Under-19 World Cup 2016 February 1, 2016

Rishabh Pant slams fastest fifty in huge India win

ESPNcricinfo staff

Tariq Stanikzai struck nine fours and a six in his 48-ball 56 © International Cricket Council

Group D

India Under-19 opener Rishabh Pant had the fastest recorded U-19 international century comfortably in his sights when he was dismissed for 78 off 24 balls, having blown Nepal Under-19 away in a small chase. Pant did break the record for the fastest recorded U-19 fifty though, getting there in 18 balls, one faster than the previous mark. He added 124 in 9.1 overs with his captain Ishan Kishan, who scored 52 off 40 balls. India eventually chased down Nepal's score of 169 with 179 balls to spare in Mirpur.

Pant attacked from the start, slogging the first ball of the innings to the midwicket boundary, and did not relent. He targeted the arc between deep square leg and long-on with a series of pulls and lofts, paying little heed to whether the delivery demanded caution. Nepal were rattled and fed him shorter lengths at hittable pace and Pant feasted. Kishan had been quieter initially, but once the spinners came on he used his feet superbly, stepping out of this crease to get to the pitch of the ball and swinging without inhibition. Pant began to drive, slap and loft over the off side too as his range expanded against a wilting attack. His strike rate of 325 meant that had he scored 22 more runs in singles Pant would have still broken the record for the fastest u-19 hundred by seven deliveries.

India's seven-wicket victory was set up by their bowlers, though, who restricted Nepal to 160 in a match shortened to 48 overs a side because of early-morning fog. Opener Sandeep Sunar top scored with 37 but the rest of the top four batsmen were dismissed in single digits. They had also slogged at India's attack but had no success. Seamer Avesh Khan took 3 for 34, while left-arm spinner Mayank Dagar and offspinner Washington Sundar took two apiece.

New Zealand Under-19s ended the group stage with a consolation win, as a 141-run partnership between Finn Allen and Dale Phillips steered them to a four-wicket win over Ireland Under-19s in Fatullah. Phillips joined Allen after seamer Rory Anders had picked up four wickets to reduce New Zealand to 45 for 4 in pursuit of 213.

The pair got the chase back on track with a brisk partnership spanning 20.4 overs, with Phillips scoring 58 off 66 balls (7x4) before falling lbw to Fiachra Tucker. Then, with New Zealand a mere seven runs from victory, Tucker dismissed Allen for 97 off 76 balls (9x4, 4x6), before Rachin Ravindra and Nathan Smith took them home with 47 balls remaining.

Sent in to bat, Ireland got to 100 for 1, thanks to an 85-run second-wicket stand between Jack Tector (56 off 83) and Adam Dennison (46 off 56), before spinners Ravindra and Josh Finnie picked up three wickets apiece and engineered a slump that saw them lose their last nine wickets for 112 runs.

Group B

A half-century from Tariq Stanikzai gave Afghanistan Under-19s their first win of the tournament, lifting them to a four-wicket win in a low-scoring match against Canada Under-19s in Sylhet. Stanikzai scored 56 off 48 balls, with nine fours and a six, as Afghanistan chased down a target of 148 in only 24.1 overs. They lost a few wickets while doing so, though, with left-arm spinner Shlok Patel and offspinner Miraj Patel sharing five wickets between them.

Having chosen to bat, Canada lost three of their top four for ducks and slipped to 31 for 4 before their captain Abraash Khan (33) and Arslan Khan (38) put on the only substantial partnership of their innings, 62 for the fifth wicket. Wickets fell steadily thereafter, with No. 9 Kurt Ramdath's 20 the next-highest score of the innings, as Canada were bowled out for 147 off the last ball of their allotted 50 overs. Medium-pacer Muslim Musa and offspinner Shamsurrahman picked up three wickets each for Afghanistan.

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