Christchurch (New Zealand): Heavy rain forced the abandonment of the opening match of the ICC Under-19s World Cup in Christchurch Saturday.
Only 90 minutes play was possible between group 'B' teams Sri Lanka and New Zealand. Just 19.5 overs had been bowled when the umpires took the two teams off the field with Sri Lanka on 85 for two, having won the toss and electing to bat. The players were unable to return and the match was eventually abandoned at 16:10 hours (local time) with both teams awarded two points. The groundstaff at the Bert Sutcliffe Oval have had their preparations for the tournament wrecked by the weather - it rained on 13 of the first 14 days of January. When the match eventually got under way New Zealand struck immediately with Richard Sherlock dismissing opener Upal Theranga for nought off the fifth ball of the innings. Theranga edged to Peter Borran at cover but the fielder made a mess of the chance and could only parry the ball to Stephen Murdoch at gully, who took the catch low down. Sri Lanka recovered from that early setback with Sumlaka Perera and Kanchana Gunawardena adding 50 for the second wicket as the New Zealand bowlers struggled to control the wet ball. The New Zealanders sent down 13 wides as the Sri Lankan batsmen gained the upper hand with Perera hitting three fours in his 54 ball innings. However, Gunawardena fell for 14 to medium pacer Borran when he edged a catch to New Zealand captain Ross Taylor at gully. Jeevan Mendis joined Perera and the pair put on a further 31 runs before the rain cut short play. The impressive Perera was left unbeaten on 37 and Mendis made 13 The tournament gets into full swing on Sunday with Bangladesh taking on South Africa in Auckland in group 'A', Pakistan playing Papua New Guinea in Christchurch in group 'C', and Australia facing Kenya in Dunedin in group 'D'. The competition comprises 16 teams, which are split into four groups with the top two teams from each group progressing to the super league, and the rest competing in a plate competition.
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