Captain Cook sails England to semis
England 219 for 4 (Cook 108*) beat Zimbabwe 218 for 9 (Taylor 45) by six wickets
Alistair Cook recorded his second century in consecutive matches, and Luke Wright made 79, as England booked their place in the semi-finals of the U19 World Cup. Incredibly, it was Cook's second score of 108 not out from 131 balls, the only difference being that he hit 10 boundaries on this occasion, compared to 11 against New Zealand earlier in the week.
Cook emulated India's Shikhar Dhawan who has also made two hundreds, and his efforts ensured a workmanlike victory for England. They were always favourites for this match but could take nothing for granted against Zimbabwe, who had bundled Australia out for 73 - and out of the tournament - at the group stage.
Zimbabwe were left to rue their missed opportunities. They were put in by England, and although eight of their batsmen made double figures, no-one could manage more than Brendon Taylor's 45. They were kept in check by some tight English bowling, in particular from Tim Bresnan and David Stiff, who each picked up three wickets, and were limited to 218 for 9 in their 50 overs.
Cook was in control from the start of England's reply, and reached his half-century from 55 balls. Samit Patel, who also made a century against New Zealand, was the third man to fall with the score on 93, but Wright strode to the middle and broke the back of the run-chase. Although he was dismissed with victory in sight, Cook sealed the win with an over to spare.
After the match, Cook was quick to share the credit for England's success. "It is great to score two tons on the bounce but Samit [Patel] also scored a century against New Zealand and today Wrighty took a lot of the pressure off me with his 79 runs. We came here aiming to get two points today and we're obviously happy to have done that but we didn't play as well as we know we can."
Zimbabwe are now out of the tournament, but their captain Tinotenda Mawoyo was full of praise for his team. "All good things must come to an end," he said. "We have shown we are not just here to make up the numbers and we should be proud of the way we have performed. We've had a wonderful time in Bangladesh where the people have been very good to us."
England's final group match is against Pakistan at the Fatullah District Stadium on 27 February. The match was originally scheduled for BKSP, but was transferred to Fatullah because of the phenomenal crowds that the venue has been attracting.