ICC Under-19 World Cup Qualifier

Nepal maul Kenya, while Afghanistan open account

ESPNcricinfo staff

July 31, 2011

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Afghanistan surged to their first win in the tournament, Afghanistan U-19s v Papua New Guinea U-19s, Dublin, July 31, 2011
Afghanistan finally got on the points table © International Cricket Council
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Afghanistan Under-19s secured their first win of the tournament, chasing down Papua New Guinea Under-19s' score of 228 for the loss of only four wickets at Rathmines in Dublin. Batting first, PNG were guided along by opener Charles Amini's 52, before Raturima Maha and Dogodo Bau propped them up with useful scores lower down. However, they collapsed from 202 for 5 in the 45th over, thanks to a five-wicket haul from Sayed Shirzad. Afghanistan were in complete control from the start of the chase, with opener Javed Ahmedi's stroke-filled 81 ensuring PNG ended on the losing side.

"We were under a lot of pressure after losing the first two games," said Ahmedi. "This time I wanted to bat big and hold an end up. I did not want a repeat of the first two games, where we chased and lost. Thankfully it went well for us and we are now back in the race."

Canada Under-19s brushed aside Vanuatu Under 19s by nine wickets in a lop-sided encounter at the Merrion Cricket Club Ground in Dublin. Three-wicket hauls from Manny Aulakh and Kesavan Juvarajan consigned Vanuatu to a sorry score of 145, with only No. 5 batsman Nalin Nipiko (48) showing resistance. In reply, opener Nitish Kumar, who played for Canada in the World Cup, slammed 61 off 48 balls as his side raced home in the 26th over.

"This pitch was flatter than the previous one," said Kumar. "There was a bit of turn, but overall it came on to the bat very nicely. All credit to our bowlers for their spells. This win is a big boost to the team. We are now back on track. Everyone's positive about it and the mood is great in the camp."

Scotland Under-19s outlasted Ireland Under-19s by two wickets with a ball to spare in a hard-fought Duckworth-Lewis encounter at the Hills Cricket Club ground in Dublin. Ireland's No. 3 batsman, Jason van der Merwe contributed 96 to rescue his side from a dodgy 38 for 3, before a string of handy lower-order contributions lifted the score to 237. Scotland had reached 106 for 3 in 24 overs when rain forced a modification of their target to 206 off 40 overs. Peter Ross played a steady hand, scoring an unbeaten 60 off 71 balls to take them home with one ball to spare.

"Despite the rains, I thought it was an achievable target," said Ross. "I just thought if we keep up with the rate we could be in with a chance. My plan was to keep getting a run a ball. We have such depth in our batting that we can win from any position. This win has done a lot for the confidence of the side and we now need to keep performing to qualify."

Nepal Under-19s blitzed Kenya Under-19s by six wickets, after restricting them to an embarrassing 107 at Railway Union Cricket Club in Dublin. The win was set up by opening bowlers Avinash Karn and Krishna Karki who finished with identical figures of 3 for 27 apiece, while Bhuvan Karki picked up 2 for 9 in 10 miserly overs. Irfan Karim's 40 helped Kenya limp past 100, but Nepal had no problem overhauling the target in under 20 overs, despite an incisive spell from Duncan Allan in which he picked up 4 for 38.

"Unlike in the subcontinent, the pitches here offer some assistance," explained Karn. "It swung a bit and seamed off the surface for me. We wanted to get them for as low a target as possible. It was a tricky chase but the captain got us through."

USA Under-19s handed Namibia Under-19s their first defeat of the tournament in a high-scoring encounter at The Inch, in the process registering their first points in the competition. Captain Steven Taylor's breezy 102 off 74 balls (14 fours and four sixes) launched USA's assault, before Amarnauth Persaud and Pranay Suri sustained the momentum to lift them to 312 for 6. While most of Namibia's batsmen got starts, they were unable to take charge of the game, and at 197 for 6, they seemed to have lost too many wickets too early. Gert Lotter and Merwe Erasmus then struck half-centuries to revive the chase, but it proved to be a false dawn as they folded up for 266 in the 47th over.

"My plan was clear," said Man of the Match Taylor. "I just wanted to attack and take advantage of the Powerplay. If I had stayed on then we could have scored 400. Maybe I could have even got a double hundred. My philosophy is clear; if I see the ball, I will hit it.''

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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