England sets up semi-final showdown with Pakistan
England earned a semi-final date with two-time former winner Pakistan when it held its nerve to beat defending champion India by three wickets in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2014 on Saturday.
England overhauled India's 221 for eight with five balls and three wickets to spare, but not before it required 15 off the last two overs and then eight runs off the final seven deliveries.
Man of the match Ben Duckett scored 61 off 64 balls with seven fours, wicketkeeper-batsman Joe Clarke chipped in with 42 off 45 balls with six fours and Rob Jones contributed 28 not out after England had slipped to 41 for three and then 148 for six after having recovered to 117 for three in its run-chase.
Duckett added 76 runs for the fourth wicket with Ed Barnard (24).
Earlier, fast bowler Matthew Fisher took three wickets as India was reduced to 24 for four in 8.1 overs before Deepak Hooda, Sarfaraz Khan and Vijay Zol helped it to 221 for eight.
Hooda and Vijay, who were both dropped every early in their innings, added 87 runs for the fourth wicket.
Hooda, who was finally run-out, hit six fours in a 99-ball innings while Zol hit three fours in a 85-ball innings.
However, it was a 46-ball cameo by Sarfaraz that got India to 221 for eight. Sarfaraz hit four fours in a 52 not out. It was Sarfaraz's intelligent stroke-play that allowed India to score 74 runs in the last 10 overs, including 44 off the final five overs.
A delighted England captain Will Rhodes congratulated his side for the victory.
"It was a very good all-round performance and all the players deserve praise and appreciation," he said.
He said: "We got a few of India's big players out early and you always start to feel confident when that happens. And then when you've only got to chase 220 odd, you start to believe further that you have a chance."
"India played a great game today and it is good tough preparation for the next game against Pakistan, which will also be a tough game for us. We're looking forward to it and we're going to enjoy it," said Rhodes.
A disappointed India captain Zol, who was part of the side that lifted the trophy in Townsville in 2012, said: "I thought we did really well to come back from 24 for four but we were still short by a few runs. We bowled really well on this surface where it wasn't happening a lot. Our bowlers bowled well and were well backed by the fielders."
"It is obviously disappointing to lose the match but I think we fought till the very end. I don't think it was a wrong decision to bat first but credit must be given to England bowlers who exploited the conditions and bowled well," he said.
At its happy hunting ground, Pakistan produced a clinical performance to defeat Sri Lanka by 121 runs after captain Sami Aslam and Imam-ul-Haq produced their third opening wicket century partnership in four matches.
Sami scored 95 (121b, 8x4, 2x6) and Imam contributed 82 (107b, 7x4, 1x6) as the two left-handers put on 177 runs for the first wicket in 37 overs. It was Sami's third half-century in four matches, which has taken his tournament tally of runs to 224, while Imam got his third half-century besides a century to strengthen his position at the top of leading run-getters with 342 runs.
Kamran Ghulam then belted four fours and two sixes in a 44-ball 52 as Pakistan scored 279 for nine in 50 overs.
In turn, Zia-ul-Haq destroyed the stumps behind an in-form Hashan Dumindu on the very first ball as Sri Lanka was soon reduced to 44 for three. However, Priyamal Perera (68) and Sadeera Samarawichrama (51) added 59 runs for the fourth wicket before the latter departed that opened all floodgates as Sri Lanka crashed out for 158 in 42.3 overs.
Reflecting on his side's victory, Sami said: "We've been playing here in the UAE for quite some time. We played here for about two months before coming to the U19 Cricket World Cup, so I think we are very comfortable with the conditions, and we are gaining confidence at the right time."
Monday's semi-finals between England and Pakistan will be played at Dubai International Cricket Stadium and will be covered live by Star Sports. On a head-to-head in ICC U19 Cricket World Cup, England leads Pakistan 3-1.
Scores in brief:
Super League Quarter-final - Pakistan beat Sri Lanka by 121 runs at Sharjah Cricket Stadium
Pakistan 279-9, 50 overs (Sami Aslam 95, Imam-ul-Haq 82, Kamran Ghulam 52; Binura Fernando 4-56, Anuk Fernando 2-45)
Sri Lanka 158 all out, 42.3 overs (Priyamal Perera 68, Sadeera Samarawickrama 51, Kamran Ghulam 2-19, Zia-ul-Haq 2-36, Karamat Ali 2-41, Zafar Gohar 2-39)
Man of the match - Sami Aslam (Pakistan)
Super League Quarter-final -England beat India by three wickets at Dubai International Cricket Stadium
India 221-8, 50 overs (Deepak Hooda 68, Sarfaraz Khan 52 not out, Vijay Zol 48; Matthew Fisher 3-55)
England 222-7, 49.1 overs (Ben Duckett 61, Joe Clarke 42, Rob Jones 28 not out, Ed Barnard 24, Jonathan Tattersall 23; Kuldeep Yadav 3-46)
Man of the match - Ben Duckett (England)
Plate Championship quarter-final - Bangladesh beat Canada by nine wickets at Zayed Cricket Stadium
Canada 75 all out, 27.1 overs (Mustafizur Rahman 3-11, Mehedy Hasan 2-11, Saeed Sarkar 2-15)
Bangladesh 76-1, 13.5 overs (Shadman Islam 35 not out, Joyraz Sheik 33)
Plate Championship quarter-final - Zimbabwe beat Namibia by six wickets at Abu Dhabi Oval 2
Namibia 194-8, 50 overs (Xander Pitchers 78, SJ Loftie-Laton 45; Gerhard Erasmus 24, JJ Smith 21; Patrick Mambo 4-31, Kieran Geyle 2-33)
Zimbabwe 197-4, 45.1 overs (Ryan Burl 55 not out, Malcolm Lake 39 not out, Kieran Geyle 37, Joylord Gumbie 37, Marius Delport 2-23)
Sunday's fixtures (quarter-finals, matches start at 0930)
Sunday 23 Feb - South Africa v Afghanistan, Sharjah Cricket Stadium; Australia v West Indies, Dubai International Cricket Stadium
Sunday 23 Feb -UAE v Scotland, Zayed Cricket Stadium; New Zealand v PNG, Abu Dhabi Oval 1
(Posted on 22-02-2014)