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Alick Athanaze

U19CWC Report Card: West Indies

ICC U19 CWC, report card

West Indies were unable to defend their ICC U19 CWC crown, finishing in ninth place after losing the Plate final to Sri Lanka.

Results summary: 

Group stage
Lost to New Zealand by 8 wickets
Lost to South Africa by 76 runs
Beat Kenya by 222 runs

Plate quarter-final
Beat Ireland by 4 wickets

Plate semi-final
Beat Canada by 187 runs

Plate final
Lost to Sri Lanka by 3 wickets

Positives to take home?
After the glory of two years ago, when West Indies lifted the U19 CWC in Bangladesh, a ninth-place finish at the 2018 edition will have come as a disappointment. That said, three victories from six matches was by no means a disaster, and there were several noteworthy individual performances from players who look to have an exciting future ahead of them at senior level.

The standout performer was unquestionably the left-handed batsman Alick Athanaze (more on him later) but opening batsman Keagan Simmons also impressed, carrying his bat for 92* in West Indies' opening match against New Zealand before smashing 166 from 137 balls in their victory over Canada. The 17-year-old all-rounder Nyeem Young also caught the eye with his aggressive batting from the middle-order; his unbeaten 55 from 33 deliveries rescued West Indies against Ireland when they appeared to be heading for a shock defeat. 

Bhaskar Yadram was the pick of their bowlers, collecting 11 wickets at an average of 18.36, including a five-for against Kenya. With the 18-year-old also scoring useful runs at the top of the order, he looks a real find. 
Bhaskar Yadram after his five-wicket haul against Kenya
Bhaskar Yadram after his five-wicket haul against Kenya
Areas for improvement?
The Windies made a slow start to the tournament, losing their first two matches to New Zealand and South Africa to end their hopes of qualification for the Super League quarter-finals. Their fighting spirit was impressive though, bouncing back from that disappointment to register three victories in succession, before losing to Sri Lanka in the Plate final. A late Sri Lankan slump in their chase of 255, which saw them lose seven wickets for 31 runs, suggested the Windies might have some silverware to show for their efforts, but it wasn't to be. 
West Indies' triumph in 2016 was based on a venomous bowling attack spearheaded by Alzarri Joseph, who made his senior debut just a few months after the competition. But, with the exception of Yadram, their bowlers didn't offer the same firepower this time around. The selectors will be keeping an eye out for some raw pace when planning for the 2020 edition of the ICC U19 CWC in South Africa. 
Rising star?
With 418 runs at an incredible average of 104.50, including two centuries and two fifties, Alick Athanaze has the makings of future international star. He scored his runs at a healthy lick too, with a strike rate of 95.87. Having already hit an unbeaten 116 against Kenya, the 19-year-old southpaw saved his best performance till last, stroking a sublime 110* in the Plate final. Not since Shane Shillingford in 2012 has a cricketer from the island of Dominica represented West Indies in a Test match. On current form, Athanaze could well be the next. 
Video cwc19 28 Jan 18
Highlights from Alick Athanaze's unbeaten 110
Overall grade

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