Ireland clinch last-over thriller against USA
A round-up of the first day's matches in the ICC Under-19 World Cup Qualifier
In a thrilling finish, Joshua Hall hit the penultimate ball of Ireland Under-19s' innings for four to give them a one-wicket victory against United States of America Under-19 on the opening day of the ICC Under-19 World Cup qualifying tournament in Dublin. After stuttering early in their chase of 178, Ireland had recovered through a couple of solid lower-order partnerships and had brought the equation down to six runs required off 21 balls with three wickets in hand. But a wicket fell in the 47th over and then Adam Coughlan, who had led Ireland's recovery, was trapped lbw by seamer Mital Patel to bring USA back into the game. Ireland needed just three runs off 15 balls then but then next 13 deliveries yielded just one run before Hall's boundary.
USA had managed their total of 177 thanks to some lower order contributions after they were 82 for 5 at one stage. Jodhbir Singh was their top-scorer with 36. In the chase, Ireland collapsed to 86 for 6 before Coughlan and Graeme McCarter began the comeback.
Nepal Under-19s spinners Rahul Vishwakarma and Prithu Baskota ran through Afghanistan Under-19s batting line-up to deliver their team a win. Nepal had been bowled out for 154 in 44.3 overs but left-armer Vishwakarma's 4 for 23 and offspinner Baskota's 3 for 19 helped them skittle Afghanistan for 112. Afghanistan had made a decent beginning to their chase with Hashmatullah Shaidi and Shir Shirzai putting together a 53-run stand for the second wicket. After that though, wickets fell in clusters, and in the end the victory margin was 42 runs. Nepal had reached their total thanks mainly to opener Subash Khakurel's steady 54, the only half-century in the match.
Canada Under-19 prevailed in a closely-fought encounter against Scotland Under-19 in Dublin. They were boosted by a century from opener Nitish Kumar, who smashed 11 fours and two sixes in his 93-ball knock. Nitish's partnership of 78 with Kyle Edghill and a quickfire 44 from Rayyan Pathan, off just 24 balls, took Canada to a challenging 212 in 35 overs.
Seamer Jobanjot Singh's early strikes hurt Scotland in their response but the middle order stepped up. Freddie Coleman made a quick 36, Mathew Cross made scored 21 at better than a run a ball, Peter Ross contributed 43 and Aman Bailwal gave Scotland hope by top-scoring with 63. With Bailwal at the crease, Scotland were very much in it but when he fell with the score on 201 in the penultimate over, the lower order didn't last long and the innings folded for 206 with two balls to spare. Jobanjot finished with four wickets.
Namibia Under-19 eased to an 89-run win over Papua New Guinea Under-19 at the Hills Cricket Club Ground. There was no standout performer in Namibia innings but the team was helped by a series of valuable contributions: a quick 49 from opener Justin Baard, a steady 44 from captain Stephen Baard, 44 from Zhivago Groenewald who smashed four sixes and an unbeaten 33 from Christopher Coombe. The effort propelled Namibia to 232, a score their bowlers comfortably defended. Coombe and Groenewald shared six wickets in the chase and an unbeaten 41 from Toua Tom at No.9 was the only significant resistance from a PNG batsman. PNG were bowled out for 143.
Kenya Under-19 thrashed Vanuatu Under-19 at the Merrion Cricket Club Ground. Opener Kennedy Ochieng made 85 and was assisted by Duncan Allan, who made 47 in 38 balls, and a half-century from wicketkeeper Irfan Karim. Their contributions took Kenya to 238 for 4 in 38 overs, and proved too much for Vanuatu. Allan struck two early blows in the chase and though the middle order attempted a recovery, the target proved well beyond the batsmen. Nalin Nipiko top-scored with 25, but the batting could not withstand the offspin of Rahul Vishram, who took 4 for 9. Vanuatu were skittled out for just 102.