Day seven of the ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup saw England make it three wins from three as captain Tom Prest scored a big hundred, while Pakistan and Bangladesh secured crucial wins of their own. Here are the big talking points from the day’s action.
ENGLAND BEAT UAE BY 189 RUNS
Phenomenal Prest goes big
England captain Tom Prest had a reputation as a quality all-rounder prior to the tournament, and that hype will not have gone away after a brilliant innings of 154* set his team up for a massive total in Basseterre.
Prest missed out on his century last time out against Canada, falling seven runs short. But he wasn’t to be denied this time, and kicked on in style after reaching three figures. The right-hander’s unbeaten knock featured 17 boundaries, including four maximums, and this sort of form he’s going to be a crucial scalp for teams in the knockout stage.
Are England the team to beat?
Three nations went into this tournament with reputations a step above the rest, and so far it is England who are standing out the most from the top-rated trio.
India and Australia both look more than handy too, but this massive victory makes it three comfortable and dominant displays by England to seal their spot in the quarter-finals, and they look switched on in all aspects of the game.
How this talented batting line-up will fair against the top calibre attacks at the tournament remains to be seen, but right now they appear to be the team to beat.
Boyden is brilliant again
Left-arm seamer Josh Boyden has led the England attack brilliantly in the Caribbean, and the 17-year-old was at his clinical best again, conceding just 10 runs in his five overs and picking up two big wickets.
Boyden now has 10 wickets to his name in the tournament and is proving quite the banker for his side, moving the ball around cleverly at a handy but not especially blistering pace.
PAKISTAN BEAT AFGHANISTAN BY 24 RUNS
Super League stage awaits
Pakistan’s narrow win secures them a spot in the Super League knockout stages, while Afghanistan will now head to what amounts to a winner-takes-all clash on Saturday against Zimbabwe.
The two teams go into that final Group C game knowing that victory would send them into the elite competition, and based on the performances so far there’s barely anything between them. The Diego Martin Sporting Complex will be the place to be on Saturday.
Sadaqat makes the difference
A cameo from number eight Maaz Sadaqat proved crucial for Pakistan, with his 42* from 37 balls helping lift his side’s total up to 239/9.
Pakistan looked in danger of being skittled out for as much as 50 runs less at one stage of their innings, and in a tight game those runs proved highly significant, with Afghanistan falling just 24 short in the chase.
Pressure proves too much
To hold Afghanistan to 215 in their full 50 overs took a superb all-round bowling performance from Pakistan in Tarouba.
Awais Ali returned the best figures with 3/36, but every bowler did his job, with nobody leaking big runs and ensuring that the pressure grew and grew on an inexperienced Afghanistan batting line-up.
It was that combined effort that got Pakistan across the line.
BANGLADESH BEAT CANADA BY EIGHT WICKETS
Winner-takes-all match awaits for Bangladesh
Bangladesh were extremely good value for their first win of the tournament, restricting Canada to a slow and unremarkable 136 from 44.3 overs and then chasing it down with 119 balls to spare as the top order all got a bit of time out in the middle.
Next up it’s the United Arab Emirates on Saturday, and the winner from that match will join England in the Super League knockout competition.
The UAE side will need to be on their game, because Bangladesh are in the mood.
Chima’s a talented player
Canada may be consigned to finishing bottom of Group A, but the spirit and talent of Anoop Chima gave them something to celebrate on a tough afternoon.
The wicketkeeper has been a consistent performer with the bat throughout the tournament, but this innings was both the most impressive and most gutsy. His 63 took 117 balls, but effectively carried the innings, with him falling just ten runs shy of the final total having opened the batting.
This is a 19-year-old with real potential.
Relentless attack does the damage
Bangladesh knocked the target off with eye-catching ease, with Iftakher Hossain the top scorer with 61*. But this win wasn’t built on the strength of the batting order. The victory came primarily thanks to an extremely tight team effort with the ball, which saw Canada forced to limp along at little better than three-an-over.
SM Meherob (4/38) and Ripon Mondol (4/24) enjoyed the best figures of the day, but it was a team effort to squeeze Canada until the pressure became too much.
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