Australia move into semis despite Pooran 143

At 70 for 8, Australia Under-19s looked like wrapping up West Indies Under-19s for a sub-100 total, until they ran into Nicolas Pooran, who played the innings of the tournament to lift his team to 208. The fightback went in vain as Australia coasted to victory by five wickets and set up a semi-final clash with South Africa on Wednesday.

The alarming trend of top-order collapses continued at the Dubai International Stadium and on Monday it was West Indies’ turn to suffer. Pooran, however, showed it was possible to bat 50 overs even after losing eight for nothing. The unsung hero was his partner Jerome Jones, who pitched a tent at the other end and ensured Pooran got as much strike as possible.

Pooran’s 143 constituted a staggering 69% of West Indies’ runs. His stand of 136 with Jones was a record for the ninth-wicket partnership in U-19 ODIs, and Jones contributed just 20.

Of the 23 boundaries in West Indies’ innings, Pooran hit 20, evidence of the control he had. He began by flicking Greg Walker to fine leg before clearing the infield on both sides of the wicket against the seamers. Pooran started farming the strike once Jones joined him at 70 for 8 but he showed enough trust in his partner’s batting ability. Pooran turned down several singles and was successful in taking a single off the fourth ball on many occasions, letting Jones play the last two.

Summarized Scores: Australia Under-19s 209 for 5 (Morgan 55, Short 52) beat West Indies Under-19s 208 (Pooran 143, Walker 3-44) by five wickets

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