Day 9 at the 2022 ICC U19 Cricket World Cup saw the final knockout stages confirmed as the group stage reached their conclusion.
It was a good day for Bangladesh and Afghanistan, who booked their places in the Super League knockout stage, while both India and Pakistan warmed up for the next phase with comprehensive victories of their own. Here are the major talking points from four action-packed matches.
India beat Uganda by 326 runs
Centuries for Raghuvanshi and Bawa set up big win for India
India’s batting power was once again a hot topic at the 2022 ICC U19 Cricket World Cup, as they posted a massive score of 405 on their way to ending the group stage with three wins from three matches. With 944 runs scored across those three victories, the Indian batters have lit up the tournament over the opening couple of weeks.
Two of the three highest individual scores in tournament history were set today. Raj Bawa’s imperious, unbeaten 162 broke the all-time record, while Angkrish Raghuvanshi’s 144 was the third-highest total ever.
Bawa smashed eight sixes in his record-breaking knock and it gives him a tournament average of 108.50 so far. And although India entered this one as heavy favourites to beat Uganda, the manner of victory serves as a warning to the rest of the teams that have qualified for the quarter-finals.
Murungi impresses in heavy defeat
Having not qualified since 2006, Uganda entered this tournament as underdogs in a group containing India, South Africa and Ireland. Despite their big defeat here on Day 9, the obvious bright spot for them was the all-round performance of Pascal Murungi - he topped the bowling figures (3/72) and the batting figures (34) for the Ugandans with a performance that caught the eye and showcased his talent. His defiant 34 included seven fours, before he fell to Nishant Sindhu - one of Sindhu’s four wickets in a bowling performance that stood out as India bowled out Uganda inside 20 overs to win by 326 runs.
Pakistan beat Papua New Guinea by nine wickets
Red-hot bowling performance from Pakistan
While India’s performance with the bat was the talk of Day 9, earlier in the day Pakistan’s attack was ruthlessly efficient in their final group match against Papua New Guinea. Pakistan bowled out their opponents for just 51, ensuring that they topped their group with a 100% record, matching their neighbours and historic rivals in the process.
A devastating spell of 5/7 in just 6.4 overs from Muhammad Shehzad - amongst the best ever figures in tournament history - dazzled fans and ripped through Papua New Guinea’s mid/lower order, and highlighted Pakistan’s strength in depth with the ball ahead of the Super League knockout stage.
The group stage draw was undoubtedly kind to Pakistan, and a bigger challenge awaits in the form of Australia next weekend - but they will go into that one full of confidence in their quest to win the competition for the third time.
Afghanistan beat Zimbabwe by 109 runs
Impressive batting powers Afghans to quarter-finals
Trinidad and Tobago played host to the shootout between Afghanistan and Zimbabwe that would decide who finished runners-up in Group C - and it was Afghanistan who took the win, and with it the prize of a place in the quarter-finals.
After his team won what was predicted to be a crucial toss, a superb century from Suliman Safi helped Afghanistan set their opponents 262 to win, vindicating their decision to bat first. Safi finally fell to Alex Falao, the final dismissal of the innings and of Falao’s impressive three-wicket haul.
After giving Pakistan their biggest test of the group stage, the question on everyone’s lips was whether they could hold their nerve to progress in this tournament. On their best form, they represent tough opposition for all the other qualifiers - although they’ll have to be at their peak when facing on-form Sri Lanka in Antigua on Friday.
Bangladesh beat UAE by nine wickets (DLS)
Would Bangladesh keep alive their dream of retaining the trophy they won in fairytale fashion in 2020 - that was the big talking point ahead of their final group match against UAE at Warner Park.
UAE’s impressive performance in their win over Canada and Bangladesh’s loss to England meant that the runners-up spot would go down to the last fixture of the group. And all the pre-match talk was about whether the holders would keep their nerve in a match they were heavily favoured to win.
When the rain came in the middle of Bangladesh’s run chase, the nerves will have increased despite them always looking comfortable in this one. Having bowled out their opponents for 148 they eventually got home with nine wickets to spare via DLS to set up a huge match against India next Sunday.
With the quarter-finals line-up now confirmed, those quarter-finals, which run from Thursday through to Sunday, have a fascinating look to them. Who will prevail from the two ties that see two traditional powerhouse square up? England v South Africa and Pakistan v Australia are mouth-watering clashes to look forward to.
And will we see upsets in the other two ties? All the pressure on Sri Lanka and India, who face Afghanistan and Bangladesh respectively.
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