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Haseebullah Khan earned the distinction of posting the highest score of the U-19 World Cup so far after his 135 against Zimbabwe. Image Credit: Source: ICC Twitter

Diego Martin: Pakistan got off to a flying start in the Under-19 ICC Cricket World Cup, as wicketkeeper-batter Haseebullah Khan smashed a century and Awais Ali claimed six wickets to help their team to a crushing 115-run win over Zimbabwe in a Group C match at the Diego Martin Sporting Complex on Tuesday.

Flaunting their batting strength, Pakistan put on 315/9, thanks to a Haseebullah 135 (155 balls, 10 fours, 4 sixes). Zimbabwe fell more than a century short in the chase despite an 83-run eighth-wicket partnership between Brian Bennett and Tendekai Mataranyika.

‘Player of the match’ Haseebullah also earned the distinction of posting the highest score of the U-19 World Cup so far. Haseebullah and Irfan Khan combined for a mammoth 192-run third-wicket partnership before the latter was forced to go for 81 from 77 balls after being caught by David Bennett off the bowling of Mcgini Dube.

Zimbabwe continued the fightback, led by right-arm seamer Alex Falao, who took the wicket of Haseebullah on his way to 58/5 as Pakistan ended with 315/9. Zimbabwe had already produced a score higher than this against Papua New Guinea in their opening game of Group C but faltered in this chase.

Matthew Welch and Steven Saul combined at the top of the order to put on 34 for the first wicket. The next six wickets fell for 77 runs before a timely partnership of 83 runs between Bennett and Mataranyika gave Zimbabwe a glimmer of hope.

But with Bennett’s dismissal they were left needing 121 runs with only 58 balls remaining, Mataranyika followed his partner back to the hutch two balls later before the final wicket of Mcgini Dube fell to hand Pakistan a convincing 115-run victory with Ali finishing with 6/56.

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Sri Lankan skipper Dunith Wellalage with the man of the match award for his all-round show against Australia. Image Credit: Source: ICC Twitter

In the other match at Basseterre, aided by a patient half-century and a five-wicket haul from skipper Dunith Wellalage, Sri Lanka defeated Australia by four wickets in Group D.

Wellalage first took five wickets for just 28 runs in his 10 overs and then returned when the chips were down to score a 71-ball 52 to keep Sri Lanka’s winning record intact in the tournament. Sri Lanka are leading Group D with four points from two games, while host West Indies are second due to better net run rate (NRR) after a loss and a win.

Highest partnership

Australia struggled to build partnerships after having been put in to bat by Sri Lanka, their highest stand coming between Campbell Kellaway and Nivethan Radhakrishnan as they put on 46 for the fourth wicket. Kellaway was Australia’s top-scorer with 54 runs from 77 balls as the three-time champions slumped to 175 all out.

The last three wickets fell for just eight runs as ‘Player of the Match’ Wellalage produced his second double-wicket over of the match, as he also claimed his second five-for of the World Cup. This time the slow left-armer went for one more run than against Scotland to return figures of 5/28, which sees him five clear in the early race to top the wicket standings.

In reply, Sri Lanka kept above the required run rate but were consistently pegged back by the Australian quicks. Tom Whitney and William Salzmann took Sri Lanka’s second and third wickets in the space of three deliveries to reduce them to 41 for three in their chase of 176.

Wellalage again helped to steady the ship, this time with the bat in hand, putting on a 70-run partnership with Anjala Bandara, before Bandara was dismissed sending an outside edge into the hands of wicketkeeper Tobias Snell. Wellalage continued on to his half-century, coming off 69 balls and featuring four fours and one six.

With Sri Lanka requiring just five runs, it seemed that Wellalage would steer the team home but he was dismissed caught and bowled by Whitney and it was left to Raveen De Silva to hit the winning runs as the Islanders emerged the only unbeaten team in Group D.

In the third match of the day, ruthless West Indies scored a seven-wicket victory over Scotland.

Brief scores:

Pakistan beat Zimbabwe by 115 runs. Pakistan 315/9 in 50 overs (Haseebullah Khan 135, Irfan Khan 75; Alex Falao 5/58) Zimbabwe 200 in 42.4 overs (Brian Bennett 83; Awais Ali 6/56).

Sri Lanka beat Australia by four wickets. Australia 175 in 50 overs (Campbell Kellaway 54; Dunith Wellalage 5/28, Treveen Mathew 2/32) Sri Lanka 177/6 in 37 overs (Dunith Wellalage 52, Anjala Bandara 33; Joshua Garner 2/21).