By Sidhanta Patnaik in Dubai
Bowlers come to fore as New Zealand U-19 folds for 114, to sink to 115-run loss
In a must-win game, the entire team rose to the occasion in unison. Ryan Higgins’ 82 took them to 229 for 8 after it won the toss, and then Fisher returned figures of 3 for 18, while Winslade and Rob Sayer picked up two wickets each as New Zealand was bowled out for 114 in 36.1 overs.
Like in its game against Sri Lanka, England was slow at the start. New Zealand’s opening pair Kyle Jamieson and Brett Randall bowled a tight line to concede only 39 runs in the first 11 overs. Randall was particularly impressive with his pace, and bowled three maiden overs. He was rewarded with the wicket of Dominic Sibley, who disappointed for the second time in two games, in his first spell. Sibley committed himself a bit early to the shot, but the ball stopped a bit and Ken McClure did well to lap up the leading edge at cover.
Harry Finch and Higgins got about rebuilding the innings, but New Zealand cut down the runs and the left-arm spinner Jeremy Benton was particularly miserly. He pushed one through the air, Finch offered no footwork, and was bowled for 30.
England took the Power Play in the 24th over to push the scoring rate, but lost Jonathan Tattersall, who had made 95 against Sri Lanka, in comical fashion. Tattersall went for a pull against the offspinner Dane Watson but missed the line of a full toss delivery and was trapped high on his pads.
A run later, Ed Barnard dabbed the ball to midwicket but his hesitation meant he was always in trouble. Having committed to Higgins, Barnard ran and the midwicket fielder missed his target at the non-striker’s end. However, Ken McClure was alert enough to run up from short cover and break the stumps just in time.
Though New Zealand was mostly good on the field, a few close shaves for Higgins, early in the innings, proved to be crucial.
The Zimbabwe-born Higgins structured his innings the way Tattersall had done against Sri Lanka. His entire focus was on preserving his wicket, while Will Rhodes went ahead with his strokes. But, New Zealand remained on top as England failed to rotate the strike. In all, it played 189 dot balls.
Trying to push the score along, Rhodes hit one Raki Weerasundara delivery straight to the short midwicket fielder, and that brought about the turning point of the game.
Joe Clarke, having come with clear instructions to take on the attack, was aggressive. He played the Dilscoop to good effect and added 64 runs in 37 balls with Higgins.
His approach caught New Zealand off-guard, who suddenly looked wayward. Surprisingly, even the fielding standards dropped by a margin, and it allowed Higgins to play his natural game.
Higgins played the cut shot well and showed good patience, going for no boundaries for 68 balls during one period of his innings. He broke the shackles when he went down on his knee to hit Randell over midwicket. Then, he pulled Jamieson for his second six. The aggression was, however, cut short, when Jamieson caught him at deep point to give Randell his second of three wickets.
However, by then he had done enough to put his team on a strong footing.
England’s position was further established when Fisher, who was the Man of the Match, had Tim Seifert trapped in front of the wicket with an inswinger off the fourth ball of the New Zealand innings. In his second over, McClure went on the back foot to cut, but the ball jagged back in sharply and the batsman chopped it on to the stumps. A little later, Rob O’Donnell nicked an away going delivery to be caught behind.
With three wickets in his first six overs, Fisher had given England a great start and when Weerasundara, who had looked organised during his innings of 41, was deceived by a straight low delivery from the offspinner Sayer the game was sealed in England’s favour.
Winslade had Shaun Hicks caught at short midwicket off a short-of-a-length delivery, and off the next ball he had Jameison with a fast one that nipped back in.
Randell played out the hat-trick ball but neither Winslade nor any of the other England players were complaining too much about it.