Leopard's racy fifty trumps Australia
New Zealand Under-19 173 for 6 (Leopard 50*, Nair 3-30) beat Australia Under-19 169 (Page, ter Braak 3-23) by four wickets
Christian Leopard raced to an unbeaten half-century to lead New Zealand Under-19s to a four-wicket victory over Australia Under-19s in a tri-nation one-day tournament in Dubai. In a low-scoring game, he came in at No. 8 and struck 50 off 42 balls with six fours and three sixes to complete a rather tense chase.
Australia's bowlers, led by offspinner Arjun Nair's three wickets, were doing their best to complicate a chase of 170 and had dragged New Zealand from 82 for 2 to 82 for 3, 82 for 4, 82 for 5 and finally 102 for 6 when Leopard walked in. He strung a steadying 71-run seventh-wicket stand with Finn Allen and took his team past the finish line. The winning runs - secured with the help of a four to long-off - also took Leopard, who was one of 10 debutants in the New Zealand side, to his fifty.
The accolades until then had belong to the New Zealand bowlers after they had opted to field. Nathan Smith struck in the first over and Australia had slipped and slid to 115 for 5 in the 22nd over with their top-scorer Patrick Page (44 off 55 balls) back in the pavilion. Wicketkeeper Brooke Guest attempted to rally the tail around him but Australia got to 142 for 6 and were all out 27 runs later. All but one of the six bowlers New Zealand used picked up wickets, with left-arm seamer Ross ter Braak picking up 3 for 23 and left-arm spinner Rachin Ravindra chipping in with 2 for 19.