SPO 229121 Tom Prest-1642781469250
Tom Prest has been outstanding for England at the Under-19 World Cup, where he has scored an unbeaten 154 against UAE after a 93 against Canada. Image Credit: Courtesy: Twitter/Hampshire County

Dubai: The UAE might have suffered a big loss at the hands of England, but team coach feels all is not lost as they face a straight shoot-out with Bangladesh in the final group clash for the second spot in the Group A in the Under-19 World Cup.

Talking about team’s morale after a 189-run loss to leaders England, Najeeb Amar, in an exclusive interview to Gulf News, said: “Naturally a little down, bit disappointed that we couldn’t win against England, but all is not lost as we are still in the race for the quarter-finals.”

Much was expected off UAE, especially after romping through the first game against Canada and buoyed by the impressive show against England in the warm-up game. But England skipper Tom Prest, electing to bat first, took the match away from UAE as he continued his sublime form with an unbeaten 154 to guide his side to an imposing 326/6 at Warner Park in Basseterre, St Kitts, on Thursday.

“The toss proved crucial. We had a good start, but after seven overs England batters realised there’s nothing on the wicket and went on to play their shots. They outclassed us in batting and a few dropped catches also proved crucial,” Najeeb said.

George Thomas (42) and Jacob Bethell (62) gave England a perfect start with an opening stand of 69. Prest, who had also scored 93 in the previous match against Canada, slammed 13 fours and four sixes in just 119 balls and shared a half-century stands with Bethell and then James Rew (24). The Hampshire batter also added 117 for the fourth wicket with William Luxton, (47 off 45 balls) to guide England past the 300-run mark for the second match in succession, despite the best efforts of Jash Giyanani, who was the pick of the UAE bowlers with 2/60 from his 10 overs.

Big trouble

UAE, in their chase, ran into big trouble and were reduced to 61/5 in the 15th over, with seamer Josh Boyden taking two wickets to take his tournament tally to 10.

Ali Naseer’s 54 off 44 helped reverse some of the momentum as he put on 59 with Nilansh Keswani for the sixth wicket. But when Nilansh departed, the last four wickets fell for 53 runs as leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed excelled on his first outing in the West Indies with 4/30 from his 10 overs.

England dismissed the UAE for 173 to confirm their place as Group A winners and progress to the Super League quarter-finals with their all-win record intact.

“We started the chase with a positive frame of mind, but the big total put us under tremendous pressure and we made some mistakes in the process,” Najeeb added.

Bangladesh bounce back

Defending champions Bangladesh bounced back from the loss to England with a dominant eight-wicket win over Canada. With one win each, UAE and Bangladesh will now face a straight shoot-out on Saturday to become the second team from Group A to enter the quarter-finals.

“We still have a chance to make the next round. The boys have the belief in themselves to do well in the final group clash, we are looking forward to the meeting against Bangladesh,” Najeeb said.

The holders, who were skittled for 97 by England in their opening game, fared better with the ball after Canada won the toss and elected to bat at Conaree Sports Club in St Kitts and Nevis. Canadian opener and wicketkeeper Anoop Chima made a patient 63 off 117 balls, but found little support from his teammates. The other nine batters contributed just 58 runs between them as they were bowled out for 136, despite Bangladesh bowling 15 wides in 44.3 overs.

Ripon Mondol starred with the ball taking 4/24 in 8.3 overs, including the scalp of Chima, who he had caught behind.

Ripon’s seam was supported by SM Meherob’s off-breaks as he took 4/38 in 10 overs with medium-pacer Ashiqur Zaman also chipping in with two wickets.

In reply, Canada struck early as Parmveer Kharoud trapped Mahfijul Islam lbw for just 12 but Iftakher Hossain anchored the chase with a 61 off 89 balls. Prantik Nawrose Nabil chipped in with 33 while Aich Mollah, 20 not out from 26 balls, sealed the victory in style with a six off Gurnek Johal Singh as Bangladesh won with 119 balls to spare.

Brief scores:

England beat UAE by 189 runs. England 362/6 in 50 overs (Jacob Bethell 62, Tom Prest 154 not out, Jash Giyanani 2/60) UAE 173 in 38.2 overs (Ali Naseer 54; Rehan Ahmed 4/30).

Bangladesh beat Canada by eight wickets. Canada 136 in 44.3 overs (Anoop Chima 63, Ripon Mondol 4/24, SM Meherob 4/38) Bangladesh 141/2 in 30.1 overs (Iftakher Hossain 61 not out).