NZ U19 played positively in the DLS match

India U19 takes rain-hit win in Bloemfontein



Mangaung Oval, Bloemfontein, South Africa
24 January 2020


Result: India won by 44 runs (DLS)


New Zealand Under 19 entered the final Group A match nicely placed, although not totally secure, in second spot on the table.

The top two sides will progress to the Super League, and, a win over defending champions India would have seen New Zealand qualify top of their group. Likewise, an Indian win would keep them unbeaten and see them comfortably through in a weather-hit tournament.

Once again, weather would be part of this game in Bloemfontein, New Zealand's chase reduced to 23 overs, after having asked India to bat before the skies opened.

India's twin left-hand opening pair of Yashasvi Jaiswal and Divyaansh Saxena showed no qualms about having been sent in, however, putting 103 on the board for no loss before the heavy thunderstorm paused play at 103/0 after 21 overs.

By then, classy Jaiswal had just reached his half century, slog-sweeping a six off Jesse Tashkoff's first ball of his third over, while Saxena was poised on 44* off his 54 balls.

New Zealand had meanwhile opened with a fresh frontline attack in David Hancock and Will O'Rourke.

Will O'Rourke | ICC/Getty

After a few looseners, both produced early maidens amid some tight early work. However, neither was it long before Jaiswal and Saxena had got going, punishing loose or overpitched deliveries to the fence — and, timing some of the good ones sweetly.

The introduction of spin came in the 11th over with a good challenge in front of 17-year-old Beckham Wheeler-Greenall, Jaiswal carting him for six over deep square leg.

India Under 19 star Yashasvi Jaiswal in action against NZ | ICC/Getty

Bowling in tandem with Hayden Dickson, Wheeler-Greenall recovered quickly but, by the time leg-spinner Adithya Ashok entered the attack in the 20th, India A was sailing smoothly at 96 for no loss.

Ashok opened his spell confidently with two wrong 'uns, conceding just a single off his last delivery of the over. After Jaiswal swiped up his half century off the following ball next over, players remained off the field for more than an hour, waiting for the storm to pass.

After a lengthy wait, finally the teams got back on in what was now a 27-over rain-reduced affair, but another shower reduced that further to 23 overs with India ultimately batting for just another two overs. Saxena reached his fifty, going on to 57* off 77 and Jaiswal 52* off 62 as they took India to 115 without loss.

Saxena makes his ground as Ben Pomare attempts a stumping | ICC/Getty

Under DLS, that left New Zealand with tough chase of 192 off 132 balls, at a required run rate of more than eight per over.

Ollie White and Rhys Mariu (43 off 31) picked up the challenge, starting positively with quick runs and 51 on the board without loss in just five overs.

India had its first breakthrough when White was stumped off leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi in the sixth, just after the pair had put the New Zealand 50 on the board.

Rhys Mariu | ICC/Getty

Fergus Lellman (31 off 19) got off the mark immediately looking to keep the momentum going, and shared a quick 30-stand for the second wicket before New Zealand lost the prolific Mariu's services. Lellman had welcomed Atharva Ankolekar into the attack with back to back sixes, as NZU19 went after their target.

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Caught off spinner Ankolekar's second over trying to clear the long-off rope, the loss of Mariu didn't slow NZU19 down as a polished Lellman kept the pressure on the Indian attack.

However, after Ankolekar (3-28) struck back again with Lellman dragging the ball onto his stumps, and then the loss of number four Nic Lidstone at 114/4 in the 15th over, regular wickets became the price of the necessary aggression.

Ankolekar took big wickets | ICC/Getty

India's discipline under pressure didn't assist New Zealand's cause, but the decisive over was the 18th, as man of the match Bishnoi came back into the attack for another crack.

Striking with his first ball, the leggie had Ben Pomare bowled by a wrong 'un, then after conceding a wide, dotted down before Dickson couldn't pick it either and found himself stumped.

Adithya Ashok squeaked a single first ball, but Bishnoi (4-30) shot back as Beckham Wheeler-Greenall tried to get going quickly only to fall to a superb running catch in the deep by Akash Singh to make it three wickets from the devastating over: 135 for eight all of a sudden, and advantage India.

Needing 46 off the last three overs, New Zealand Under 19 put on a fearless show, but the asking rate under the DLS target remained too steep as they lost their last two wickets to fall 44 short.

"We knew it was a pretty good batting wicket, said NZU19 captain Jesse Tashkoff. "All credit to India for putting such a total on the board. I think there's a lot of positives to take from our victory against Sri Lanka."

India will go on to meet Australia in their first Super League showdown, while New Zealand will await the result of final Group A clash between Sri Lanka and Japan in Potchefstroom tonight.

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