/ 19 February 2008

SA fall to India in U19 Cricket World Cup

A devastating spell of swing-bowling by Pradeep Sangwan was too much for South Africa to handle in what had been billed as the big match of Group B, as India beat South Africa by six wickets in their International Cricket Council Under-19 World Cup match at the Kinrara Stadium in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday.

The conditions lent themselves to movement through the air and Sangwan made the most of them, ripping through South Africa’s top order and finishing with 5-44, the best figures an India bowler has registered in any Under-19 Cricket World Cup.

Sangwan dominated the early exchanges of the match and left South Africa reeling on 45-5, with the talented left-armer bagging all of them.

Jonathan Vandiar (53) and captain Wayne Parnell (31) threatened to stage a recovery for the junior Proteas, but then spinner Ravindra Jadeja got in on the act and took three quick wickets to make sure South Africa only managed 149 all out in just 30.5 overs.

Chasing 150 to win, India were full of confidence when they came in to bat. Opener Taruwar Kohli hit a stylish and unhurried half-century and number three Tanmay Srivastava chipped in with 47 as India took their time, knocking off the runs in 42 overs for the loss of four wickets.

Although mathematically India could still lose out, there was nothing in this impressive performance to suggest that this side will be anywhere else but top of the table when the group stage is complete.

World Cup defending champions Pakistan survived a spirited performance by New Zealand in Johor to sneak home by 27 runs in a low-scoring game at the picturesque MPTI ground in southern Malaysia.

Having won the toss, New Zealand decided to field first and that decision was quickly vindicated as Pakistan struggled to 8-2 and then 28-4. In fact, but for crucial contributions from Usman Salah-ud-Din (53) and Ali Asad (42), Pakistan would have fallen far short of their eventual meagre total of 156 all out.

The wickets were spread around the Kiwi attack with Tim Southee, Trent Boult and Anurag Verma snaffling two apiece. They all bowled with discipline and control, backed up well by some good fielding.

In reply, New Zealand’s batsmen were not to receive the same success as Pakistan set about defending their low total with fervour and skill. The theme of tight bowling was continued and New Zealand fell badly behind in the run rate as the pressure rose.

That said, at 49-2 and even at 99-5, Kane Williamson’s team were still very much in contention but Pakistan never gave in and three run-outs certainly didn’t help the young Black Caps’ cause. Eventually they fell 27 runs short of victory with Ahmad Shahzad taking 3-35.

Elsewhere, Nepal gave Australia a scare in Penang as, batting first, the Aussies were bowled out for just 206. Nepal captain Paras Khadka (4-32 off 10 overs) bowled beautifully but Australia managed to creep to a respectable total thanks to Phillip Hughes (46), Kirk Pascoe (37) and Michael Cramner (32).

In the end, it proved too many for Nepal because, not for the first time, their batsmen were unable to match the performance of the bowlers. They fell 96 runs short, Rahul Vishwakarma top-scoring with 33 not out and Clive Rose (3-21), James Pattinson (3-25) and Steven Smith (3-25) doing the business for Australia.

England easily overcame the challenge of Bermuda in the day’s Group D match at Royal Selangor Club. Having won the toss and decided to bat, Bermuda were dismissed for just 58 with Hampshire slow left-armer Liam Dawson (3-15) doing most of the damage.

England’s openers picked off the runs in just 10.4 overs with James Taylor hitting 43 not out, ensuring his side won by 10 wickets.

After two games, England have yet to lose a wicket in the World Cup, having beaten Ireland by the same margin on the opening day. — Sapa