, 2×4).
Bangladesh captain Saif Hassan said he was looking forward to the play-off for fifth place: “After bowling them out for 216, I told our players to be positive. We had a few good partnerships and I was happy to contribute. We came here for the best result (winning the tournament), unfortunately, we could not do that. Now we will try to finish in fifth position.”
England captain Harry Brook felt his team could have bowled better: “It was a slow pitch and it was hard to get off the mark. We had confidence in our bowlers. We were always backing our ability to bowl them out. But we did not bowl very well today and the pitch seemed to play better later in the day.”
First semi-final preview
Afghanistan will try to further their success story in this tournament when they take on three-time champions Australia in the first semi-final of the Super League at the Hagley Oval on Monday.
Asian champions Afghanistan, whose Mujeeb Zadran-led spin attack has been the focus during the tournament, topped their group ahead of Pakistan and then defeated hosts New Zealand by a massive 202 runs in the quarter-final to set up this clash with Australia, who they think are no longer odds-on favourites.
Afghanistan coach Andy Moles said: “Australia are the favourites but probably not quite as big favourites as they were a few days ago. We have a very good team and we have come here to win, but we are not arrogant to say we will win. We will win if we do very, very well in the key moments. At Under-19 level the biggest challenge is to get consistency. If we have a good day, we intend to upset their applecart.”
Australia themselves had a dramatic entry into the semi-finals and have also had a spin bowler in the spotlight. The 1998, 2002 and 2010 champions qualified for the Super League as the second team behind India and then defended a low total of 127 as they bowled out England for 96 with leg-spinner Lloyd Pope returning a tournament record haul of eight for 35.
Australia captain Jason Sangha said: “We have been focusing on ourselves, we don’t know too much about the Afghanistan boys, but we’ve been looking at their footage, they have a couple of good spinners. We have 15 guys who are all good batsmen and I think we have been playing spin bowlers well. We will focus on what we can do with the bat and everything should be fine.”
The winners of this match will await the winners of the second semi-final between India and Pakistan to be played at the same venue on Tuesday, 30 January. The final will be played at the Bay Oval in Tauranga on 3 February.
Meanwhile, the match officials for the Super League semi-finals have been announced.
Match officials for Super League semi-finals:
29 January – Afghanistan v Australia, Hagley Oval, Christchurch – Tim Robinson and Shaun George (on-field), C.K. Nandan (third umpire), Anil Chaudhary (fourth umpire), Jeff Crowe (match referee)
30 January – India v Pakistan, Hagley Oval, Christchurch – Paul Wilson and Gregory Brathwaite (on-field), Nigel Duguid (third umpire), Langton Rusere (fourth umpire), Jeff Crowe (match referee)
Scores in brief:
Super League play-off semifinal for fifth place
Bangladesh beat England by five wickets, John Davies Oval, Queenstown
England 216 all out in 47.2 overs (Liam Banks 74, Harry Brook 66; Afif Hossain 3-18, Hassan Mahmud 3-29, Qazi Onik 2-46)
Bangladesh 220-5, 47.3 overs (Afif Hossain 71, Saif Hassan 59; Adam Finch 2-36)
Player of the match: Afif Hossain (Bangladesh)
Sri Lanka beat Windies by three wickets, Bert Sutcliffe Oval, Lincoln, Christchurch
Windies 254-5 in 50 overs (Alick Athanaze 110 not out, Brad Barnes 37 not out, Bharat Yadram 31; Praveen Jayawickrama 2-33, Nipul Malinga 2-63)
Sri Lanka 255-7 in 49.4 overs (Hasitha Boyagoda 116, Dhananjaya Lakshan 98; Bharat Yadram 2-42, Jario Hoyte 2-44)
Player of the match: Hasitha Boyagoda (Sri Lanka)
11th/12h place play-off
Zimbabwe beat Canada by 138 runs, Rangiora Oval, Christchurch
Zimbabwe 272-8 in 50 overs (Wesley Madhevere 93, Dion Myers 46, Tanunurwa Makoni 30; Faisal Jamkhandi 2-65)
Canada 134 all out, 37.5 overs (Akash Gill 60; Wesley Madhevere 4-24, Nkosilathi Nungu 2-14, Taun Harrison 2-39)
Player of the match: Wesley Madhevere (Zimbabwe)
Afghanistan v Australia, first semi-final, Hagley Oval, Christchurch