Canada and West Indies will battle it out for a spot in the ICC Under 19s Cricket World Cup Plate final.
Canada take on West Indies in the second ICC U19 CWC Plate semi-final at the Bert Sutcliffe Oval in Christchurch on Friday. With both nations having missed out on Super League qualification, a consolation place in the Plate final awaits the winner.
The Obstructing the Field dismissal the West Indies enacted against South Africa made headlines at the start of the tournament, while their one win in the group stage came against Kenya – 116 not out from Alick Athanaze setting up a comprehensive 222-run victory. Defeats against New Zealand and South Africa followed, however, as they finished third in their group.
West Indies’ power-hitters helped secure a four-wicket win in the Plate quarter-final against Ireland on Tuesday. Half-centuries from Bhaskar Yadram, Emmanuel Stewart and Nyeem Young ensured they chased down the 279-run target with relative ease.
The Canadians were competitive in the group phase but also only claimed one victory, which came against Namibia. Going into their last group match, Canada had a chance of making the Super League before crashing to a sizeable defeat to England by 282 runs. They also lost to Bangladesh.
In Monday’s Plate quarter-final against Papua New Guinea, a superb century from Akash Gill helped Canada recover from 82/4 to 265/8 – their highest ICC U19 CWC total – before their bowlers smartly restricted PNG to 185.
Players to watch
Akash Gill (Ken)
All-rounder Akash Gill became the first centurion for Canada in an ICC U19 CWC match against PNG in the Plate quarter-final. The left-handed batsman biffed 12 fours and two sixes in his outstanding knock of 120. He arrived at the crease at 82/4 and, assisted by skipper Arslan Khan, proceeded to drag Canada to 247 before he was dismissed.
The Player of the Match said: “I didn’t really know about that record [first Canada batsman to score a century in the ICC U19 CWC], but it’s honestly a great feeling. When I got to that milestone, I was just overwhelmed. It still feels surreal to me, I’m just letting it sink in.”
Also a useful right-arm seam bowler, Gill has seven wickets in this tournament, including a spell of 4/43 against Namibia – a match in which he also scored 52 from 67 balls.
Alick Athanaze (WI)
With 27 more tournament runs than Gill, Athanaze is a big threat for the Windies. With 221 runs at 73.66 and a strike rate of 95.67, it’s surprising to learn that the Dominica-born batsman’s five domestic List A outings have yielded a batting average of just 2.40.
The 19-year-old followed up his 76 against South Africa in Mount Maunganui with a commanding 116 not out versus Kenya in Lincoln. His 1/22 and 2/15 against New Zealand and PNG respectively are testament to his tidy off-breaks.
World Cup history
In six ICC U19 CWC appearances Canada have never made the quarter-finals. Their best finish was 11th in 2010, but they’ve finished second-from-last in all their other campaigns. Highlights include a tie with Bangladesh in their very first tournament, and the defeat of Zimbabwe during the 2010 edition.
West Indies saw off India in a tense final in Bangladesh two years ago to win the ICC U19 CWC for the first time. The best they had fared previously was their runner-up place in 2004. From that 2016 title-winning side, the likes of Shimron Hetmyer and Alzarri Joseph have graduated to higher honours.
Head to head
West Indies and Canada have played each just once in the ICC U19 CWC, meeting in Group C of the 2014 edition in Abu Dhabi. West Indies' 289/4 proved too much for the Canadians, who were bowled out for 226 with three balls of their innings remaining.
Scattered showers are expected in Lincoln, Canterbury, on Friday, with temperatures up to 21 °C and 77 per cent humidity.
Canada: Arslan Khan (c), Akash Gill, Ashtan DeoSammy, Emanuel Khokhar, Kavian Naress, Kevin Singh, Pranav Sharma, Randhir Sandhu, Krishen Samuel, Faisal Jamkhandi, Arshdeep Dhaliwal, Rishiv Joshi, Aran Pathmanathan, Pieter Pretorious, Rommel Shazad
West Indies: Emmanuel Stewart (c), Kirstan Kallicharan, Ronaldo Alimohamed, Alick Athanaze, Cephas Cooper, Jarion Hoyte, Kimani Melius, Ashmead Nedd, Kian Pemberton, Brad Barnes (replaced injured Raymond Perez), Joshua Persaud, Jeavor Royal, Keagan Simmons, Bhaskar Yadram, Nyeem Young
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