Scotland registers yet another win to strengthen claim for title
Afghanistan, Canada, Nepal and Scotland registered wins on the eighth day of the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup Qualifier in Derry.
The only game of the day not to be completed was played out between hosts Ireland and Namibia at the Strabane Cricket Club. Namibia was at 34 for one when heavy rains forced the match to be abandoned for the day. This match will now be replayed afresh at the Coleraine Cricket Club on Monday, 8 August, a reserve day for the tournament.
But it was normal service at the other games with some impressive performances for yet another day by the teams. The battle to book the six spots available for the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup to be held next year in Australia will go down to the wire.
The team looking most certain to book its berth at the moment, Scotland, turned in yet another disciplined performance against Kenya at the Eglinton Cricket Club. Scotland was struggling at 77 for six at one stage. But the lower order of Scotland led by Anjan Luthra (32), Sam Page (48) alongwith Matthew Cross' sedate 36 laid the foundation for a modest total of 188.
A rain interruption post lunch, delayed Kenya's reply. But when play resumed, Rushabh Patel (50: 120b, 2x4) and Duncan Allan (43: 66b, 3x4, 2x6) added 83 runs for the second wicket to put Kenya in charge. The fall of Allan's wicket with the score at 123 changed the course of the match as Scotland applied the pressure brilliantly. Patel fell soon after at the same score. Wickets fell at regular intervals and Scotland snatched a 15-run win.
Cross, in particular, excelled behind the stumps, claiming two catches and stumping Patel.
Cross won the Man of the Match award for his all-round display: "We would have been happy with a score of 210-220. But still to reach 188 after being six down early on was a big effort. When Kenya batted, we felt that one wicket could change the match. (Duncan) Allan fell at the right time for us to fight back. We dried up the runs and the asking rate increased. This was yet another good day for us in the competition."
At the Coleraine Cricket Club, Nepal posted its most impressive performance yet with the bat. Nepal made 277 for seven in its stipulated 50 overs. Sagar Pun (67: 81b, 8x4, 1x6), Rajesh Pulami Magar (91: 100b, 8x4, 1x6) and Pradeep Airee (59: 57b, 6x4) made worthwhile contributions with the bat for Nepal.
In its reply, Vagi Oala led the charge first for PNG making 64 off 58 balls with five boundaries and hitting a six. Skipper Christopher Kent (80: 99b, 4x4) played brilliantly yet again, but PNG lost wickets at regular intervals as Nepal won by 29 runs.
An excited Pulami Magar won the Man of the Match award for his impressive display with the bat: "We lost a few wickets early on. I had to stay at the wicket and build a partnership. PNG chased down Canada's score of 266 yesterday. So we were a bit wary of their ability to chase the score. But our bowlers bowled brilliantly and restricted them (PNG) very well."
Both the Bready Cricket Club grounds produced low-scoring encounters. At the main Bready Cricket Club ground, Vanuatu batted first and was bowled out for 111 in 26.2 overs. Sayed Shirzad was impressive with a haul of 5-38. Afghanistan chased down the target in just 16.2 overs with nine wickets to spare, to further improve its position on the points tally. Javed Ahmadi was impressive yet again as he made an unbeaten 68 off 49 balls with seven boundaries and two sixes.
Shirzad's impressive display with the ball fetched him the Man of the Match award: "It was a do or die match for the side. We had to win to stay in the hunt. I bowled wicket to wicket and that paid rich dividends. We had an eye on the other matches as well, so it was important to finish with a result that would help us stay alive in the competition."
At Bready 2, yet another fast bowler, this time from Canada, was the star of the show against USA. Manny Aulakh picked up 6 for 32 as Canada bowled out USA for mere 101 in 40.3 overs. None of the USA batsmen made any worthwhile contribution with the bat.
Canada, lost a few wickets early on, but Rayyan Pathan (42) held the innings together to fashion a five-wicket win. With this win, Canada kept its hopes of playing in Australia alive.
Aulakh's spell helped him walk away with the Man of the Match award: "There was something in the pitch for the quick bowlers. We had a plan to bowl in good areas and it worked. We stuck to the basics and they (USA) made a few mistakes. This was one of my best spells. This win will give us a huge boost. Everybody is now positive and want to end this tournament on a high."
Score summaries (Day Eight):
At Coleraine Cricket Club: Nepal U19 277 for seven, 50 overs (Pun 67, Pulami Magar 91, Airee 59; Vanua 4-54)
PNG U19 231 all out, 49.5 overs (Oala 64, Kent 80; Karn 5-36, Pun 2-36)
Nepal U19 won by 29 runs
At Eglinton Cricket Club: Scotland U19 188 all out, 47.4 overs (Cross 36, Luthra 32, Page 48; Angila 3-32, Rangera 2-42, Allen 2-35)
Kenya U19 173 for eight, 50 overs (Patel 50, Allan 43; Bailwal 2-47, Sadler 1-29)
Scotland U19 won by 15 runs
At Bready Cricket Club: Vanuatu U19 111 all out, 26.2 overs (Matautaava 29, Kenneth 21; Shirzad 5-38, Ahmadzai 2-42, Naseri 2-9)
Afghanistan U19 116 for one, 16.2 overs (Ahmadi 68 n.o., Shaidi 31 n.o.)
Afghanistan U19 won by nine wickets
At Bready 2: USA U19 101 all out, 40.3 overs (Aulakh 6-32, Singh 2-23)
Canada U19 102 for five, 33.2 overs (Pathan 42, Shahid 2-28)
Canada U19 won by five wickets
At Strabane Cricket Club: Namibia 34 for one, 8.1 overs (van Vuuren 16 n.o., J Baard 15 n.o.; Coughlan 1-10)