Qasim Akram produced one of the best individual performances the ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup has ever seen to inspire Pakistan to a 238-run hammering of Sri Lanka in the fifth-place playoff.
Akram hit a brilliant unbeaten 135 off just 80 balls to help his side register a mammoth 365/3, with opener Haseebullah Khan also scoring 136.
And off-spinner Akram also took the wickets of all five of Sri Lanka’s top five in the second innings to finish with figures of 5/37 off ten overs to inspire a crunching win.
The 19-year-old’s heroics make him the first player in ICC U19 World Cup history to score a century and take five wickets in the same match.
Pakistan got off to a flying start as openers Khan and Muhammad Shehzad put on 134 for the first wicket in 24.1 overs.
But any Sri Lankan hope that a wicket might slow the flow of runs proved unfounded, as the dismissal of Shehzad for 73 off 69 balls only succeeded in bringing captain Akram to the crease, who proceeded to smash six sixes and 13 fours in a stunning 80-ball score of 135*.
The partnership between Akram and Khan added an eye-watering 229 runs in 25.3 overs, with the latter only falling three balls from the close for a brilliant 136 of his own – a second century of the tournament.
Irfan Khan was trapped lbw for a two-ball two off the final ball of the innings to see Pakistan finish on a daunting 365/3 off their 50 overs.
Sri Lanka’s chances of chasing down the giant target suffered a blow when Akram returned to the action with the ball in hand to dismiss opener Chamindu Wickramasinghe with the very first delivery of the reply.
And Akram’s extraordinary day continued as he first clean-bowled Shevon Daniel, then had Pawan Pathiraja trapped lbw before rattling the stumps of Ranuda Somarathne to leave Sri Lanka reeling on 15/4 after just 4.4 overs.
Sri Lanka briefly rallied, but Akram secured his five-wicked haul with the scalp of Sadisha Rajapaksa, and ended with figures of 5/37 off his ten overs.
The Sri Lankan reply did at least get to triple figures thanks to the excellent Dunith Wellalage (40) and a late cameo from Vinuja Ranpul (53*).
But the innings was wrapped up in just 34.2 overs when Traveen Mathew was trapped in-front off Zeeshan Zameer, with Sri Lanka still 238 runs shy of their target.
Brevis brilliance helps South Africa see off Bangladesh
Dewald Brevis finished his extraordinary tournament on another high, hitting 138 off 130 balls to help his side chase down 294 to win.
Brevis’ century means he has scored two tons and three half-centuries in six innings in the Caribbean, hitting 506 runs and averaging 84.33
And his side needed him at his best after Bangladesh had racked up 293/8 in their 50 overs, with Ariful Islam scoring his second century of the tournament.
Five of Bangladesh’s top six made starts, but it was 17-year-old Islam who made the most of his time in the middle, stroking 102 off just 103 balls in a knock that featured nine fours and three sixes.
Islam fell shortly after reaching his century to the excellent Matthew Boast in the 48th over, with the Tigers adding 15 more runs to their score to set South Africa a target of 294 to finish seventh in the tournament.
Openers Jade Smith (10) and Ronan Hermann (46) got the reply off to a rapid start, but number three Brevis was always going to be the key player in the chase, and he showed great composure to build his way to a significant score once again before accelerating past three figures.
Brevis displayed all of his vast array of shots in a spectacular innings, hitting seven maximums and 11 fours in his 130-ball 138.
With Matthew Boast registering a rapid 41 off 22 balls at the other end, South Africa made a potentially tricky run-chase look like an easy proposition. And they required just 31 to win with six overs remaining when Brevis was finally dismissed, caught off the bowling of Ripon Mondol.
It fell to Liam Alder to hit the winning runs, smashing a six off the penultimate ball of the 49th over to wrap up a famous win with seven deliveries to spare.
But the plaudits went, quite rightly, to the brilliant Brevis, who was applauded around the outfield by his teammates at the end of a special tournament for the youngster nicknamed ‘Baby AB’.
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