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Canada makes history on opening day of ICC U19 Cricket World Cup

Qualifier overcomes Zimbabwe by 10 runs India begins title defence with an eight-wicket win over Afghanistan while Pakistan and South Africa also make winning starts

Qualifier overcomes Zimbabwe by 10 runs

India begins title defence with an eight-wicket win over Afghanistan while Pakistan and South Africa also make winning starts

Pakistan opener Babar hit first century of the tournament

Photographs from India and Afghanistan match available through Getty Images; SNTV to send out video news release from the match at Bert Sutcliffe Oval


History was made on the opening day of the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2010 when qualifier Canada stunned Zimbabwe by 10 runs at Queen Elizabeth II Park, Christchurch, to record its first-ever win at this level.

Canada looked assured in defending a modest total of 201 by cutting off Zimbabwe's run flow by claiming wickets at regular intervals to eventually bowl out its opponent for 191 with two balls to spare.

The victory sparked celebrations by Canada players with proud captain Rustam Bhatti suggesting it was the start of better things for Canadian cricket. "This victory means a lot," Bhatti said, adding: "This is the start of hopefully a great future for Canadian cricket."

In sunny conditions, Canada made a positive start after winning the toss with openers Ruvindu Gunasekera (20) and Hiral Patel (29) putting on 50 for the first wicket. A minor collapse saw them slide to 78-4 until Usman Limbada and Darius D'Souza (20) combined for a fifth wicket partnership of 57 runs.

Usman went on to score a stylish and match-winning 90 which not only lifted Canada to 201-7 but later won him the man of the match award. The talented right-hand batsman paced his innings expertly with his first 50 runs coming off 90 balls while his last 40 runs coming from just 24 balls. Overall, his innings included six fours and a six.

Zimbabwe made a shaky start to its run-chase, slumping to 19-3 before Dean Mashawidza (70) and Andrew Lindsay (40) put the innings back on track with a vital partnership of 110 runs for the fourth wicket.

Mashawidza batted impressively with his 118-ball knock including five fours. But once he departed in the 39th over, Zimbabwe lost wickets regularly and was unable to maintain the run-rate. The African side was eventually bowled out 10 runs short of the target to hand Canada a historic win.

At Palmerston North, Pakistan opener Muhammad Babar Azam produced an all-round performance to star in his side's 40 runs victory over the West Indies.

Babar notched up the highest individual innings of the day, scoring 129 runs off 132 balls including 14 fours and a six as Pakistan made the most of a reasonably flat pitch to post 297-7. He maintained a brisk run-rate when he brought up his century from 110 balls while regularly finding the fence.

Together with captain Azeem Ghumman (49), Babar added 124 runs for the third wicket after Ahsan Ali (21) and Ahmad Shahzad (21) had returned to the dressing room at the score of 90-2.

Pakistan lost a few late wickets with two run-outs but some late aggression by Hammad Azam (28) took the two-time former champion to 297-7.

West Indies opener Trevon Griffith got his side off to a cracking start with a punishing knock of 84 that came off 55 balls and included 11 fours and three sixes as he showed no mercy to Pakistan's fast bowlers by dispatching them to all parts of the ground.

But the game changed dramatically when Pakistan spinners got their hands on the ball. The slow bowlers kept a tight rein on the West Indies batsmen, strangling the runs and taking all momentum out of the batting side's pursuit.

After Griffith, only opener Kraigg Braithwaite was the other batsman to offer any resistance. He was left stranded on 92 as the West Indies was bowled out for 257 in 46.5 overs after losing its last 10 wickets for 137 runs in 28.5 overs. Braithwaite's 125-ball knock included four fours.

The ESPN STAR Sports cameras were at Bert Sutcliffe Oval in Lincoln to televise live Afghanistan's landmark first match in an ICC World Cup.

However, any prospect of a giant-killing performance by Afghanistan was quickly dismissed when it was bowled for 118 in 49.2 over by defending champion India which then raced to victory by eight wickets with more than 24 overs to spare.

Man of the match Mandeep Singh showed plenty of class by showing varied shot selection, precision timing and an ability to find the gaps in the field. The number-three batsman finished unbeaten on 51 including three boundaries and three sixes.

Earlier, India elected to bowl first on a wicket that assisted the seam bowlers early on that prevented Afghanistan batsmen from achieving any momentum.

India's decision proved correct when Afghanistan slumped to 38-5 before captain Noor-ul-Haq and Afsar Khan put on 44 runs for the sixth wicket. Noor-ul-Haq did bulk of the scoring as his 61 came off 119 balls and included four fours and a six.

The opening Group B game in Queenstown saw South Africa overcome a late fight back by a spirited Ireland before winning by five wickets.

South Africa, chasing 217 for victory, made a blistering start with left-handed opener Dominic Hendricks belting seven fours in a 49-ball 47.

Stephan Smith and Malcolm Nofal (32) kept the moment going with a 57-run fourth wicket partnership before off-spinner Paul Stirling claimed the wickets of Nofal and Cody Chetty (3) in quick succession to briefly raise Ireland's hopes of a comeback.

However, Smith dashed Ireland's hopes when he added 50 runs for the unbroken sixth wicket with Kirk Wernars (21 not out) to take South Africa over the finish-line with five wickets and 38 balls to spare.

Smith, later adjudged man of the Match, remained unbeaten on 66, an innings that came off 99 balls and included six fours and a six.

Ireland had earlier made a horror start to the day when it was reduced to 36-4. Rescue came in the form of Ben Ackland (66) and Lee Nelson (55) who put on 117 runs for the fifth wicket to steady the ship to lift it to 216-6 in 50 overs.

Scores in brief:

At Bert Sutcliffe Oval, India beat Afghanistan by eight wickets

Afghanistan 118 all out, 49.2 overs (Noor-ul-Haq 61; Jaydev Unadkat 2-17, Manan Sharma 2-18, Saurav Netrawalkar 2-23, Gaurav Jathar 2-28)

India 122-2, 25.2 overs (Mandeep Singh 51 not out, Rahul Kannaur 35)

At Fitzherbert Park, Pakistan beat the West Indies by 40 runs

Pakistan 297-7, 50 overs (Muhammad Babar 129, Azeem Ghumman 49; Jomel Warrican 3-63, Jason Holder 2-50)

West Indies 257 all out, 46.5 overs (Kraigg Brathwaite 92 not out, Trevon Griffiths 84; Ahmad Shahzad 3-43, Muhammad Babar 2-35, Raza Hassan 2-39, Usman Qadir 2-41)

At Queen Elizabeth II Park, Canada by Zimbabwe by 10 runs

Canada 201-7, 50 overs (Usman Limbada 90, Hiral Patel 29; Nathan Waller 2-29)

Zimbabwe 191 all out, 49.4 overs (Dean Mashawidza 75, Andrew Lindsay 40; Zain Mahmood 3-31, Riyazkhan Pathan 2-44)

At Queenstown Events Centre, South Africa beat Ireland by five wickets

Ireland 216-6, 50 overs (Ben Ackland 66, Lee Nelson 55; Kirk Wernars 2-42, Rabian Engelbrecht 2-54)

South Africa 220-5, 43.3 overs (Stephan Smith 67, Dominic Hendricks 47, Malcolm Nofal 32; Stuart Thompson 2-29, Paul Stirling 2-42)

Saturday's fixtures:

England v Hong Kong, Bert Sutcliffe Oval, Lincoln; Australia v USA, Queenstown Events Centre, Queenstown; New Zealand v Canada, Lincoln No.3, Lincoln; Bangladesh v Papua New Guinea, Fitzherbert Park, Palmerston North

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