England faces West Indies in quarter-final while traditional rivals India and Pakistan go head to head in the other quarter-final in front of ESPN STAR Sports cameras on Saturday
Photographs from England and India match available through ICC FTP site and Getty Images; Video news release available from SNTV
England middle-order batsman Ben Stokes, playing in the city where he was born, scored a punishing century as England defeated defending champion India by 31 runs in the final group stage match in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup at Bert Sutcliffe in Lincoln, near Christchurch.
The win means England has topped Group A while India has finished second. As such, England will now take on the West Indies in the Super League quarter-final at Rangiora while traditional rivals India and Pakistan will go head to head in the other quarter-final at Bert Sutcliffe in front of ESPN STAR Sports cameras. Both the quarter-finals will be played on Saturday, 23 January.
England got off to a slow start after being put in to bat, thanks to a brilliant opening spell from India left-arm fast bowler Saurabh Netrawalkar who bowled 10 overs straight and finished with figures of 10-1-25-3.
England looked to be in serious trouble at 60-4 in the 19th over but 18-year old Stokes combined with Ateeq Javid (42) to breathe life back into the English innings. The two batsmen added 100 runs for the fifth wicket in 21 overs
Stokes clobbered four fours and six sixes as he went on to make 100 off 87 balls with his second 50 coming off just 27 balls before being the sixth batsman out at the score of 222 in the 46th over. England finally finished at 246-8.
Stroke was more destructive in the batting powerplay which England took in the 39th over as it collected 55 runs.
Apart from opening bowler Netrawalkar, none of the other India bowlers seriously troubled the England batsmen as the runs came thick and fast from the likes of Harshal Patel and Harmeet Singh who both conceded six an over from their eight-over spells.
In reply, India's batsmen occasionally got starts but were unable to build any substantial individual innings or partnerships. Wickets fell with regularity and it was left to wicketkeeper Sufiyan Shaikh to take the total over 200. Shaikh scored 45 off 72 deliveries while Netrawalkar backed up his bowling effort with 28 at the end of the innings.
England's David Payne was the most successful bowler, taking 3-40 while batting hero Stokes chipped in with two wickets including the scalp of dangerous Mayank Agarwal who was smartly caught by Jack Manuel.
Stokes said it was a thrill to score a century in the city he was born. "To score a World Cup century in the country I was born is something very special," he said.
England captain Azeem Rafiq praised the efforts of Stokes. "The way Stokesy got out there and hit the ball, it was incredible. He's got a lot of talent and not just with the bat, but also with the ball and in the field.
"It wasn't just him. At 60-4, no one would have given us a chance against India. It came at us hard early and got away with it. But the way the lads stuck together was incredible. It was a team effort and I'm absolutely delighted."
With England and India advancing to the next stage, third-placed Afghanistan and fourth-placed Hong Kong will appear in the Plate Championship which starts in Napier from Saturday.
Scores in brief:
England beat India by 31 runs at Bert Sutcliffe Oval, Lincoln (Group A)
England 246-8, in 50 overs (Ben Stokes 100, Ateeq Javid 42; Saurav Netrawalkar 3-25)
India 215 all out, 46.4 overs (Sufiyan Shaikh 45, Manan Sharma 36, Mayank Agarwal 32; David Payne 3-40, Ben Stokes 2-43, Nathan Buck 2-53)
Super League quarter-final fixtures (all matches in Christchurch)
Saturday 23 Jan
- England v West Indies, Mainpower Oval, Rangiora; Pakistan v India, Bert Sutcliffe Oval, Lincoln
Sunday 24 Jan
- South Africa v Sri Lanka, Bert Sutcliffe Oval, Lincoln; New Zealand v Australia, Mainpower Oval, Rangiora (Christchurch)
The draw for the Plate Championship Quarter-finals is as follows:
Plate Championship quarter-finals (all matches in Napier)
Saturday 23 Jan - Ireland v Zimbabwe, Nelson Park; Canada v USA, McLean Park
Sunday 24 Jan - Afghanistan v Papua New Guinea, Nelson Park; Bangladesh v Hong Kong, McLean Park
The full points table is available at: www.iccevents.yahoo.com