Mirpur: Rishabh Pant hit a whirlwind 78 off 24 balls as India topped Group D with a seven-wicket demolition of second-placed Nepal in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup in Mirpur on Monday. Pant’s 50 off 18 balls is the fastest recorded half-century in the history of under-19 internationals.
The left-handed opener smashed five sixes and nine boundaries, adding 124 for the first wicket with captain Ishan Kishan (52) in just 9.1 overs, as India chased down Nepal’s 169 for eight in the 19th over.
Pant’s 50 off 18 balls is the fastest recorded half-century in the history of under-19 internationals.
India’s emphatic victory was set-up by fast bowler Avesh Kumar, who claimed three wickets for 34 runs. Mayank Dagar and Washington Sundar supported him well with two wickets each.
The Rahul Dravid-coached India topped Group D with an all-win record and now faces the second-placed team from Group A - Bangladesh or Namibia - in the Super League quarter-final in Fatullah on 6 February.
Qualifier Nepal, which knocked out defending champion South Africa from the Super League, awaits the winner of Tuesday’s clash between Bangladesh and Namibia in the quarter-final in Mirpur on 5 February.
Pant said he was disappointed to miss-out on a century, admitting that he became nervous as he approached the mark.
“I am obviously not happy that I could not get a 100 ... mainly because I got a little nervous thinking that I may set a new record,” he said.
“It was a good pitch for batting and I was able to go through my shots.”
Indian captain Kishan was delighted with the comprehensive win and Pant’s spectacular stroke-play.
“The way Pant was going for his shots, I was worried I may not get enough runs of my own,” Kishan said. “I am really pleased with the way we won today because it was a low-scoring game which is usually tough to win.”
Asked if India will prefer to face Bangladesh or Namibia in the quarter-final, Kishan said: “It does not matter whom we play as long as we stick to our strengths and get the basics right.”
Nepal’s captain Raju Rijal said his team had been taught a lesson on what to expect when playing against superior sides.
“The competition in the quarter-finals will obviously be very tough and today’s match was a good experience for us,” said Rijal. “We need to work harder and try and do our best in the remaining games.”
New Zealand, smarting from two losses against India and Nepal, took third place in Group D after a four-wicket win against Ireland in Fatullah.
Rachin Ravindra and skipper Josh Finnie picked up three wickets each as New Zealand bowled out Ireland for 212 and then won in the 41st over after Finn Allen scored 97 and Dale Phillips made 58.
Finnie later said: “There is a lot to look forward in the Plate Championship as we can come up against sides like South Africa.”
Afghanistan finished third in Group B with a four-wicket win over Canada in Sylhet.
Muslim Musa and Shamsurrahman Wali took three wickets each as Afghanistan bowled out Canada for 147 and then rode on Tariq Stanikzai’s 56 to surpass the target in the 25th over.
Afghanistan captain Ihsanullah Janat said his team gained valuable experience playing against teams like Pakistan and Sri Lanka. “This tournament will help the players improve their game. Its been a very good learning experience,” he said.
Pakistan and Sri Lanka, which have already qualified for the Super League quarter-finals, face-off in Mirpur on Wednesday to determine the group winner.
Teams, which do not make the Super League, will feature in the eight-nation Plate championships.
Scores in brief:
Group B: Afghanistan beat Canada by four wickets in Sylhet
Canada 147 all out, 50 overs (Arslan Khan 38, Abraash Khan 33; Muslim Musa 3-31, Shamsurrahman Wali 3-21)
Afghanistan 149-6, 24.1 overs (Tariq Stanikzai 56, Ihsanullah Janat 31; Miraj Patel 3-17)
Group D: India beat Nepal by seven wickets in Mirpur
Nepal 169-8, 48 overs (Sandeep Sunar 37, Rajbir Singh 35; Avesh Khan 3-34, Mayank Dagar 2-32, Washington Sundar 2-20)
India 175-3, 18.1 overs (Rishabh Pant 78, Ishan Kishan 52)
Group D: New Zealand beat Ireland by four wickets in Fatullah
Ireland 212 all out, 47.5 overs (Jack Tector 56, Adam Dennison 46; Rachin Ravindra 3-36, Josh Finnie 3-20)
New Zealand 213-6, 40.1 overs (Finn Allen 97, Dale Phillips 58; Rory Anders 4-32)
Group A: Bangladesh v Namibia, Cox’s Bazar
Group A: South Africa v Scotland, Cox’s Bazar
Group C: West Indies v Zimbabwe, Chittagong
Super League quarter-finals line-up:
5 Feb – Bangladesh-Namibia winner v Nepal, Mirpur
6 Feb – India v Bangladesh-Namibia loser, Fatullah
7 Feb – England v Pakistan-Sri Lanka loser, Mirpur
8 Feb – Pakistan-Sri Lanka winner v West Indies-Zimbabwe winner, Fatullah
Plate Championship quarter-finals line-up:
4 Feb – South Africa-Scotland winner v Ireland; New Zealand v South Africa-Scotland loser
5 Feb – Afghanistan v C4; Canada v C3
photo credit: ©ICC