U19 World Cup – New Zealand clinch thriller by one wicket after non-striker’s run-out backing up

New Zealand 92 for 9 (Jackson 26, Ghazanfar 3-29, Gul 2-12, Khalil 2-16) beat Afghanistan 91 (Jamshid 22, Rowe 5-21) by one wicket

The Under-19 World Cup got its first thriller when New Zealand scraped through by one wicket against Afghanistan while chasing a measly 92 in East London. When New Zealand got closer to the target by crawling from 52 for 6 to 82 for 6 in 11 overs, it appeared like they would go all the way but there was more drama in store. New Zealand lost Sam Clode and the well-set No. 5 Oscar Jackson, also their captain, at the score of 82, and when New Zealand needed just two to win with two wickets in hand, left-arm spinner Naseer Khan Maroofkhil ran out Ewald Schreuder backing up at the non-striker’s end.

But Matthew Rowe, Hannah Rowe’s cousin, was the hero for New Zealand. After taking 5 for 21 earlier with his swing bowling, he hit the winning runs through the covers to spark off celebrations in the New Zealand dug out.
The New Zealand chase stuttered straightaway when three of their top four batters were dismissed for ducks by offspinner Allah Mohammad Ghazanfar. Jackson led the chase from 23 for 4 by first stitching a partnership worth 19 with Lachlan Stackpole and then for 30 with Clode to take them to 82. Afghanistan would have sniffed a win when legspinner Arab Gul bowled Jackson and Maroofkhil ran out the non-striker. But Rowe drove the very next ball through the covers for two and take his team to the top of the Group D table.

“[It was] pretty nervous times [for us],” Rowe said after the game. “Lot of respect to the Afghanistan team, it was tough for our boys but had to get across the line.”

Earlier, Rowe’s outswing accounted for three right-hand batters and the same inswing removed two left-hand batters after Afghanistan opted to bat. Once Ryan Tsourgas took the first to wickets, Rowe ran through the Afghanistan middle order by spectacularly rattling the stumps of three batters, having one caught behind and another lbw. Only two batters – opener Jamshid Zadran (22) and No. 8 Gul (10) managed double figures as Afghanistan stuttered from 46 for 2 to 54 for 7 to be bowled out for 91.

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