Scotland stay on top with hard-fought win
Scotland Under-19s beat Kenya Under-19s by 15 runs in a low scoring match at Woodvale Road, Eglinton, to stay at the top of the points table. After choosing to bat, Scotland were in trouble at 77 for 6 before a 65-run partnership between Anjan Luthra and Sam Page revived the innings. Page, who top scored with 48 built another handy stand with Kyle Smith as Scotland reached a respectable 188. The only substantial contributions in Kenya's chase came from opener Rushabh Patel - who scored 50 - and No. 3 batsman Duncan Allan, with 43. The pair added 83 for the second wicket, but once they were dismissed in consecutive overs, the chase faltered, with Kenya managing only 173 for 8 in their 50.
Wicketkeeper Mathew Cross, who had been the lone performer among Scotland's top order and was part of five dismissals in the fiels - including those of Patel and Allan - was named Man of the Match. "We would have been happy with a score of 210-220, but still, to reach 188 after being six down early on was a big effort," Cross said. "When Kenya batted, we felt that one wicket could change the match. Allan fell at the right time for us to fight back. We dried up the runs [after that] and the asking-rate increased."
At Lodge Road, Coleraine, Nepal Under-19s beat Papua New Guinea Under-19s by 29 runs and moved into the second spot on the points table. Batting first, Nepal scored 277 for 7, driven by a fluent 91 from Rajesh Pulami Magar. Magar's knock, which included eight fours and a six, was cut short when he was run out by PNG keeper Dogodo Bau. Opener Sagar Pun and Pradeep Airee also scored half-centuries as Nepal finished with 277 for 7. Vagi Oala and Christopher Kent were the main contributors in the chase, scoring 64 and 80 respectively. However, a penetrative spell from left-arm fast bowler Avinash Karn - he picked up a five-for in 6.3 overs - made sure PNG were always behind, eventually folding for 248 with three balls to spare.
Magar, who was named Man of the Match, said his team was wary of PNG replicating their successful chase against Canada in the previous round of matches. "We lost a few wickets early on, so I had to stay at the wicket and build a partnership," he said. "PNG chased down Canada's score of 266 yesterday and we were a bit wary of their ability to chase the score. But our bowlers bowled brilliantly and restricted them very well."
Canada Under-19s eased to a five-wicket win against USA Under-19s at the Bready Cricket Club No2 Ground, Magheramason. Asked to bowl, Canada shot out USA for 101 in 40.3 overs, courtesy a six-wicket haul from opening bowler Manny Aulakh. The chase was steered by a rapid 42 from Rayyan Pathan, who struck five sixes in his 42 off 29 balls. Though USA managed to pick up five wickets, Canada were never stretched, getting home with 16.4 overs to spare.
Aulakh, the Man of the Match, said the pitch assisted the quicks. "There was something in the pitch for the fast bowlers. We stuck to the basics and they [USA] made a few mistakes. This was one of my best spells."
At the Bready Cricket Club Afghanistan Under-19s registered a comprehensive nine-wicket win against Vanuatu Under-19s. Afghanistan justified their decision to bowl, running through Vanuatu in 26.2 overs. The attack was led by left-armer Sayed Shirzad, who claimed 5 for 38 in nine overs. He was well supported by Yamin Ahmadzai and Abdul Naseri, who picked up two apiece. Chasing 112, Afghanistan lost an early wicket, but were solid thereafter with Javed Ahmadi and Hashmatullah Shaidi knocking off the target at over seven runs an over.
Man-of-the-Match Shirzad said Afghanistan were pumped up as it was a must-win match for them. "It was do or die for us, we had to win to stay in the hunt," he said. "I bowled wicket to wicket and that paid rich dividends."
Ireland Under-19s's match against Namibia Under-19s at New Strabane Park was washed-out after only eight overs. The match will be replayed on Monday. Ireland need a win to regain the second spot on the points table.