U19 World Cup 2024: Sri Lanka, New Zealand open account with convincing wins

Sri Lanka fought back to win after a stuttering start while New Zealand came out comfortable winners against Nepal on the third day of action in the U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup 2024 at various venues in South Africa on Sunday.

Sri Lanka fought back to win after a stuttering start while New Zealand came out comfortable winners against Nepal on the third day of action in the U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup 2024 at various venues in South Africa on Sunday.

In Kimberley, Sri Lanka defeated Zimbabwe by 39 runs (DLS Method) at the Kimberley Oval.

Sri Lanka were left reeling after a blistering Zimbabwe bowling effort early in their innings before an enterprising fifty from Dinura Kalupahana helped them cross 200. A disciplined and accurate bowling performance then helped them to a win over Zimbabwe.

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Elsewhere in East London, powered by a solid ton from Snehith Reddy, New Zealand became the first team to cross the 300-run mark in the U19 Men’s CWC 2024. Despite sparks of brilliance, Nepal’s batting effort couldn’t match up to the Black Caps, and they eventually fell short by a substantial margin at Buffalo Park.

Zimbabwe skipper Matthew Schonken elected to bowl first after winning the toss and opening pacers Kohl Eksteen and Anesu Kamuriwo were red hot in their opening spell, taking three Sri Lanka wickets in the first five overs. Among the victims was the important scalp of Sri Lanka skipper Sineth Jayawardena, who offered an edge to a seaming delivery from the impressive Eksteen.

Ravishan De Silva and Rusanda Gamage then set about reconstructing the innings on a tough wicket, with the Chevrons asserting control over the proceedings with tight bowling and sharp fielding.

The pressure finally got to the pair and the 52-run stand was finally broken in the 26th over when Gamage had his middle stump uprooted by Panashe Taruvinga. Ravinshan fell soon after and Sri Lanka found themselves on the back foot once more.

Dinura Kalpuhana and Sharujan Shanmuganathan then lifted the pace with some attacking cricket. Kalpuhana (60 off 55) hit eight boundaries including two sixes to help Sri Lanka fight back before he fell to Schonken offering a catch in the deep. Despite Shanmuganathan’s best attempts, a last push from Sri Lanka stalled, and the side was bowled out for 204.

The young Chevrons faced the same difficulties early in their batting innings as Sri Lanka’s spinners got into the action early. Vishwa Lahiru was tidy and effective, conceding just three runs in his four overs, while also providing the opening breakthrough. The talented Malsha Tharupathi backed up his spin partner soon after, cleaning up Nathaniel Hlabangana for 10. Tharupathi then also contributed with a stunning catch to get rid of Panashe Tharuvinga off Kalupuhana to take an important third wicket as rain forced players off the pitch for a lengthy spell.

The game resumed with Zimbabwe chasing a revised target of 129. As expected, the young Chevrons came out with all guns blazing. Despite early signs of a close finish, Sri Lanka continued to chip away at the batting attack, taking regular wickets with clever changes of pace and assured catching. Tharupathi and Lahiru struck to leave Zimbabwe at 59/6 and though Schonken took the attack to Sri Lanka with some lusty blows, the lack of support from the other end hurt Zimbabwe.

As the batters tried to go for the increasingly distant target, Sri Lanka managed to run through the tail with their disciplined work in the field. Zimbabwe were bowled out 39 runs short in the 22nd over.

New Zealand beat Nepal by 64 runs

The Black Caps Colts won the toss and decided to bat first against Nepal.

Tom Jones and Luke Watson laid a strong platform for the young Kiwis, making the most of some erratic bowling from Nepal which included nine runs in extras in the Powerplay overs.

Nepal fought back right after the fielding restrictions were lifted, removing the Kiwi openers and Oliver Tewatiya in quick succession. It was the spinners who did all the damage with Subash Bhandari, Tilak Bhandari and Dipesh Kandel picking up a wicket apiece.

Snehith Reddy and Oscar Jackson then rebuilt the innings and soon opened their arms to pick up the scoring pace. Jackson hit five sixes during his stay at the wicket before he fell to Aakash Tripathi. Gulshan Jha followed up with two quick wickets, and Nepal were back in the game. However, Snehith continued churning out runs and reached his hundred in the 46th over. His attacking strokeplay helped New Zealand to 302/8.

Though the young Rhinos batted with a positive intent against an adept New Zealand bowling line-up, they lost a couple of crucial wickets upfront. A sharp catch from Zac Cumming got rid of Deepak Bohara for a duck. Tripathi followed soon after, this time Lachlan Stackpole holding onto a stunner while running in under the high ball. Skipper Dev Khanal then stabilised the innings along with Arjun Kumal.

As Kumal tried to anchor and stick around, Khanal went for his shots, smashing five fours and a six during his stay. However, the captain fell while trying to gather pace in their scoring rate, hitting one straight to mid-on to his opposite number Jackson. Nepal lost two more in no time, including the experienced Gulshan Jha who fell while trying to smash Zac Cumming out of the ground.

Even as Kumal stuck around and reached a composed fifty, Nepal kept losing wickets at the other end. The opener benefitted from several dropped chances and made the most of it with 90 from 104 balls. His dismissal in the 38th over was the final nail in the coffin for Nepal. The tailenders fought in the death overs, but New Zealand’s target proved to be too much.

 (IANS)