NZ Under 19 puts Sri Lanka in a spin



Mangaung Oval, Bloemfontein, South Africa
22 January 2020


Result:  NZ won by 3 wickets in a last-over thriller

With one game still to play, New Zealand Under 19 moves into second spot in Group A, with the top two sides to progress to the Super League

  Kristian Clarke hits the winning six | ICC/Getty


It's being called the match of the tournament. Sri Lanka Under 19 and New Zealand Under 19 went head to head overnight with both countries searching for their first win in order to have a chance of progressing to the Super League.

New Zealand had pocketed a one-point buffer after their washout against Japan, but Sri Lanka was desperate to get on the board and move above New Zealand and Japan, after having lost their first match in the four-team Group to India.

The result was a hard-fought, oscillating contest between two teams playing out of their skins, in a game that went down to the last two balls.

"To get across the line in [these kind of] games is pretty special", said NZ U19 captain Jesse Tashkoff following jubilant celebrations reminiscent of the player pile-up when a young Ish Sodhi, needing four from the last ball, hit the winning boundary for NZ U19 to knock out the West Indies 2018.

"This is one of the games we've talked about for the last couple of months leading into this tournament, that this would be one of the must-win games for us, and just credit to all the boys who managed to get over the line," said Tashkoff.

"From both sides, it was a great game of cricket."

Despite a confident start and a late flourish with the bat, a mid-innings mini-collapse put Sri Lanka Under-19 under pressure in this key Group A match at the World Cup - in a match that would go down to the wire.

Sent in, Sri Lankan opening batsmen Navod Paranavithana and Kamil Mishara had reached 42 for no loss before New Zealand began a concerted fightback.

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A stunning catch from Beckham Wheeler-Greenall saw New Zealand make the breakthrough against Sri Lanka!

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First change Will O'Rourke (1-23 off six) then struck in his first over, the ninth, as Otago youngster Beckham Wheeler-Greenall nailed a screamer to remove Paranavithana.

However, a 48-stand for the third between Ravindu Rashantha and Thavisha Abhishek almost saw Sri Lanka steady the ship.

Adithya Ashok's third over of the day, the 25th, rapidly put a stop to that.

The head-turning leggie struck twice in the space of three balls to have Sri Lanka 106 for four at the halfway mark.

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Here is the Adithya Ashok double strike 👇

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Captain Jesse Tashkoff (2-40) kept the pressure on with another strike in the 28th, Sri Lanka 112 for five as wicketkeeper Quinn Sunde made the stumping to go with his three catches in the innings.

Ashok bowled unchanged through the middle for impressive figures of 3-38 off his 10, accounting for Dilum Sudheera Thilakarathna at the start of the 37th.

But Sri Lanka number six Sonal Dinusha was by now leading a fightback, and operating at run-a-ball pace.

Going on to 46 off 52 balls, from 141/6 he found plenty of support in Ahan Sanchitha who blitzed a vital 64 off 48 balls in a 78-run stand for the seventh wicket, before the latter kicked on at the death.

Sanchitha was finally caught with just three balls left in the innings, Kristian Clarke (2-36) then striking again in the 50th with the last ball of the innings to see Sri Lanka posting a respectable 242 for nine.

That late double strike was to prove crucial by the time Clarke found himself staring down the last over in a tight run chase.

Despite the early losses of Ollie White and Fergus Lellman, a solid third-wicket partnership put New Zealand well on course in that chase.

Opening batsman Rhys Mariu (86 off 106) and the busy Wheeler-Greenall (80 off 111) piled on 111 runs together to steer the side to 158 for three in the 38th over.

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😬 Do not bowl short to Rhys Mariu, you will be punished!

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Mariu was denied a shot at three figures when he was trapped by his opposite number Paranavithana, but captain Tashkoff (30) ensured Sri Lanka didn't get themselves back in the game quickly enough, joining Wheeler-Greenall in a 59-run stand for the following wicket.

Seventeen-year-old Beckham Wheeler-Greenall is putting together an impressive tournament | ICC / Getty

However, a flurry of four wickets in the space of seven balls had New Zealand nerves jangling at the death.

In the 48th, Dilshan Madushanka had removed Tashkoff while Simon Keene was run out, then two wickets fell in the space of two deliveries in Thilakaratne's following over: Paranavithana running out Wheeler-Greenall before Sunde was caught next ball.

It left New Zealand seven down and needing 14 off eight balls, Joey Field scrambling a two first ball before Thilakaratne dotted down to make the equation 12 off the last over.

Madushanka kept the pressure on, conceding just singles and twos off his first four deliveries to leave Kristian Clarke needing to find the boundary, with two balls left.

A nerveless Clarke slammed a six to win the match with a ball to spare, sparking jubilation from the entire New Zealand camp as they poured onto the field to celebrate a magic finish.

Kristian Clarke and Joey Field celebrate a clutch win | PHOTOSPORT

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Absolute. Scenes. #U19CWC #NZvSL #FutureStars #LoveCricket #cricket

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After a washout against Japan, it was an important Group stage win for New Zealand who has all but booked a spot in the Super League, and now prepares to meet undefeated defending champion India Under 19 in the last round robin match.

Should New Zealand defeat India, they will emerge as Group A's top qualifier.

Group A Standings after two rounds:

1. India - 4 points

2. New Zealand - 3 points

3. Japan - 1 point

4. Sri Lanka - 0 points

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