Australia v West Indies, U-19 World Cup, Group B February 8, 2006

Australia U-19s handed fortunate victory

Australia 251 (Khawaja 77) beat West Indies 238 (Mohammed 57, Henriques 3-32) by 13 runs

The West Indies presented their Group B match to Australia on a platter when they lost by the slim margin of 13 runs on Wednesday.

Chasing Australia's total of 251, West Indies were well on course to victory at 192 for 3 in the 35th over, before collapsing to 238 all out in 48 overs. At that stage, they required 60 runs off the last 15 overs with seven wickets in hand. But Gajanand Singh's dismissal for 33, chipping a delivery to third man, triggered off a sensational collapse where West Indies lost six wickets for 25 runs in 58 balls.

The last pair of Javon Searles and Rishi Bachan valiantly tried to turn things around, and brought the West Indies to within 14 runs of victory, but a run out sealed their fate.

"It was a win we didn't expect," Brian MacFadyen, Australia's coach, said. "With 15 overs to go they certainly had the upper hand which was pretty obvious. It was certainly very encouraging for us to fight back from that sort of position. We felt we've been solidly outplayed till that point," he said.

West Indies manager Jimmy Adams said his team paid a big price for some poor decisions in the middle.

"We really put ourselves in a position to win. We batted well up to the first 33 overs," he said, "and then after that we made some poor decisions and we paid a big price for it. I'd rather learn here than at any point in the future. The earlier they learn these lessons the better.

"We batted ourselves into a very good position and then batted ourselves into a very bad position. It's a learning curve for all these young men. One has to hope that they learn quickly," he continued.

"Having done the hard work earlier and brought the run rate under four, you would have said from the outside that would be normal batting. But again these are situations that these young men. They are new to this form of the game. They haven't played much one day cricket. What we are gonna find out in the next couple of weeks is how quickly they learn," he said.

The defeat has put West Indies in a spot of difficulty: they now have to beat South Africa in their final group game on Friday to ensure a place in the quarter-finals.

"We put ourselves in a position where we have a crunch game in two days time. We'll have to pick ourselves up and make sure that we have everything working on that day. It will be a key game for both teams. It's all to play for. It's going to be a final for us," said Adams.

As for the Australians - who have two wins under their belts with a victory over South Africa and the West Indies - a quarter-final place is assured. They take on USA in their final match on Thursday.

However the Australian coach said that his team had got a lot of work to do in all aspects of the game going into the next round.

"We played pretty well throughout and looked like we were set like 270. Then to lose those wickets and be all out was disappointing. We knew the West Indies would be a good side and they proved that. We opened the door a little bit by not batting as well as we should have in our finish," MacFadyen said.

"We [have] still got wides and no-balls to worry about. All the teams are doing that but we don't want to be leaders in that area. The umpires are applying strict rules as they should. Perhaps these boys haven't had a lot of experience playing under those strict ICC conditions. Today the ball wasn't swinging but both teams bowled lots of wides. Neither team could blame swing. It is an interesting one as to why it is happening," he said.

Australia, who won the toss and chose to bat, got off to a bad start when they lost Tom Cooper for a duck to the second ball of the innings. They did, however, recover through a solid knock of 77 off 110 balls from Usman Khawaja and reached 194 for 3 in the 40th over. However a series of poor shots, coupled with some good bowling by the West Indies, saw them crash to 251 all out in 47.5 overs.

On an excellent batting pitch it was certainly not a total Australia could be content with, aptly proved when the West Indies started their run chase and the top-order once again started gathering runs at a hectic pace. But when the momentum appeared to swing their way, Singh, on 33, chipped the ball to third man where Ben Cutting made a good catch diving forward. In the following over, Jason Mohammed (57) fell lbw to David Warner and the floodgates were open.

Four wickets fell in four overs and soon West Indies were 200 for 8. Narine's run-out ended the match when the batsmen tried to steal an impossible second run.

The umpires officiating in the match wore black arm bands as a mark of respect to Trevor Henry, a distinguished Irish international umpire who passed away at the age of 51. Henry was one of the umpires selected to officiate in this World Cup, but illness prevented him from participating.