Shades of 2004 U’19 World Cup

Super League Fifth-Place Play-Off Semi-Final

Sri Lanka shrugged off recent disciplinary problems to efficiently shake off a hard-working Zimbabwe outfit, completing a professional eight-wicket victory in Colombo. A batting lineup which had occasionally looked a star or two shy finally pulled together and the loss of the talented Sachithra Serasinghe was almost unnoticeable. Chasing down a challenging total against a spin-packed Zimbabwe attack, openers Dimuth Karunaratne and stand-in captain Sameera de Zoysa, deputising for the injured Angelo Mathews, set the ball rolling with an at first observant, and free-scoring stand of 131 for the first wicket, before Karunaratne, on clipped a return catch to Test spinner Graeme Cremer, who was curiously 53, held back by captain Shaun Williams, allowing six other Zimbabweans to bowl before his key spinner. Ashan Priyanjara continued the Sri Lanka assault, striking a rapid 23, before being run out by Cremer. When cramp forced de Zoysa to retire hurt, Hans Fernando and Dilshan Cooray provided the late impetus, both striking fifties to wrap up a decisive victory.

Whereas the Sri Lankan effort was smooth and consistent, Zimbabwe started their innings off on a poor note: both openers fell within a slow-scoring first ten overs. However a lengthy, 131-run partnership between Gary Balance (53) and Keegan Meth, who struck a 93-ball 91, provided a position for acceleration, duly provided by Ryan Higgins? 20 ball 30, including four sixes. Although Sri Lanka will have reason to be happier with an improved batting performance, their fielding left much to be desired, with catches being floored aplenty, and will have to be sharper to be the energetic Bangladeshis in the play-off final. Zimbabwe, despite their early exit from the main competition, will be content with their tournament: the mature and competent approach of their juniors shows up comparatively well in contrast with their ranks of pig-headed administrators.

Sinhalese Sports Club, Colombo
Zimbabwe 256-8 (50)
Gary Balance 53, Keegan Meth 91
Sri Lanka 259-2 (47.2)
Dinuth Karunaratne 53, Sameera de Zoysa 63, Hans Fernando 52, Dilshan Cooray 53
Sri Lanka won eight-wickets

Plate Championship Semi-Final

There were shades and throwbacks to 2004 when Nepal once again toppled their favourite giant South Africa in Colombo, a win which sees them progress to the Plate Championship final. Batting first on a turning Nondescripts surface, captain and opener Kanishka Chaugai – also a veteran of three Under-19 World Cups – made a stylish start, adding 67 with Mahesh Chhetri (15) and number three Sarad Vesawkar (19) offering support. However once the South African spinners were introduced, the run rate plummeted as spinners Jean Symes (10-2-15-3, including the wicket of Chaugai for 59) and Richard das Neves (10-2-25-0) applied the brakes. Seamer Malusi Siboto also found some success, taking four late wickets. Gyenendra Malla was the only remaining batsman to produce a considerable score; grafting an unbeaten a 71-ball 46 and the Nepalese racked up a defendable 214.

South Africa also made a positive start, with both Symes and Pieter Daneel making starts. However neither batsman realised his beginnings into a sizeable score, and by the 24th over, with the score standing on 92, Daneel was the second man to traipse back to the pavilion having been run out for 32. Soon South Africa were free-falling towards a humiliation as Basanti Regmi, a left-arm spinner, claimed the wickets of Brett Thompson (31) and Richard Levi (3) in quick succession to leave the Proteas struggling at 99 for four. Whilst Dean Elgar and Romano Ramoo ensured there would be no spectacular collapse, Regmi and Vesawkar maintained Nepal’s dominance and the required-rate rocketed. Still, when Ramoo fell in the 49th over, stumped by Chhetri off Regmi, South Africa still only required 10 runs off 8 balls: hardly mission impossible. Elgar however was in full flow after being tied down by the spinners, and took South Africa to the brink off victory with an unbeaten 66. But Paras Khadka, who had forged an accurate partnership with fellow new ball bowler Amrit Bhattarai (combined the pair conceded just 64 runs from 18 overs), kept a cool head and South Africa only managed a single off the last delivery with three needed. Another win for a prospering Nepal side, and will fancy their chances against an unconvincing New Zealand in the final on Saturday.

Nondescripts CC, Colombo
Nepal 214-8 (50)
Kanishka Chaugai 59; Malusi Siboto 4-47, Jean Symes 3-15
South Africa 212-5 (50)
Dean Elgar 66; Basanti Regmi 3-31
Nepal won by 2 runs

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