No surprises on day one as England, Pakistan, India and Australia coast to victory
Although the scorecard might suggest otherwise, India had a reasonably tough workout against Papua New Guinea at Kinrara Oval in the first round of matches of the ICC U/19 Cricket World Cup 2008 in Malaysia.
History will indicate that Virat Kohli's side won by 195 runs but the truth is that PNG put in a disciplined display full of passion, commitment and no little skill. India had to play well to make sure it looked easy against the East Asia-Pacific qualifier.
Tanmay Srivastava was the backbone of the India batting and the number three ended up unbeaten on 83 as India managed 280-5 off 50 overs. Apart from a flurry of extras early in the innings, perhaps attributable to big-match nerves with the game being televised live by ICC's host broadcaster ESPN-STAR Sports, PNG bowled and fielded well and is clearly a well-drilled side.
But India showed it will not be an easy side to beat in this competition. After a spirited beginning to PNG's innings, Pradeep Sangwan, Siddharth Kaul and, later, Ajitesh Argal and Iqbal Abdullah got in among the batsmen and eventually PNG collapsed to 85 all out.
Meanwhile, defending champion Pakistan made a comfortable start to the defence of its title in Johor Cricket Academy beating host Malaysia by eight wickets.
Pakistan's fast bowling was too hot for Malaysia to handle as Adil Raza took 6-29 to restrict the home team to 75 all out after Iman Wasim had won the toss and elected to field first.
In reply, Pakistan's batsmen wasted little time in getting the job done, knocking off the runs in just 9.3 overs. Malaysia took two wickets, including that of top scorer Umar Amin for 31.
A magnificent century by Australia captain Michael Hill set the scene for his side's win over Namibia at Johor Cricket Academy. After Ashley van Rooi trapped Kumar Sarna lbw for just one, Hill came in and immediately imposed himself on the game despite having lost the toss and being asked to bat first.
Having faced 71 balls, Hill returned to the pavilion responsible for adding 124 runs to his team's total, a savage knock that included seven fours and no fewer than 12 sixes. That's 100 runs in boundaries at what is not a particularly small ground in Johor. He will always now have the honour of being the first player to score a century at the U/19 CWC 2008.
It set up Australia for a big total and while 312 is a daunting prospect for any side batting second, it could have been a lot worse for Namibia. In fairness, the Africans fought back hard and took several late wickets to limit Australia when, at one stage, a total in excess of 400 did not look out of the question.
In reply, Dawid Botha (56 off 46 balls) and Louis van der Westhuizen (48 off 35 balls) briefly threatened to throw a cat among the pigeons with a rapid fourth-wicket partnership but in truth the result was never really in doubt. Steven Smith cleared up the tail for the Aussies as they ended up winning by 149 runs.
At Bayuemas Oval, England set down a marker to its rivals by destroying an under-strength Ireland team by 10 wickets. Steven Finn was Ireland's main tormentor after Alex Wakely had won the toss and elected to bowl first.
The tall Middlesex fast bowler hit his straps early, ending up with figures of 3-21 which was enough to win him the man-of-the-match award. Only Chris Dougherty with 34 put up any fight for the Irish as it was all out for 109 in 31.2 overs.
England's openers put Ireland out of its misery pretty quickly as James Taylor (52 not out) and Billy Godleman (38 not out) made sure the job was done by the 16th over. Ireland was missing key players James Hall and Shane Getkate through injury but coach Brían O'Rourke will know there is a lot of work to do ahead of his side's next game against Bangladesh on Wednesday.
Scores in brief:
At Johor Cricket Academy, Pakistan beat Malaysia by eight wickets
Malaysia 75 all out, 24.4 overs (Nik Azril 28; Adil Raza 6-29, Muhammad Amir 3-11)
Pakistan 76-2, 9.3 overs (Umar Amin 31)
At Penang Sports Club, Australia beat Namibia by 149 runs
Australia 312 all out, 48 overs (Michael Hill 124, Michael Cramner 40, Steven Smith 39, James Falkner 36; Ashley van Rooi 3-25, Helao Ya France 3-31)
Namibia 163 all out, 31 overs (Dawid Botha 56, Louis van der Westhuizen 48; Steven Smith 4-41)
At Kinrara Oval, India beat PNG by 195 runs
India 280-5, 50 overs (Tanmay Srivastava 83 not out, Shreevats Goswami 58, Virat Kohli 40, Taruwar Kohli 40)
Papua New Guinea 85 all out, 27.5 overs (Alfred Amini 26; Iqbal Abdullah 3-2)
At Bayuemas, England beat Ireland by 10 wickets
Ireland 109 all out, 31.2 overs (Chris Dougherty 34; Steven Finn 3-21, James Harris 3-40)
England 110-0, 15.5 overs (James Taylor 52 not out, Billy Godleman 38 not out)
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