U-19 World Cup: Boys put up good effort, says Afghanistan skipper Sulaiman Safi
Afghanistan captain Sulaiman Safi was pleased with his team’s performance despite losing the third-place match in the ICC U-19 Men’s Cricket World Cup to Australia.
Nivethan Radhakrishnan’s all-round effort helped Australia to third place in the ICC Under 19 Men’s Cricket World Cup with a two-wicket victory over Afghanistan.
“It was a very close game. We couldn’t finish it off but that’s how the game goes. Boys put up a good effort. It’s a good sign for us that we’re signing off with all the boys in good shape. Great World Cup for all of us, a wonderful experience for all of us,” said Sulaiman Saifi after the match.
Radhakrishnan grabbed three for 31 in the first innings, limiting Afghanistan to 201 all out, before scoring a half-century in the chase. Australia was made to work hard, but they eventually won with five balls to spare.
Afghanistan won the toss and opted to bat at the Coolidge Cricket Ground in Antigua and Barbuda, looking to improve on their previous best finish in this competition, fourth in 2018.
Cooper Connolly (2-30), the captain, rounded off the innings. With his second wicket in the penultimate over, giving Australia with a modest target of 202 to win.
For the first wicket, Campbell Kellaway (51) and Teague Wyllie (13) embarked up a half-century stand. Before the latter was bowled by Nangeyalia, bringing Radhakrishnan to the crease.
Before Noor Ahmad removed both Kellaway and Connolly in quick succession. He and Kellaway added another 60.
When Isaac Higgins joined Radhakrishnan in a 40-run partnership, nerves began to show when both removed with 35 runs still needed.
After that, Lachlan Shaw (13) and Corey Miller (13) scored 26 runs to send Australia to the brink of defeat. Before Afghanistan given hope by three fast wickets.
They pushed it to the final over. But Australia’s Joshua Garner (four not out) held his nerve to see them through.