ICC UNDER 19 CRICKET WORLD CUP 2020
WARM-UP GAME 1
NEW ZEALAND U19 v UNITED ARAB EMIRATE U19
St Stithians College, Johannesburg, South Africa
13 January 2020
Following the completion of a pre-CWC quadrangular warm-up tournament in Africa, New Zealand Under 19 hurtled into two rapid-fire official ICC warm-up games, starting with a last-over thriller against UAE.
Opposing U19 captain Aryan Lakra won the toss at college ground St Stithians and, despite Rhys Mariu getting underway with a first-ball boundary, UAE quickly put the top order under pressure — with sustained tight work through the initial power play leading to early wickets.
The combined efforts of opening bowler Akasha Tahir and impressive fourth-change spinner Sanchit Sharma had New Zealand 49 for two inside the first 14 overs, as Nicholas Lidstone joined Mariu to try to steady the proverbial.
Fergus Lellman (21 off 34) had looked to play positively before being trapped, then Lidstone followed Lellman back into the pavilion, stumped off the captain exactly five overs later.
Meanwhile Mariu continued a watchful vigil, having ground out 22 as captain Jesse Tashkoff joined him at 67/3. Bowling his seventh straight, Sharma struck another big blow, however, to send back a scoreless Tashkoff and pocket a wicket maiden from the 22nd over.
Otago 17-year-old Beckham Wheeler-Greenall partnered Mariu for the fifth wicket with New Zealand in desperate need of a stand.
Ending Sharma’s constricting eight-over spell by taking his first boundary from him, Wheeler-Greenall helped Mariu scramble to a half century off 71 balls, but after the pair had batted together for nine overs, Rishabh Mukherjee struck another crucial blow in the 32nd by finally getting Mariu caught on 56, at 111/5 — snuffing out the promising partnership at 37.
New man Simon Keene played out the rest of the over as UAE chalked up another wicket maiden. With 15 to go, NZ was still searching for momentum against the disciplined UAE attack at 120/5 — and youngster Beckham-Greenall provided it.
Back-to-back boundaries off Mukherjee helped pick up the pace as he took the lead in a burgeoning late stand that almost reached 50 before Mukherjee struck back in the 44th, stopping Beckham-Greenall on 41 (65) with a caught and bowled.
Keeper-batsman Quinn Sunde joined his Auckland U19 teammate in the middle as the pair looked to bat out the last half dozen overs, Keene pumping Mukherjee for the first six of the NZ innings in the 46th, to peel 10 from it.
Keene continued to play positively at the death, adding 33 with Sunde in quick time before he was caught on 40 off 51 balls. Sunde fell just two balls later to have NZ eight down, the final pair of Hayden Dickson (17* off seven balls) and Kristian Clarke carrying NZ through to a total of 217/9 — Dickson having slammed two sixes in the space of three deliveries, while 19 runs flew off Ali Naseer's 50th over before Clarke was run out off his last ball.
UAE's opening pair made a solid start to defending the tally, Lakra (46 off 75) and Vriitya Aravind piling on 92 for the first wicket before legspinner Adithya Ashok finally broke through with the captain's wicket in the 23rd over.
Aravind swiped Ashok for his second six before bringing up a half century off 79 balls with his third boundary, half the target ticked off inside the 30-over mark. NZ still had a lot of work to do but, just two balls later, Ashok had a big second wicket: Aravind, caught by Tashkoff to have the leggie sitting on 2-23.
Tashkoff and Beckham-Greenall meanwhile had gone for fewer than three an over off their opening spells while Clarke had conceded just seven runs off his first four overs at the top. NZ was a chance, but now they would need to keep taking wickets.
At 112/2, UAE had two new men at the crease — and good pressure with the ball soon had them 117/3, with 100 runs still to find. Hayden Dickson (2-23) would strike yet again in his subsequent over: 122/4, before Ashok (3-54) picked up his third to have the middle order in total disarray.
The UAE chase in the balance as NZ fought back, number seven Osama Hassan put a dent in it with back-to-back sixes off Ashok's eighth — before Tashkoff picked up a well deserved wicket with his off-spin at 159 for six.
UAE now needed 61 runs off the last eight overs, a required rate of more than run a ball. Tashkoff struck again in the 46th to have NZ in with a real sniff, Wasi Shah stumped and the tail now well and truly exposed.
Five balls later, the economical Wheeler-Greenall had his first: eight down, UAE's anxiety mounting, needing their tail to find the boundary now with 30 off the last three overs required.
Tashkoff (3-31) struck again early in the 47th: Sharma, caught and bowled, nine down!
Number eight Muhammad Farazuddin had his eye in, however, and was about to produce a brutal finish.
He crunched 19 runs — including two sixes — off Beckham-Wheeler's last over, ruining his excellent figures in the 49th and leaving just seven to be found off Keene's closer.
Keene started with a single, then a dot. But, just as NZ held its breath, Farazuddin (37* off 18, scoring all but three runs in the 31*-run last-wicket stand with Chathiyan Dashan) swung hard for his third six to win the nail-biter, by just one wicket, with three balls to spare.
Defending Under-19 world champion India is grouped alongside New Zealand, Sri Lanka and first-time CWC entrant Japan in the upcoming league phase, NZU19 due to play Japan in their first game at this level at the North West University Oval in Potchefstroom on this Saturday 18 January.
The final warm-up is against familiar foe Bangladesh in two days' time.
See New Zealand U19's World Cup schedule in NZ time here