U19 Men’s WC: Ryan Hicks’ unbeaten 77 helps Australia beat Sri Lanka

Ryan Hicks came good for Australia with an unbeaten half-century as they defeated Sri Lanka in their final group match of the ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup 2024 here on Sunday.

Ryan Hicks came good for Australia with an unbeaten half-century as they defeated Sri Lanka in their final group match of the ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup 2024 here on Sunday.

Hicks led Australia’s charge in a tricky run-chase against Sri Lanka’s spinners. The middle-order batter made an unbeaten 77 to guide Australia to a target of 209 with ease.

Australia take on England and West Indies at the same venue, the Kimberley Oval, on January 31 and February 2 respectively in the Super Six stage.

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Sri Lanka were jolted early after they opted to bat first. Pulindu Perera fell in the very first over with Callum Vidler striking for Australia.

Sri Lanka rebuilt with Sineth Jayawardena and Supun Waduge joining hands, but it was Vidler again that broke the partnership when he had Jayawardena nicking behind for 16 in the 14th over.

Tom Campbell had Waduge trapped in front the very next over as Australia gained the upper hand. Ravishan Nethsara and Dinura Kalupahana stitched together a useful stand to resurrect the Sri Lankan innings.

The scoring rate picked up slowly as the partnership grew in stature, but just as Sri Lanka’s batters looked to switch gears, Harjas Singh had Nethsara edging a wild swing to the wicketkeeper.

Kalupahana continued playing his shots and raised his half-century soon after with some support from Rusanda Gamage. But when Raf MacMillan snared Gamage and Vidler returned to dismiss Kalupahana for 64, the runs dried up.

The last 10 overs yielded just over 40 runs as Sri Lanka finished with 208 on board. Vidler was the pick of the bowlers with a 3/28 while Mahli Beardman and Campbell shared two wickets apiece.

In response, Harry Dixon and Sam Konstas got Australia off to a flier. The opening duo, particularly Dixon, was aggressive from the get-go and the quick runs put Sri Lanka’s bowlers under fire.

The 71-run opening stand was broken when Dixon tried to nudge Vishwa Lahiru to the leg side only to see the leading edge go straight to the fielder. Dixon’s 41-ball 49 had, however, laid a strong foundation for the Aussies.

It didn’t take long for Sri Lanka to strike again with the left-arm spinner Lahiru sending back the in-form skipper Hugh Weibgen for three in his next over. Malsha Tharupathi compounded Australia’s woes with a third wicket in the next over as Konstas fell for 23.

Jayawardena had Harjas Singh stumped after he and Ryan Hicks added a small partnership, but Sri Lanka had little to celebrate after that as Hicks, with Campbell alongside him, thwarted the bowling attack with some solid batting.

Australia sealed the game with ten balls to spare with Hicks remaining unbeaten on 77 and Campbell on 33*. With three wins out of three, Australia will go into the Super Six stage full of confidence.

Brief scores:

Sri Lanka 208 all out in 49.5 overs (Dinura Kalupahana 64, Ravishan de Silva 30; Callum Vidler 3-28, Mahli Beardman 2-30, Tom Campbell 2-47) lost to Australia 211/4 in 48.5 overs (Ryan Hicks 77 not out, Harry Dixon 49, Tom Campbell 44 not out; Vishwa Lahiru 2-24) by six wickets.

(IANS)