Afghanistan, Canada and PNG win
Afghanistan Under-19s won a pulsating encounter against Namibia Under-19s by one wicket at the Limavady Cricket Club. Afghanistan chose to field, but could not get an early wicket as the Namibia openers added 49 runs at a steady clip. Thereafter, the Afghan bowlers gradually pulled things back through an incisive spell from Javed Ahmadi that yielded 4 for 35. Merwe Erasmus hit a half-century to lift the score to 208 for 9. Afghanistan's chase struggled to stay afloat as wickets went down every time a partnership seemed to be developing. They seemed down and out at 106 for 6, but Nasir Ahmadzai had other ideas. He battled with the tail and hauled them over the line off the penultimate ball of the chase, after the No. 10 batsman was run out off the previous delivery.
Ahmadzai, who was declared the Man of the Match, said he was "always confident" of reaching the target. "I just kept telling the new batsmen to give me support. We just had to knock a few singles around to get to the target," he said. "I was in a similar situation few months ago, but then I got out early. But this time I managed to keep my cool and reach the target."
Canada Under-19s edged past Nepal Under-19s in an attritional thriller at the Bready Cricket Club. Bowlers ruled the roost in a game where only 213 runs were scored in 91.1 overs. Kesavan Juvarajan and Trevor Manoosingh scalped three wickets apiece as Nepal cobbled together a score of 106, with extras - 24 - the highest contribution to the total. The Nepal bowlers were almost as generous, conceding 19 extras in the chase, but Canada owed their victory to Kyle Edghill's dour unbeaten 52 off 133 balls. Seven wickets fell and no other batsman managed to get past 17, but Edghill ensured he saw his side home in the 49th over.
Ireland Under-19s blew Vanuatu Under-19s away by 165 runs at Lodge Road, to move to the top of the points table. Andy McBrine slammed 107 off 104 balls to propel Ireland to 313 for 9, before coming back to pick up two wickets in an efficient Ireland bowling performance. Nalin Nipiko resisted with 62, but the game as a contest was over long before he became the seventh wicket to fall in the chase. Man-of-the-Match McBrine said the the would do "wonders" for the squad. "We finally won comfortably," he said. "This will send out a strong message to the rest of the field."
A mind-boggling tenth-wicket stand of 67 in 65 balls lifted Papua New Guinea Under-19s to 204 for 9, a total they managed to defend easily against Kenya Under-19s at New Strabane Park, to register their second win in five games. Few would have expected PNG to recover from 137 for 9, but No. 9 Toua Tom chanced his arm to haul his team out of trouble. He smashed four fours and as many sixes in 82 off 86 balls, while last man Alei Nao hung on gamely for 7 off 33. Buoyed by their resurgence, PNG came out with vigour and skittled Kenya for 138, ironically one run more than PNG had on the board when the ninth wicket fell.
Scotland Under-19s joined Ireland at the top of the table with their fourth win in five matches, crushing USA Under-19s by eight wickets in Woodvale Road. USA had progressed to a reasonable 102 for 3 after choosing to bat, but then had no answer to Scotland's offspinning pair of Kyle Smith and Ross McLean. In the 24th over, Smith removed the set batsmen, Greg Sewdial and Abhijit Joshi, off successive deliveries. None of the batsmen who followed made it to double digits as the final seven wickets went down for 22 runs. Chasing a straightforward 125, Scotland lost their openers early but an unbeaten 60 from No. 3 Freddie Coleman and 40 from Peter Ross took them to a comfortable victory in the 29th over. Smith, who was named Man of the Match, said, "today was our best all-round performance in the tournament. We are getting into the groove now."