England made it two wins from two on day five of the ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup, while South Africa’s new star shone bright again and Afghanistan got the tournament off to a winning start. Here are the big talking points after Tuesday’s action.
ENGLAND BEAT CANADA BY 106 RUNS
Prest plays a captain’s knock
England were in full flow with the bat in Basseterre, with captain Tom Prest playing the crucial knock to set the platform for a big score of 320/7.
The Hampshire right-hander scored at a-run-a-ball for his composed 93, hitting ten fours in the knock showing why he is one of the top prospects in this talented crop of England players.
Prest chipped in with 3/38 with the Ball too, showcasing his allrounder talent, and will need to produce more performances like this if England are to go all the way.
Next generation of innovative white-ball stars
England’s white-ball cricket has blossomed in recent years, and the indication is that the next generation of stars have the talent to keep that trajectory going.
Some of the strokeplay from the English middle-order was astonishing against Canada, with William Luxton (41 from 32), James Sales (23* from 18) and George Bell (57 from 35) accelerating the score dramatically in the final third of the innings.
Bell was particularly impressive, with the reverse-sweep for six that took him to his half-century being the shot of the day.
Canada have real quality
The Canadians may have lost two from two at the World Cup so far, but they’ve been good in those defeats, with a number of players impressing again in the loss to highly-fancied England.
Kairav Sharma put in a decent stint with the ball for his 3/51, dismissing opener George Thomas on 52 with a beauty that spun through the gate and also bamboozling the England captain Prest with a flipper to deny him a century.
And with the bat it was opener Anoop Chima and number eight Gurnek Johal Singh who stood out, showing that there’s plenty of depth to the Canada batting line-up. This side won’t be a pushover for anybody in the remainder of the tournament.
SOUTH AFRICA BEAT UGANDA BY 121 RUNS
Brilliant Brevis is a star in the making
South Africa’s Dewald Brevis – nicknamed ‘Baby AB’ – is one of the breakout stars of the tournament so far, and built on his 65 in the opening game against India with a superb century in Port of Spain.
While the rest of the Proteas batters struggled for fluency on a sticky wicket, Brevis looked every inch a full international in the making, stroking 104 off 110 balls, an innings that featured 11 fours and a six.
The 18-year-old has all the shots in the book, but it’s his control and understanding of game management that has stood out at this tournament.
And as if starring with the bat wasn’t enough, he then bagged 2/18 in an excellent 5.4 over spell with his handy leg-breaks. Watch this space.
Miyagi and Murungi have promise
Uganda’s chances of progressing to the Super League knockouts are over after back-to-back defeats, but the performance of their bowlers in Port of Spain provides some hope that they can do something in the Plate.
All third and fourth finishers in the group stage will enter their own knockout tournament, the Plate League, where Uganda may well rely on more decent spells from their opening bowlers.
Juma Miyaji with 3/33 and Pascal Murungi with 3/58 were both impressive again with the ball, building on their respective double-wicket hauls in the opening game. The bowling attack is not the issue for Uganda, it’s whether the top order can provide a proper platform with the bat.
Bowlers all get a go
South Africa took advantage of their dominant match position to give seven bowlers a trot, with only Liam Alder bowling more than six overs in the innings.
Alder’s remarkable 2/13 off ten were the stand-out figures of the day, with his left-arm spin giving Uganda all sorts of problems. But it was noticeable that all of the other South African bowlers on show also returned tidy figures.
Michael Copeland’s solitary wicket-maiden was the cherry on top, and the Proteas will hope that getting overs into so many of their bowlers will stand them in good stead later in the tournament.
AFGHANISTAN BEAT PAPUA NEW GUINEA BY 135 RUNS
Captain sets the standard
Afghanistan skipper Suliman Safi got his tournament off to a great start with a composed 62, helping his side rebuild their innings after a mini-collapse of three wickets for four runs saw the top three all back in the pavilion with the score at 40/3.
The elegant left-hander hit nine fours in his knock, the top-score of the match, and his 105-run partnership with Ijaz Ahmad Ahmadzai effectively won the match for Afghanistan.
There will be tougher tests to come, with Pakistan and Zimbabwe up next in the group stage, but Safi will go into those fixtures full of confidence.
Batting woes leave PNG short
Papua New Guinea have been bright with the ball in the tournament so far, but once again it was the team’s effort with the bat that let them down in Diego Martin. Only a single player reached double figures, and that was number eight Aue Oru, who managed just 13.
Not a single PNG batter has progressed past 20 in the World Cup so far, and they are going to need to find a way to get a decent total together if they are to give the bowlers a chance in the Plate League later in the tournament.
Earlier Katenalaki Singi had been the star operator with the ball, taking 4/18 in his five overs, with Rasan Kevau and Au Oru also impressive. But the bowlers will need some help from their willow-wielding team-mates in the matches to come.
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