Benoni: Australia scrambled to a one-wicket win with five balls to spare in their Under-19 World Cup semi-final against Pakistan at Willowmoore Park on Thursday.
Australia will meet India in the final at the same venue on Sunday.
Tom Straker led a potent Australian fast bowling attack, taking six for 24 as Pakistan were bowled out for 179 after being sent in to bat.
Despite 50 by Harry Dixon and 49 by Oliver Peake, Australia found themselves staring at defeat when they lost their ninth wicket with 16 runs still needed.
Raf MacMillan and last man Callum Vidler saw Australia home, with MacMillan scoring the winning runs with an inside edge that flew to the fine-leg boundary for four runs.
Left-arm spinner Arafat Minhas (2-20) and fast bowler Ali Raza (4-34) led the Pakistan fightback.
Minhas also shone with the bat. He and Azan Awais both made 52 to enable Pakistan to achieve a total which they came close to defending.
The tall Straker unsettled the Pakistani batsmen with aggressive short-pitched bowling on a pitch which had pace and bounce.
“We talked before the game about giving them nothing to drive,” said Straker, who achieved the best bowling figures in any Under-19 World Cup semi-final or final.
India, with five, and Australia (three) have won more Under-19 World Cup titles than any other nations. They have met in two previous finals, in 2012 and 2018, with India winning on both occasions.
Brief scores: Pakistan 179 in 48.5 overs (Azan Awais 52, Arafat Minhas 52; T. Straker 6-24). Australia 181-9 in 49.1 overs (H. Dixon 50, O. Peake 49; Ali Raza 4-34, Arafat Minhas 2-20). Australia won by one wicket.