The much awaited ICC U-19 World Cup 2018 in New Zealand got off to a flying start on Saturday as it kicked off with some tough teams competing against each other. Pakistan U-19 were stunned by Afghanistan U-19 on the first day but New Zealand’s 18-year-old Finn Allen stole the limelight with a century to take his side to victory against West Indies U-19. Apart from Allen, there were some other individual noteworthy performances that caught attention on the first day of the tournament.
Pakistan U-19 suffer shock defeat
In a group D match at Whangarei, the young team from Pakistan took on Afghanistan and elected to bat first after winning the toss. But the side failed to deliver with the bat with only Rohail Nazir playing a decent innings of 81 runs, while the rest of the batsmen struggling against a solid Afghanistan bowling display.
Chasing a low total of 189 runs, Afghanistan kept losing wickets at regular intervals but held their nerves in the final few overs. A smart batting by Darwish Rasooli – who scored 76 runs in 78 balls at a strike rate of 97.43 – ensured that they begin the tournament with a bang. Rasooli sealed the fate of the match with a six on a delivery from Mohammad Taha as Afghanistan U-19 won by 5 wickets with 15 balls to spare.
New Zealand’s Finn Allen hammers ton
With home advantage, New Zealand U-19 appear to be the favourites to win the tournament but the dynamic West Indies U-19 opening pair of Keagan Simmons and Kimani Melius gave them a tough time. New Zealand won the toss and put West Indies in to bat first with the duo stitching a 123 run-partnership with Melius scoring 78 runs in 85 balls with the help of six fours and four sixes.
But his wicket paved the way for a sort-of batting collapse as West Indies managed to score 233/8 in 50 overs with Simmons being the top scorer at 92*. Chasing 234, New Zealand’s Finn Allen made it about himself and went on to hammer 115 runs in just 100 balls with the help of 15 fours and two sixes. Opening batsman Jakob Bhula also played a solid 83-run innings, as the duo took their side to an easy 7-wicket win.
Bangladesh clinch victory in rain-affected match
After rain delayed the toss and plenty of time lost, the contest was reduced to 20 overs a side. Batting first, Bangladesh U-19 posted a huge total of 190 runs against Namibia U-19. Skipper Saif Hassan struck five sixes and three boundaries to score 84 runs in just 48 balls to help the side in reaching the massive total. The total proved too much for Namibia as they managed to score just 102 runs in their 20 overs and lost the match by 87 runs.
Zimbabwe U-19 beat PNG U-19 by 10 wickets
It had been a terrible start for the minnows Papua New Guinea at the U-19 World Cup as they were bowled out for just 95 runs in a match that was shortened to 20 overs due to rain. The target proved too easy for Zimbabwe U-19 as they managed to chase it down in just 14 overs with wicketkeeper-batsman Gregory Dollar scoring 41 runs in 40 balls and Wesley Madhevere scoring his half century in just 44 balls. The duo took their side to comfortable 10-wicket win.