Windies reach U-19 World Cup quarters

Chittagong, Feb 2 (IANS) The West Indies took the last quarter-final spot in the ICC Under-19 cricket World Cup with a thrilling, but controversial, two-run win over Zimbabwe here on Tuesday that gave them second place in Group C behind England.

Zimbabwe, chasing the West Indies’ 226/9, began the last over needing just three runs to win with one wicket in hand amid mounting tension. But West Indies seamer Keemo Paul whipped off the bails before sending down the first ball, catching non-striker Richard Ngarava out of his crease. The decision was referred to the TV umpire who declared Ngarava run-out.

The last wicket incident proved an anti-climax to what had been an absorbing do-or-die contest between two valiant teams attempting to nail a quarter-final berth. Zimbabwe, in their chase, were reduced to 147/6 following a four-wicket haul by fast bowler Alzaari Joseph, before Adam Keefe (43) and Wesley Madhevere (21) led a remarkable fightback by adding 62 runs for the seventh wicket.

Shamar Springer, who had top-scored with 61 for the West Indies, bacame his team’s hero with the ball also by dismissing both batsmen to finish with 2/16 in four overs.

The West Indies will take on the winner of Wednesday’s last league match between Pakistan and Sri Lanka in the fourth quarter-final in Fatullah on February 8 while Zimbabwe will play Canada in the Plate Championships quarter-final in Cox’s Bazar on February 5.

West Indies coach Graeme West admitted it was a tight match.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh topped Group A with an eight-wicket demolition of second-placed Namibia, ending the match in Cox’s Bazar in one session itself. Namibia were dismissed for 65 in 32.5 overs after being sent in to bat by Bangladesh with Saleh Ahmed, skipper Mehidy Hasan and Ariful Islam claiming two wickets each.

Bangladesh lost Pinak Ghosh in the first over, but an unbeaten 34 from Joyraz Sheik steered the hosts to an easy victory in the 16th over.

Bangladesh ended the league with three successive wins and will now play surprise qualifier Nepal in the first quarter-final in Mirpur on February 5 while another qualifier Namibia, who knocked-out defending champions South Africa, will take on India on Saturday in Fatullah for a place in the semi-finals.

South Africa finished third in the group after a 10-wicket rout of Scotland in Cox’s Bazar, the first win in the tournament for skipper Tony de Zorzi’s men.

Electing to field, South Africa bowled out Scotland for 127 with Dayyaan Galiem, Wiaan Mulder, Sean Whitehead and de Zorzi taking two wickets each. The South Africans raced to victory in 29 overs without losing a wicket as openers Kyle Verreynne and Liam Smith returned unbeaten with identical scores of 64 not out and in the same number of deliveries (87).

In the Plate Championship quarter-finals, South Africa will play Ireland on Thursday and on the same day, Scotland will meet New Zealand.

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