India U19 beat Hong Kong U19 by nine wickets in a rain-affected ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup 2010 Group A match played at Hagley Oval in Christchurch today. Prospects of play looked slight when the teams awoke on Sunday morning but conditions improved in the late morning and a decision was made to start play at 1PM following an early lunch.
As the captains ventured out to the middle for the toss, another brief shower sent the players scurrying indoors and the ground staff out to the middle with the covers. The toss was eventually made with India winning and inserting Hong Kong. A further shower threatened to delay matters again but play finally got underway at 1:40PM NZDT with each team facing a maximum of 34 overs.
Hong Kong was immediately in trouble when Alex Smith was run out at the bowler's end without facing a ball following a direct hit by Mandeep Singh. Worse was to follow for Hong Kong as speedster Sandeep Sharma ripped through the top order as Shakeel Haq (2), Irfan Ahmed (a first ball 0) and Nizakat Khan (3) failed to deal with the seaming conditions, leaving Hong Kong at 4-19 after 8.2 overs. Skipper James Atkinson and youngster Mark Chapman then combined for a solid partnership worth 54 before Chapman was run out following a good piece of fielding from off-spinner Gaurav Jathar after scoring 27. Atkinson was clean bowled in Jathar's next over after scoring a solid 39 from 54 balls but, having established a good foundation for a big innings, he would have been disappointed with the method of his dismissal. Harmeet Singh (0) did not trouble the scorers and Ashish Gadhia (8) was stumped while attempting to increase the run-rate. Waqas Barkat hit 27 off 30 balls before he became the third run out victim of the innings after a mix-up with Aizaz Khan. Aizaz made amends by smashing Saurabh Netravalkar for two sixes and two fours off the first four balls of the last over, before Netravalkar got his revenge off the penultimate ball of the innings. Aizaz's cameo had lifted the total to 143 - a good result after the calamitous start.
India's opening pairing of Lokesh Rahul and Mayank Agarwal began their reply in a confident mood and neither batsmen seemed troubled by the early swing and seam movement offered by the new ball. Hong Kong could not grasp any of the half chances offered as the two Indian batsmen upped the tempo. Irfan Ahmed, who had earlier grassed a chance in the slips, finally broke the 119 -run partnership when he got one to climb on Agarwal and Alex Smith pouched the catch in the gully. Argawal had struck 63 runs off 56 balls including six fours and one six. Lokesh Rahul and Mandeep Singh completed the scoring as India reached their target in the 24th over. Rahul finished on 62 not out from 73 balls while Singh finished unbeaten on 13.
Sandeep Sharma who had wrecked the Hong Kong top-order with his 3-11 from seven overs earned the Man of the Match award.
Hong Kong U19: James Atkinson (Captain), Irfan Ahmed, Shakeel Haq, Alex Smith, Nizakat Khan, Mark Chapman, Ashish Gadhia, Waqas Barkat (w), Harmeet Singh, Aizaz Khan, Aditya Kanthan.
India U19: Ashok Menaria (Captain), KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Mandeep Singh, Harpreet Singh, Manan Sharma, Sufiyan Shaikh, Harshal Patel, Gaurav Jathar, Saurabh Netravalkar, Sandeep Sharma.