Tough start

 CHITTAGONG, Bangladesh – West Indies’ bowlers leaked runs as England reached an imposing 282 for 7 to win their encounter by 61 runs in the ICC Under-19 World Cup in Chittagong, Bangladesh, today.

The match was the West Indies’ first in the tournament and England’s second successive win in Group C after beating Fiji on Wednesday. The victory put England on the verge of a quarter-final berth while West Indies need to win both their remaining matches convincingly to march into the Super League stage.

There were half-centuries from Dan Lawrence (55) and Callum Taylor (59), and useful contributions from George Bartlett (48) and Sam Curran (39).

The West Indies made a strong comeback after Curran had taken two wickets in the first over, but were bowled out for 221 in the 44th over. Vincentian Gidron Pope (60) put on 82 runs for the third wicket with the Leeward Islands’ Keacy Carty (22) before Guyanese Keemo Paul took the fight into the rival camp with a pugnacious 65 off 58 balls.

Opener Gidron Pope made a classy half-century.
Opener Gidron Pope made a classy half-century.
Keemo Paul on the go during his 65.
Keemo Paul on the go during his 65.

Lawrence followed his half-century with two wickets to be adjudged the Player of the Match, but the bowling honours went to seamer Saqib Mahmood who claimed four for 42.

“It got a bit nervous out there when their partnerships were going, but in the end it was a comfortable win,” said England captain Brad Taylor.

“I think the seamers did a great job in conditions that did not favour them, but the spinners allowed us to get a lot of dot balls. Everyone held their nerves in what was a good win.”

England need a point in its last match against Zimbabwe on Sunday to finish as group leader.

West Indies captain Shimron Hetmyer said the poor start set his team back. “We needed a good start to chase a total like that but we lost two wickets in the first over,” he said. “Keemo and Pope batted well and that is a positive we can take.”

England got off to a very brisk start as only the impressive Antiguan fast bowler Alzarri Joseph bowled with any control. He made the initial breakthrough when opener Max Holden mistimed a pull off a sharply rising ball and was caught by Shamar Springer for 4 in the ninth over with the score on 43.

But Joseph apart, the England batsmen scored off the Windies’ attack at a rate of six runs per over for a large majority of the early part of the innings. Pacers Odean Smith and Springer and leg-spinner Kirstan Kallicharan came in for heavy punishment with Kallicharan’s two overs going for 24 runs.

Off-spinners Jyd Goolie and Pope managed to pull the scoring back to some extent. But Hetmyer might have rued utilizing all of Joseph’s overs early in the piece.

In other games Zimbabwe began their campaign in Group C by cruising to a seven-wicket win over Fiji, sending the first-timer to its second successive defeat.

Off-spinner Wesley Madhevere grabbed five for 24 as Fiji were shot out for 81 in 27.4 overs, a score Zimbabwe surpassed in the 19th over with Brendan Sly remaining unbeaten on 29.

Zimbabwe take on England in their second league match on Sunday, needing a win to strengthen its chances of progressing to the Super League quarter-finals, while Fiji clash with the West Indies on the same day.

Namibia made a creditable start in Group A with a surprisingly easy nine-wicket rout of Scotland to keep their dream alive of making the Super League quarter-finals for the first time.

Namibia, whose best-ever finish in the tournament was 11th place in 2008 and had lost both their warm-up matches in Bangladesh, made short work of Scotland in a one-sided contest.

The Scots were reduced to 129 for nine after electing to bat, before a last-wicket partnership of 30 between Scott Cameron and Mohammad Ghaffar lifted them to 159 all out. Michael van Lingen took three wickets.

Nambia eased past the target in 26 overs following an opening stand of 95 between SJ Loftie-Eaton (67 not out) and Niko Davin (52). Skipper Zane Green was unbeaten on 39.

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