An unbeaten 108 not out from Ireland captain Andrew Balbirnie guided Ireland to a comfortable seven-wicket win over Afghanistan at Redwood Park during Monday's Under-19 World Cup practice matches.
Ireland overtook Afghanistan's total of 221 for 8 from 50 overs with five overs to spare, in part thanks to Balbirnie's innings, made from 139 balls. Ireland had an early setback when Adrian Darcy was out to the fourth ball of the innings. A partnership of 148 between Balbirnie and James Shannon (66) assured Ireland of the win with just 31 required.
Afghanistan were teetering at 78 for 3 before a 75-run partnership for the fourth wicket between captain Noor ul Haq 50 (from 74 balls) and Hashmat Shaidi steadied the innings. Shaidi (91 not out) then combined with Khushal Rasooli (11) for a useful partnership of 45. Shaidi needed just 85 balls while hitting 12 fours and a six, and was particularly savage in the batting Powerplay, as 42 runs came in the five over spell. George Dockrell, called into the senior Ireland squad for the World Twenty20 finished with 3 for 46, while Balbirnie (2 for 41), kept it tight as well.
After the win, Balbirnie said, "It was satisfying to get another win under our belts. I timed the ball well and felt good out there. I gave a few chances, but they didn't take them. James Shannon batted superbly, and we seemed to complement each other during our stand. It's something we've talked about, building substantial partnerships and players getting big scores when set.
"I thought Craig Young bowled great, and I had no hesitation bowling him straight through. The win gives us confidence, and we showed we can chase down targets. We play the West Indies on Tuesday, and that will be a good test for the At Christ's College, Canada recovered from 37 for 6 to add a veneer of respectability to their reply to South Africa's 247 for 6 from 50 overs. A 75-run partnership between Asif Manijra (30) and Hamza Tariq (55*) allowed Canada finish on 154 for 9 from its 50 overs to lose by 94 runs. South Africa's total had been boosted by the openers, who got into the forties, and Cody Chetty (54). Parth Desai (2 for 40) achieved Canada's best return.
A massive total with the bat was followed by a tidy bowling display as Sri Lanka brushed aside Hong Kong at Hagley Park. The openers Udara Jayasundera and Andri Berenger hit brisk centuries in a 223-run stand before they retired, as nine bowlers were used, and after a mammoth 313 for 1 Sri Lanka were clearly on top. Irfan Ahmed, who took the sole wicket to fall, scored 55 in a plucky Hong Kong reply of 226. Mark Chapman was the star of the Hong Kong innings though, hitting an unbeaten 69 from 77 balls which included six fours and a six.
India eased to a comfortable win over USA at Mainpower Oval after posting 266 in 48.5 overs. Their openers Rahul Kannaur (54) and Monish Agarwal (104) retired after setting a strong platform, but there was no really big contributions to follow. The captain Ashok Menaria used all 11 players to bowl and it worked, as India won by 112 runs. The USA's Ryan Corns demonstrated why he was the Player of the Tournament at the World Cup Qualifiers with an unbeaten 60, with six fours and a six as USA reached 154 from 48.2 overs.
In Lincoln, Australia clinched a Duckworth-Lewis win over West Indies. A clutch of good innings carried them to 319 for 7, after which West Indies failed to gather steam after their top order folded. There was only one half-century, from Yannic Cariah in the middle order, and Australia's bowlers maintained their control for the entire duration in the field.
Bangladesh boosted their preparation for the big tournament by beating hosts New Zealand by 36 runs at Lincoln Green. Three half-centuries at the top or the order, after Bangladesh opted to field, got New Zealand to 242 for 6. It was not enough, however, as Bangladesh chased down a D/L revised target with ease. Despite the first-ball exit of Anamul Haque, they cruised thanks to Amit Majumder (41), Saikat Ali (72) and Monimul Haque (66).
Pakistan beat Zimbabwe by 38 runs at St. Andrew's College Ground, after Babar Azam's century carried them to 257. A pair of half-centuries followed the opener's fine effort and set a tough target, Zimbabwe failed to get partnerships going. Raza Hasan, bowling his slow left-arm spin, did the most damage with 5 for 36. Only Andrew Lindsay down the order offered much sting, blasting 61 from 45 balls.
At Christ's College, Canada recovered from 37 for 6 to add a veneer of respectability to their reply to South Africa's 247 for 6 from 50 overs. A 75-run partnership between Asif Manijra (30) and Hamza Tariq (55*) allowed Canada finish on 154 for 9 from its 50 overs to lose by 94 runs. South Africa's total had been boosted by the openers, who got into the forties, and Cody Chetty (54). Parth Desai (2 for 40) achieved Canada's best return.
Papua New Guinea fought back from 8 for 2 to be bowled out for 141 in 46.3 overs after being sent in by England at Elmwood Park. PNG's Lega Siaki (20) and Tony Ura (29) combined to put on 54 for the third wicket. Only the middle-order batsman Sese Bau (33 from 57 balls) bolstered the PNG total. England romped home in 24.2 overs to win by eight wickets, the opener Joe Root (72*) and Joe Buttler (62*) putting on 135.