Kenya need 420 to beat Sri Lanka 419/4 (Boyagoda 191, Madushka 60, Mendis 53*)
A dominant batting performance from Sri Lanka, built around a staggering 191 from Hasitha Boyagoda, saw them record the highest U19 ODI score in their history, and the fourth-highest for all teams, to help them crush Kenya by 311 runs, the joint-second biggest winning margin in Under 19 ODI history.
It would be remiss to start anywhere else than with Boyagoda, whose innings broke Jakob Bhula’s record for the highest score in an Under 19 ODI, made just six days previously against the same opposition.
From a ‘proper cricket’ point of view, it was as close to a perfect innings as you’ll see. The pacing was sublime, Boyagoda first taking advantage of the PowerPlay restrictions, racing away to his half-century in just 39 balls, then taking stock in the middle overs, before accelerating towards the end, and the technique too was up there with the best we’ve seen this tournament; despite the strike-rate, this was no mad dash or slog-fest – indeed, he struck just two sixes – with Boyagoda instead relying on the virtues of timing and placement, his off-side front-foot strokeplay catching the eye in particular.
Support wasn’t in short supply either, with all of Sri Lanka’s top six making at least 29 and striking at above 100. Nishan Madushka’s 60 was the next top score, but the most attention-grabbing period came after Boyagoda was dismissed as captain Kamindu Mendis and Nawanidu Fernando added 80 runs in just under six overs. Mendis especially was exceptional, bringing up his fifty from just 21 balls on the last ball of the innings, his knock containing one absolutely enormous six which flew miles over midwicket.
For Kenya, this was a fourth chastening stint in the field in succession. They have been on the receiving end of five centuries, two of them world record innings, two 400-plus scores, a 40-ball 90, and a 21-ball 53. They could have been forgiven for throwing away their wickets in a bid for an early finish and in the face of an impossible target, and it is to their credit that, for the fourth time in a row, they didn't choose to.
There was never any pretence of trying to chase the runs as Kenya chose the deadbat route, but Sri Lanka stuck at their task manfully, eventually dismissing their opposition for 108 after 36 overs of toil, securing victory and passage to the Plate Semi-Final to face Zimbabwe.