West Indies 180 for 7 (Young 61, Sangha 4-30) beat Australia 179 all out (Fraser-McGurk 84, Seales 4-49, Forde 3-24) by three wickets
Jayden Seales and Matthew Forde shared seven wickets between them to bowl Australia out for 179, after which allrounder Nyeem Young dragged West Indies out of a precarious position to seal a win in the first Group B game of the 2020 U-19 World Cup.
After legspinner Tanveer Sangha took four top-order wickets, West Indies seemed to be in plenty of trouble in their chase, but then Young combined in a 78-run partnership for the fifth wicket with Forde to stabilise their chase.
The game had begun an hour late after a drizzle delayed the toss. It was reduced to 49 overs a side and West Indies chose to field. While opener Jake Fraser-McGurk was at the crease in the first innings, Australia looked set for a competitive first-innings total despite an early wobble, but his dismissal for a 97-ball 84 triggered a batting collapse that saw them lose their last six wickets for only 21 runs.
There were two freak run-outs in their innings when their captain Mackenzie Harvey and Lachlan Hearne were dismissed at the non-striker’s end caught napping outside their crease. Both times, the on-strike batsman’s straight drive took a touch off the bowler before crashing into the stumps at the bowlers’ end.
At that stage, Australia were 67 for 4, but Fraser-McGurk continued to pile on the runs at a healthy rate and added 91 for the fifth wicket in combination with wicketkeeper Patrick Rowe (40), but the former’s dismissal began Australia’s rapid slide.
Forde, who bowled without any success in his first spell with the new ball, caused the most damage at the back end, bowling uncomfortable lengths to the Australia lower-order who ended up lobbing soft dismissals towards mid-on and midwicket. His wickets of Todd Murphy and Sangha – the last Australia wicket to fall – left him with figures of 3 for 24.
Seales, who had his family cheering him on from the stands, capped his solitary wicket in his opening spell with three more in his second spell, dismissing the set Fraser-McGurk who holed out at mid-on. After that, his pace in the late 130s troubled the remaining Australian lower-order batsman, finishing with 4 for 49 in his eight overs as the first innings ended in the 36th over.
West Indies’ chase began in a swift manner with Leonardo Julien smashing three fours and a six in the first five overs. That pushed West Indies’ run-rate beyond six but he couldn’t carry on, dismissed for a 22-ball 20. His opening partner and the captain Kimani Melius was out soon too, caught by the wicketkeeper off Sangha’s legbreak. Sangha went on to dismiss the next three batsmen as well, bowling out in a single spell with figures of 4 for 30 leaving West Indies at 92 for 5. He found the ball to turn, and Antonio Morris and Matthew Patrick fell.
With Australia no longer having an attacking spin option, West Indies’ No. 6 Young saw off Corey Kelly’s offspin with not much trouble, occasionally finding the boundary to keep the required run-rate in check. He reached his half-century by drilling a drive through the hands of the fielder at cover and raised his bat towards the tiny West Indian contingent on the grass banks.
With the score at 170 for 5, it looked like Young and Forde would see West Indies through to a five-wicket win, but both their dismissals at the same score briefly brought the game back to life. Unfortunately for Australia, they could not penetrate further, and West Indies’ No. 8 Joshua James and No. 9 Kirk McKenzie got the final ten runs needed. McKenzie finished the game off in style, cracking a six over extra cover to seal the win in front of a 1600-plus crowd.