Competition heavyweights Australia, the West Indies and Pakistan swept aside their rivals from qualifying nations, and Sri Lanka got its tournament back on track on the third day of the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2012 in Queensland, Australia, on Monday.
Before the ESPN STAR Sports HD cameras at the Tony Ireland Stadium in Townsville, Australia romped to a 212-runs victory over Nepal, thanks to a century by opener Cameron Bancroft and a hat-trick by paceman Harry Conway.
Elsewhere, Pakistan skipper Babar Azam scored a hundred in his team’s win over Scotland and Sunil Ambris starred in West Indies’ win over Papua New Guinea.
Meanwhile, Group D confirmed its status as the tightest of the four groups with Sri Lanka (1 from 2), Bangladesh (1 from 2) and South Africa (1 from 1) all looking carefully at their remaining matches with net run-rate set to be crucial in determining the top two spots.
Australia (Group A), Pakistan (Group B) and the West Indies (Group C) are undefeated so far after two games.
Group A - Bancroft, Conway star for Australia
A fantastic hat-trick by New South Wales’ quick Harry Conway and a century by Western Australia’s Cameron Bancroft were two of the highlights of Australian U19’s win over Nepal today as it continued its winning form at the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup.
Nepal captain Prithu Bastoka, who was on debut along with nine other players in his side, won the toss and sent Australia into bat.
It was a determined batting performance by members of the Australia top-order. Bancroft and Kurtis Patterson combined for a 160-runs partnership for the second wicket, a record for an Australia side at an ICC U19 Cricket World Cup, before Patterson was dismissed for 86 (87b, 5x4, 2x6), bowled by Krishna Karki.
Bancroft got into his stride and continued on with a blistering innings, making 125 (139b,7x4, 2x6) before being dismissed by a superb catch at deep mid-wicket by Sagar Pun.
Nepal bowlers and fielders were cheered on by a crowd of buoyant Nepalese supporters, and had success in dismissing middle-order Queensland batsmen Nick Stevens (1) and Sam Hain (9).
Australia ended its innings with an intimidating 294 for seven, leaving Nepal with a challenging chase.
Conway’s hat-trick took the wind out of the Nepal top-order, bowling a good line and length to take out the stumps of Predeep Airee (one), Naresh Budhaayer and Baskota.
The rest of the batting order failed to fire after Conway’s opening spell. Pun and Rajesh Pulami Magar proved to be the best of the Nepal batsman with 21 and 22 runs respectively.
Conway was really pleased to be given the new ball and thought luck helped him achieve a hat-trick.
"The last couple hit the top of off stump and I was really happy with those two deliveries, I just try and get the balls in the right areas and I was lucky enough to do it three balls in a row.
"I was really excited and well-supported by everyone, we were all pretty jubilant out there, it was a really good feeling. I have taken one (hat-trick) in a grade game in Sydney but never in a game like this so it was a dream come true for sure," Conway added.
Player of the match Bancroft said it was nice to get some runs on the board today.
"My role in the team is to bat 50 overs and if I can do that I am doing the best job for my team, I will leave the big hitting to guys like James Peirson and Kurtis Patterson.
"Nepal had good spinners out there today, they bowled really well and I haven’t been playing spin well the last few games and so it’s been something I want to work on," he said.
Bancroft said the team was now looking to get another win in the next game against Ireland as well.
"We want to keep the momentum going, and we won’t be taking them lightly and will give it our all," he added.
Group B - Azam leads from the front for Pakistan
Pakistan has stayed on track in Group B with a no-nonsense nine wicket win over qualifier Scotland at Kev Hackney Oval on the Sunshine Coast.
Scotland produced the highest score of any of the four qualifiers in action on Monday, reaching 200 before being dismissed in the final over, but Pakistan hardly missed a beat on the way to victory as it rumbled to 204 for one in 36.2 overs.
Pakistan captain Babar Azam brought up his century with a six and then, with the scores tied, wrapped up the result with a four off the next ball to finish unbeaten on 106 (120b, 10x4, 2x6).
The 17-year-old skipper from Lahore opened the innings, and, with Sami Aslam (78: 79b, 13x4) put on 163 for the opening wicket to ensure a swift chase.
Left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz was hard to get away, with the 18-year-old snaring four for 20 from 10 overs, including a maiden.
Opener Ross Maclean (59: 101b, 2x4) fought hard at the top of the order while Freddie Coleman (39: 60b) did likewise in the middle order against the disciplined Pakistan attack.
Group C - Ambris powers West Indies to easy win
A blazing 91 from just 43 balls by opener Sunil Ambris has helped the West Indies maintain its early tournament winning form with a nine wickets win over qualifiers Papua New Guinea (PNG).
The West Indies did not allow PNG a hint of a chance in a comprehensive showing at Endeavour Field No.2 in Townsville.
PNG was held to 116 from 41 overs, before Ambris blasted nine fours and seven sixes in his rapid-fire innings to sweep the West Indies to 117 for one from just 11.4 overs.
Ambris, from the Windward Islands, was so dominant in the shortened innings that the next highest score was that of captain Kraigg Brathwaite (17 not out; 25b, 2x4).
Amidst the batting carnage, PNG new-ball bowler Raymond Haoda, the leading overall wicket-taker in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2010, kept his composure on the way to no wicket for 7 from three overs.
Earlier, left-arm quick Jerome Jones and all-rounder Kyle Mayers both claimed three wickets apiece. Jones snapped up three for 15 from 10 overs, including three maidens, while Mayers returned three for 12 from four overs.
PNG captain Chris Kent again fought hard for his side, top-scoring with 39 (62b, 5x4, 1x6) but with seven batsmen dismissed in single figures, it was always going to be a huge ask against the in-form Caribbean line-up.
Group D - Sri Lanka gets campaign back on track
Sri Lanka bounced back from the disappointment of losing its opening round clash to Bangladesh with a clinical showing against qualifier Namibia on Monday at Allan Border Field.
A more rounded batting card, with five batsmen passing 30 and two scoring half centuries, ensured that Sri Lanka produced a highly competitive 298 for eight.
All-rounder Lahiru Madushanka, who scored 45, capped off a fine match with his four for 15 from six overs helping bowl out Namibia for 103 after 35 overs.
Earlier, opener Sebastian Perera top-scored with 69 (84b, 7x4) and Sandun Weerakkody (50, 45b, 3x4, 1x6) were the key contributors for Sri Lanka.
Namibia lost paceman Jano Coetzee to injury early in the day. Coetzee’s absence was offset by Zhivago Groenewald, a right-arm paceman who took three for 49 from nine overs.
Scores in brief:
Group A - Australia beat Nepal by 212 runs, Tony Ireland Stadium, Townsville
Australia 294 for seven, 50 overs (Cameron Bancroft 125, Kurtis Patterson 86l Pradeep Airee 2-40, Rahul Vishvakarma 2-50)
Nepal 82 all out, 23.5 overs (Sagar Pun 22, Pulami Magar 21; Ashton Turner 4-28, Harry Conway 3-15)
Player of the Match - Cameron Bancroft (Australia)
Group B - Pakistan beat Scotland by nine wickets, Kev Hackney Oval, Buderim
Scotland 200 all out, 49.5 overs (Ross McLean 59, Fred Coleman 39, Ruaidhri Smith 34; Mohammad Nawar 4-20, Ehsan Adil 2-37)
Pakistan 204 for one, 36.2 overs (Babar Azam 106 n.o., Sami Aslam 78)
Player of the Match - Babar Azam (Pakistan)
Group C- West Indies beat Papua New Guinea by nine wickets, Endeavour Park 2, Townasville
Papua New Guinea 116 all out, 41 overs (Chris Kent 39, Chad Soper 23, Nogel Boge 21; Jerome Jones 3-15, Kyle Mayers 3-12; Akeal Hosein 2-23)
West Indies 117 for one, 11.4 overs (Sunil Ambris 91)
Player of the Match - Sunil Ambris (West Indies)
Group D - Sri Lanka beat Namibia by 195 runs, Allan Border Field, Brisbane
Sri Lanka 258 for nine, 50 overs (Sebastian Perera 69, Sandun Weerakkody 50, Lahiru Madushanka 45, Pabasara Waduge 39, Niroshan Dickwella 38; Zhivago Groenewald 3-49, Wian van Vuuren 2-65)
Namibia 103 all out, 35 overs (Wian van Vuuren 38, Gerhard Erasmus 26; Lahiru Madushanka 4-15, Amila Aponso 2-17, Tharindu Kaushal 2-19)
Player of the Match - Sebastian Perera (Sri Lanka)
Group A - Australia v Ireland, Endeavour Park, Townsville
Group B - New Zealand v Afghanistan, Kev Hackney Oval, Sunshine Coast
-Group C - India v Zimbabwe, Tony Ireland Stadium, Townsville
Group D - South Africa v Namibia, Peter Burge Oval, Brisbane
Group A - Ireland v Nepal, Endeavour Park, Townsville
Group B - Afghanistan v Scotland, John Blanck Oval, Buderim
- Group C - India v Zimbabwe, Tony Ireland Stadium, Townsville
Group D - South Africa v Namibia, Peter Burge Oval, Brisbane
- Indicates broadcast matches
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