ICC | Getty

Matt Rowe roars with U19 World Cup bag

Palmerston North paceman Matt Rowe has starred with one of the three best ever hauls in New Zealand Under 19's history - his 5/21 at the ICC Under 19 World Cup over night in South Africa bettered only by Trent Boult and Tim Southee.

New Zealand U19 bowled first, but despite a brilliant effort with the ball, the match turned into a real nerve-jangler after Afghanistan put New Zealand's batters in a whole heap of bother in return.

Tailender Rowe was relieved when he eventually hit the winning runs in the dramatic, low-scoring contest in East London, a fitting reward for his sensational, five-wicket burst inside 16 balls.

The New Zealanders had got home by one wicket at Buffalo Park in a game that went down to the wire.

A runout at the non-striker’s end in the final moments was the major talking point, but Rowe kept calm before his crucial hit took New Zealand past the finish line for their second win and to the top of the table.

Allah Mohammad Ghazanfar was exceptional with the ball to nearly negate Afghanistan’s ordinary batting effort, but in the end, they just had too few runs on board to force a win.

Having opted to bat first in East London, Afghanistan lost Hassan Eisakhil and Khalid Taniwal early to Wellington's impressive Ryan Tsourgas.

Ryan Tsourgas | ICC/Getty

At 46/2, Afghanistan had a decent start, but it derailed in the space of 34 balls as Afghanistan lost five wickets for eight runs with Rowe running amok and completing his five-wicket haul in 16 balls.

A cousin of WHITE FERN Hannah Rowe and a CD age-group rep from Palmerston North Boys' High, Rowe had Afghanistan on the mat with his spell. At 54/7 Afghanistan had thrown away their solid start, and it was down to the tail to resurrect the innings, eventually getting bowled out for 91.

With a meagre target to defend, Afghanistan threw their trump card, Allah Mohammad Ghazanfar, the new ball, and the ploy worked.

The mystery spinner likened to Mujeeb Ur Rahman was touted as a superstar right from age group cricket, and showed why.

He sent back three of the top four batters for ducks to reduce New Zealand to 23/3. With previous centurion Snehith Reddy absent, New Zealand’s top-order struggled to combat Ghazanfar. 

Khalil Ahmed joined in on the act with a couple of quick wickets as New Zealand crumbled to 42/5.

But Afghanistan struggled to make further inroads as skipper Oscar Jackson, who had smashed 75 in the previous game against Nepal, stood tall to counter the spinners.

A 30-run stand with keeper Sam Clode was vital but further loss of wickets pushed New Zealand close to the brink.

A streaky four and a few singles brought New Zealand to within touching distance of the target, but skipper Naseer Khan had noticed Ewald Schreuder taking a few steps outside the crease at the non-striker’s end.

In the first ball of his next over, Naseer mankaded Schreuder, leaving New Zealand with two runs needed to win, and only one wicket left.

Despite the tense atmosphere, Rowe was all calm. He hit the winning runs off the very next ball to script a thrilling win for New Zealand.

Matt Rowe | ICC/Getty

Jackson hailed the match as a “great game of cricket” and praised Matt Rowe (8-2-21-5) for his excellent spell.

“It was a great day for bowling, and our top bowlers did a great job.

"Matt was just unbelievable today – his control, and line and length were perfect, and broke the game wide open for us.

"After the day he had with the ball, it was always going to be his day [hitting the winning runs].”

New Zealand 92/9 (28.2 overs) beat Afghanistan 91 (21.3 overs) by one wicket







Asahi CCC Dream11 Dulux Ford Gillette GJ Gardner KFC Life Direct Pals Powerade Spark Spark