Bancroft, bowlers star in easy win
Australia Under-19 294 for 7 (Bancroft 125, Patterson 86) beat Nepal Under-19 82 (Conway 3-15, Turner 4-28) by 212 runs
Australia's batsmen had the workout they wanted, with Cameron Bancroft and Kurtis Patterson spending time in the middle and playing substantial innings to achieve the first 200-plus total of the Under-19 World Cup at the Tony Ireland Stadium. The target of 295 was always out of Nepal's reach but their chances of batting 50 overs were shattered by fast bowler Harry Conway, whose early hat-trick precipitated a collapse in 23.5 overs.
Though Nepal had a torrid first game, they were constantly cheered by a surprisingly large number of their fans. They came early, wearing purple shirts and carrying flags, sitting on the grass banks and in the grandstand. They were approximately about 75 of them, outnumbering and out-cheering the Aussies.
Nepal's captain Prithu Baskota won the toss and, given how poorly England and India had fared after getting sent in, asked Australia to bat. They celebrated an early wicket, when an aggressive Jimmy Peirson drove Krishna Karki to mid-off. The next breakthrough, however, was a long time coming.
Bancroft, who made 2 in the first game against England, did not try to over attack and just knocked the unthreatening bowling into gaps. He could have been dismissed on 15, though, had the fielder hit the stumps direct. Bancroft received four overthrows instead.
Patterson, who was contracted by New South Wales in July, did attack more than Bancroft. Their run-rate was around four an over at the 25-over mark and with plenty of wickets in hand, Australia were poised for a surge in the second half of their innings. Patterson was lucky to survive a stumping opportunity on 42, when he came out of his crease and was beaten down the leg side, but wicketkeeper Subash Khakurel did not collect cleanly.
Patterson went on to reach his half-century before Bancroft did: off 62 balls to Bancroft's 93. Australia took the batting Powerplay in the 34th over and scored 44 runs off its first 3.2 overs. Patterson cleared the big boundaries at long-on and square leg and looked set for a century in quick time. On 86, however, he tried to slog-sweep but was bowled by one that kept extremely low from the left-arm spinner Bhuvan Karki.
Bancroft had also picked up speed, and reached his hundred off 129 balls, his fourth century in Under-19 internationals. He hit medium-pacer Avinash Karn over the midwicket and straight boundary, and was aiming to clear midwicket again but his pull was intercepted by Sagar Pun, who, moving to his right, caught a ball that was travelling quickly, and held on to it as he hit the turf hard.
Australia lost a few more wickets as they tried to get as many as they could and finished on 294 for 7.
Nepal had made 11 for 0 before Conway, who did not play against England, began to batter the right-handers' off stump. Three times in a row he pitched full and straight and all three times he was on target, while the batsmen played down the long line. Nepal lost wickets quickly after that and slumped to 82 all out. The offspinner Ashton Turner, who had taken 3 for 30 against England, had another good day, picking up 4 for 28 to take an early lead in the race for most wickets.
George Binoy is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo