/ 18 February 2008

So far, so good for U19 cricketers

An unbeaten 58 by Rilee Rossouw led South Africa to a three-wicket victory over the West Indies on Monday, while New Zealand defeated Zimbabwe by 98 runs in first-round matches of the Under-19 Cricket World Cup.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh hammered Bermuda by 178 runs while Sri Lanka defeated Nepal by 61 runs.

Chasing a West Indies score of 222 for eight, South Africa reached the target with 6.1 overs to spare, recovering from an early shock when opener Pieter Malan was leg-before for a duck on the second ball of the game.

Rossouw, whose 74-ball knock contained four boundaries, was helped by the other opener, JJ Smuts, who made 45 in 43 balls with nine fours.

West Indies captain Shamarh Brooks took four for 39 in a nine-over spell.

New Zealand made 221 for eight in 50 overs after being put in to bat by Zimbabwe. Corey Anderson top-scored with 82 that included four sixes and four boundaries.

In reply, Zimbabwe was all out for 123 in 42.4 overs after Tim Southee ripped through their batting line-up, taking five wickets for 11 runs in 8.4 overs. The only resistance came from Daniel Landman, who made 51 in 72 balls.

In another one-sided match, Bangladesh made 260 for eight in 50 overs against Bermuda with the help of three half-centuries — 84 in 95 balls by Nassir Hossain, 69 in 69 balls by Ashiqul Islam and 51 in 81 balls by Ashraful Hossain.

In reply, Bermuda were all out for 82 in 26.1 overs. Nine of Bermuda’s batsmen failed to reach the double figures with captain Rodney Trott top-scoring at 20.

Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to bat first, scoring 236 for nine in 50 overs after losing the first two wickets by the fifth over. But Sachith Pathiram’s 62 in 60 and captain Ashan Subasinghe’s 46 in 83 balls steadied the innings.

Thisara Perera smashed 41 in 27 balls toward the end to ensure a total that proved too big for Nepal, who were all out for 175. Opener wicketkeeper Mahesh Chhetri made 39 in 69 balls, but none of Nepal’s other batsmen managed to cross 25.

A total of 16 teams are taking part in the tournament, being played at seven venues around Kuala Lumpur, Klang, Johor and Penang. The top two teams from each of the four groups will progress to the quarterfinals. The final is on March 2.

Top-seeded Pakistan are the only team to have won back-to-back titles at this level, having triumphed in 2004 and 2006.

The 2000 winners, India, are seeded second, with Australia — winners in the inaugural event in 1988 and in 2002 — seeded third. England, who won the 1999 edition, are seeded fourth. — Sapa-AP