India, South Africa book final berth
India Emerging Players 128 for 8 (Pujara 32, Pandey 23*, Hazlewood 3-26) beat Australian Institute of Sports 127 (Maxwell 63, Unadkat 4-8)
India Emerging Players prevailed over Australian Institute of Sports in a tense low-scoring contest to qualify for the tournament final. Left-arm spinner Jaidev Unadkat grabbed four wickets and Manish Pandey held his nerve in the chase to steer India home.
The hosts' decision to bat backfired as the first six wickets were shot out for 48. Unadkat's early burst was supported by his pace partner Vinay Kumar, who got rid of Luke Pomersbach and Callum Ferguson, while Dhawal Kulkarni chipped in with two wickets as well to mark an excellent outing for the seamers.
Australia, however, counter-attacked through Glenn Maxwell, who smashed four fours and two sixes in his 50-ball 63. He added 31 with James Pattinson for the seventh wicket and just as many with Michell Starc for the eighth. However, he ran out of partners in his unbeaten knock, as Unadkat - who finished with 4 for 8 in 5.2 overs - returned to mop up the tail and bowl out Australia for 127.
India began on a steady note in the chase before experiencing a scare. Openers Abhinav Mukund and Shikhar Dhawan added 37 while Cheteshwar Pujara chipped in with 32. But Australia's seamers, led by Josh Hazlewood, soon struck to reduce India to 95 for 5. Peter George and Starc grabbed two each and India were 121 for 8, having lost three wickets for eight runs. But Pandey held firm amid the tension and helped knock off the remaining runs to seal a two-wicket win.
South Africa Emerging Players 223 for 5 (Bailey 72*, Vilas 65) beat New Zealand Emerging Players 220 for 9 (Brownlie 82, Alexander 5-35) by five wickets
South Africa Emerging Players booked their place in the tournament final, overpowering New Zealand Emerging Players by five wickets in a comfortable win.
South Africa's chase of 224 suffered an early setback with the dismissal of opener JJ Smuts for a duck, but there were significant contributions from the others to ensure the win was secured with ease. Dane Vilas struck a quickfire half-century, striking nine fours in his 65, while Ryan Bailey took the team home with an unbeaten 72. The pair added 74 for the fourth wicket to put the game firmly in South Africa's hands and victory was achieved with more than ten overs to spare.
New Zealand's innings had been anchored by Dean Brownlie, who made 82, but he was short of support from the rest. The next-highest score in the line-up was from Shanan Stewart, who chipped in with 26. At 140 for 3 it had seemed New Zealand would reach a more competitive total, but Craig Alexander struck to finish with a five-for. The last six wickets fell for 55 - Brownlie being the ninth - before the final pair took them to 220, but their efforts were to be in vain.
The final will be held on August 20. New Zealand and Australia will face off for the third place on the same day.