Australia opened their account with a six-wicket win over tournament hosts West Indies at the ICC Men's Under-19 Cricket World Cup 2022, while two star performers helped Sri Lanka see off Scotland in the other Group D match on Friday. We pick out the key talking points from the tournament’s opening day.
AUSTRALIA VS WEST INDIES
Wyllie Wins It
Australia made their 170-run chase against West Indies look comfortable, and that was largely due to the quality of opener Teague Wyllie.
The 17-year-old is the second-youngest member of the Australian squad at the tournament, but he belied his tender years to deliver a masterful and controlled innings that anchored the chase.
The right-hander from Perth steadied the ship after the loss of Corey Miller for a duck and Isaac Higgins for nine, building a steady partnership with his skipper Cooper Connolly before easing his team to the target with more than five overs to spare.
Wyllie finished unbeaten on 86 from 129 deliveries and looked like he would have carried on to record the tournament’s first century had the size of the target not halted his innings 14 runs short.
On this showing the Aussie opener is certainly one to watch as the tournament progresses.
Spinners star in Guyana
Australia’s quicks collectively impressed, with Tom Whitney the pick of the bunch. But it was arguably the two front-line spinners on either side who delivered the most eye-catching performances with the ball on the day.
Onaje Amory was the only West Indies bowler to get through his full ten overs, and did so going for just 29 runs. The big right-arm offspinner bagged the scalp of Australian captain Cooper Connolly to peg back the Aussie chase, and the 18-year-old looks like he could be the cornerstone of the West Indies’ campaign with the ball.
But while Amory was impressive, it was Australia’s Nivethan Radhakrishnan who will attract the most attention thanks to a return of 3/48 from his ten overs. The Sydney-based spinner was the only Australian to bowl his full allocation, and he did so while showcasing his stunning ambidextrous ability.
Radhakrishnan can bowl to a high standard both as a right-arm off-break bowler and as a left-arm orthodox spinner, and he did so to great effect in Guyana, leaving the West Indies bamboozled at times with his variety. A big turner to bowl Johann Layne through the gate was the pick of his three wickets on the day, and he’ll likely be a star attraction for much of the tournament.
The two captains lived up to their billing with impressive individual displays at the Providence Stadium.
Australia’s Cooper Connolly had warmed up for the tournament with a century against India, but couldn’t quite deliver with the bat against the hosts. However, although his 23 off 31 was disappointingly low, it showed a level of fluency that hinted at big things to come in the tournament, while also helping rescue his side from the loss of two early wickets.
It was with the ball that Connolly had the bigger impact, coming into the attack with his left-arm spin to derail the West Indies’ recovery, finishing with 3/17 off seven overs, including two crucial middle-order wickets.
One of those dismissals was of West Indies captain Ackeem Auguste, who comfortably top-scored for his side as he posted the first half-century of the tournament.
Auguste came to the crease with his team reeling from the loss of three wickets for just 12 runs, but the elegant left-handed batter took the attack to the Australians with a classy 57 off 67.
SRI LANKA VS SCOTLAND
Sri Lanka’s difference-maker
Sri Lanka had lost three wickets for three runs in seven balls when Sakuna Nidarshana Liyanage strolled to the crease at number six. And his side slumped further while he was out in the middle, with Sri Lanka seemingly in a heap of trouble at 99/6 heading towards the midway point of the innings.
But the left-hander responded with a knock that defined the match, a sparkling run-a-ball 85 that saw him smash four sixes while simultaneously managing the tail as wickets fell around him. Only Scotland’s Jack Jarvis got close to looking as fluent as the Sri Lankan batter.
A first five-wicket haul
The tournament has its first five-wicket haul, and it’s Sri Lanka captain Dunith Wellalage who got it. The left-arm spinner was not only the best bowler in the match, taking five for 27 runs off his nine overs, but also produced his wickets at crucial moments in the second innings.
Wellalage took the scalps of four of Scotland’s top six, and returned to dismiss his fellow skipper late on to snuff out any dwindling hope the Scottish side had left.
With the bat his ten runs off 31 balls didn’t pull up any trees, but it did help forge an important partnership through the middle overs to help Sri Lanka build their way towards a sizable score, showing an impressive willingness to reign himself in for the good of the team.
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Jarvis efforts in vain
Scotland will look back at the inability of their batters to convert starts as one of the primary reasons for the failed chase of 219. All but one of the top eight reached double figures for Scotland, but just a single player progressed past 20. That batter was the impressive Jack Jarvis, who can hold his head high after an all-round display with bat and ball.
Jarvis stroked 55 off 61 balls, including three fours and three sixes, in what was the second most impressive knock of the game. And he stood out with the ball too, with his 2/27 one of the tidier sets of figures from the Scottish bowlers.
With matches against Australia and West Indies to come, Scotland will be hoping that Jarvis can carry his form into those games against two of the tournament’s heavyweights.
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