ICC U19 World Cup: South Africa and Pakistan end their campaign in style

South Africa and Pakistan end their U19 World Cup journey on a high note | [email protected] | Photo credit: Twitter

Pakistan and South Africa both capped their ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup campaigns on a high note with wins on Thursday. Two-time champions Pakistan beat Sri Lanka in the fifth-place qualifier after both teams’ chances of lifting the trophy ended in the quarter-finals last week.

Pakistan were in charge from the start at Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground, with fly-half Muhammad Shehzad and Haseebullah Khan dominating Sri Lanka’s attack. The pair led Pakistan to 100 without a loss, with Shehzad eventually making 73 from just 69 deliveries before being fired by vice-captain Raveen de Silva.

But Khan was joined in the crease by impressive skipper Qasim Akram and the two took the game away from Sri Lanka, setting up a superb position. The two made centuries and took Pakistan beyond 350, Khan finally disappeared when he was trapped by Matheesha Pathirana ending 136.

Akram remained undefeated as his team closed on 365/3, setting their opponents an uphill task to claim fifth place. And the Sri Lankan response was in tatters after just two overs with Akram wreaking havoc with the new ball.

The talented all-rounder knocked out fly-half Chamindu Wickramasinghe and Pawan Pathiraja for a combined total of one, with Shevon Daniel also falling in between. Ranuda Somarathna also went for a duck with Akram singlehandedly reducing Sri Lanka to 4-15.

From then on, Sri Lanka only beat out of pride. Their captain Dunith Wellalage did not go without a fight and made a brave 40, which included five limits. Vinuja Ranpul was in equally defiant mood, hitting 53 paces and his teams just two sixes in the game.

But that wasn’t enough and Pakistan clinched a 238-point victory when Treveen Mathew was hit on the pads by Zeeshan Zameer’s full delivery, knocking out the Sri Lanka side in 35 overs to secure fifth place.

Meanwhile, Coolidge Cricket Ground, South Africa were also aiming to end their time in the Caribbean on a high, facing Bangladesh in the seventh-place qualifier. After winning the toss and choosing the bat, Bangladesh got off to a good start reaching 50 unbeaten, but Mahfijul Islam fell to Liam Alder in the 10th.

But Ariful Islam’s fourth man kept maximum pressure on the South African attack, breaking 102 of 103 balls and finding the boundary 12 times. The 17-year-old looked untouchable for much of the Bangladesh innings, until the 47th when Mathew Boast found a good line and Islam fired a shot at South Africa captain George Van Heerden.

The Bengal Tigers eventually reached a solid 293-8 aggregate at the end of their 50 overs. In response, South Africa lost Jade Smith in the sixth when she edged out Musfik Hasan’s performance. But Dewald Brevis, who hit 97 in the quarter-final loss to England, offered his side some hope with a century eventually finishing with 138 from 130 balls.

The other end was less reliable, with Van Heerden and Gerhardus Maree both going cheap, however, Mathew Boast’s quick 41-of-22 shot kept them on track. In a nervy finale, it looked like Andile Simelane would take South Africa over the line, but was exhausted after a neat lineout from Ripon Mondol.

But eventually they took the win and seventh place, in style when Alder landed a big punch to the side of the leg that lasted six, securing a two-wicket victory in the process. It improved their final standings at the 2020 tournament where they finished eighth, but for defending champions Bangladesh a tough three weeks ended in defeat.

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