West Indies beat Pakistan to cruise into U-19 World Cup semis

Dhaka, Feb 8 (IANS) Skipper Shimron Hetmyer and Tevin Imlach hit half-centuries as the West Indies beat Pakistan by five wickets to cruise into the semi-finals of the under-19 cricket World Cup here on Monday.

Hetmyer smashed his way to 52 runs and Imlach scored 54 to ensure that a gallant 113 by Umaid Masood went in vain as the West Indies surpassed Pakistan’s fighting total of 227 for six with 10 overs to spare.

The West Indies will face host Bangladesh in the second semi-final in Mirpur on Thursday. India play Sri Lanka in the first semi-final at the same venue on Tuesday.

Pakistan’s defeat prevented an all-Asian semi-final despite Umaid’s man of the match-winning performance, but the West Indies played better all-round cricket to emerge deserved winners.

Umaid came to the crease in the 15th over with Pakistan struggling at 40 for four and rebuilt the innings in the company of Salman Fayyaz after half the side was back in the pavilion by the 21st over.

Enroute to his 113, Umaid hit 15 boundaries and two sixes before getting out in the final over.

Salman remained unbeaten on a defiant half-century, which included three hits to the fence and a six.

The partnership thus ensured Pakistan had a total which was defendable.

But the Caribbean flair was evident from the start as the West Indies raced to 100 for one by the 16th over.

Hetmyer and Imlach put on 77 for the second wicket to take the score to 122 for one, before two needless run outs saw the total slip to 147 for four.

Shamar Springer was the fifth batsman to fall for 37 when 38 runs were still needed for victory, but Jyd Goolie (26 not out) and Keemo Paul (24 not out) saw their side home.

“This is a wonderful result for us,” said Hetmyer. “It feels good to be through to the semi-finals.

“We just stuck to our plans and executed what we had worked on at practice. It was probably a good toss to lose because our bowlers did very well to take those early wickets.”

Pakistan’s captain Zeeshan Malik congratulated the West Indies, but felt his team should have defended the score.

“Our plan had been to get around 235 because we had the bowlers who were capable of defending it,” he said. “I thought we put up a good score despite the poor start.

“But I must give credit to the West Indies batsmen for playing so aggressively and chasing down the target.”

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