India stormed into the ICC Under-19 cricket World Cup quarterfinals after producing a clinical all-round performance to wallop New Zealand by 120 runs in their penultimate group D encounter.
Put into bat on a slow track, the three-time champions scored a decent 258 for eight with Sarfaraz Khan continuing his fine form hitting a polished 74.
Left-handed opener Rishabh Pant and middle-order batsman Armaan Jaffer contributed 57 and 46 respectively. Another significant innings came from all-rounder Mahipal Lomror, who scored a quickfire 42-ball-45.
In reply, New Zealand were decimated for 138 in only 31.3 overs with pacer Avesh Khan bowling a deadly opening spell to finish with figures of 4/32 in 10 overs which also earned him the Man of the Match award.
Lomror could have also got the award as he capped his 45 with figures of 5/47 in 7.3 overs to polish off the tail.
The ‘Boys in Blue’ virtually wrapped up the match in the first 10 overs of New Zealand’s chase as Avesh reduced them to 16 for four wreaking havoc. He hit the perfect length and speed of around 135 kmph proved to be ideal at this level.
The Madhya Pradesh lad, who has already played first-class cricket, has the ability to hit the deck and also move the ball back into the right handers with a few that holds its line.
The slip catching was also pretty good with Washington Sundar holding on to couple of good catches.
Earlier, India had two stand-out partnerships in their score of 258.
Pant and Sarfaraz added 89 for the third wicket after they were reduced to 19 for two. The second was between Armaan and Lomror that yielded 55 runs for the sixth wicket. Pant and Sarfaraz, played contrasting innings on a slowish track.
The Delhi glovesman hit seven fours and two sixes but in general played second fiddle to the stockily built Mumbai lad whose 74 off 80 balls had nine boundaries.
However, both were guilty of losing it after being well set. Pant tried a fancy slash off Dale Phillips to be caught at short third-man while Sarfaraz was played on off Nathan Smith’s bowling.
But it was young Armaan, nephew of former India opener Wasim Jaffer, who kept his cool running well between the wickets to score 46 off 49 balls with two boundaries.
India will next play Nepal, who have also qualified for the quarterfinals, on Monday.
Elsewhere, Nepal rode on leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane’s five-wicket haul, which included the first hat-trick in the tournament, to beat Ireland by eight wickets and book their maiden berth in the Super League quarter-finals of the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup.
Besides Nepal, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka advanced to the quarter-finals.
Nepal and India took the top two spots in Group D, while Pakistan and Sri Lanka advanced from Group B.
Opting to bat, Ireland got all out for a mere 131 for nine and then Nepal, which had stunned New Zealand in their opening match, coasted home in the 26th over with Yogendra Karki making 61.
Lamichhane had Lorcan Tucker and Adam Dennison caught off successive balls in his fourth over and then bowled Fiachra Tucker with his next delivery to complete the hat-trick.
In Sylhet, Sri Lanka survived a tense run-chase by Afghanistan before clinching win and a place in the quarters. Skipper Charith Asalanka top-scored with 71 in Sri Lanka’s modest 184 all out, but Afghanistan were bowled out for 151 despite opener Karim Janat’s 40 and Waheedullah Shafaq’s 47.
Kamindu Mendis, who possesses a rare talent of bowling both right-arm off-spin and left-arm orthodox spin, claimed three wickets for 36 runs.
Meanwhile, Pakistan scored a seven-wicket win over Canada after bowling out the unfancied rival for 178.
Hasan Khan took three wickets and Shadab Khan took two. The Pakistanis surpassed the target in the 41st over with opener Zeeshan Malik scoring an unbeaten 89 and Saif Badar 44. Zeeshan was later declared player of the tournament.
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