Christchurch: There were no surprises on Wednesday when Australia, New Zealand and India were the first teams to book their places in the Super League phase of the ICC Under-19 World Cup.
Australia's 42-run victory over the West Indies means it will almost certainly top group 'D', while India's convincing 71-run drubbing of South Africa in Auckland put the defending champions favourites at the head of group 'A'. Hosts New Zealand finished its group 'C' commitments with a six-wicket win over Namibia, which was unable to repeat its heroics of the previous day when it caused a major upset by beating Sri Lanka. New Zealand now heads the group, leaving Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka to fight it out on Thursday for second spot and qualification for the Super League. England has almost certainly sewn up a place in the next round after a convincing win over Papua New Guinea. It now has nine points with Pakistan and Nepal contesting the last qualification spot. To qualify Pakistan needs to beat England on Friday and hope that Nepal either loses to Papua New Guinea or fail to pick up a bonus point. Australia's victory in Dunedin came after the West Indies had dismissed its opponents for 200 with fast bowler Ryan Nurse taking five for 28 and Narsingh Deonarine three for 28. The Australian innings was given substance by a 59-run eighth wicket partnership between Beau Casson (28) and Xavier Docherty (23). Needing just four an over for a win that would have seen them top the group, the West Indies failed to combat Australia's spin attack with Doherty taking three for 24 and left-armer Casson three for 48. Tonito Willett hit five fours but his 34 was the top score in the innings as the West Indies was dismissed for 158. New Zealand's bowlers failed to find their groove against Namibia at Hagley Oval with Barton Van Rooi, man of the match in Namibia's win over Sri Lanka, continuing his good form with a 76-ball 62, which included seven fours and a six. Namibia's hopes of a second successive win were boosted as New Zealand lost two wickets with the score on 101 but Neil Broom hit eight fours and two sixes on his way to a match winning 85. Captain Ross Taylor offered valuable support making an unbeaten 58 as the pair added 84 for the fourth wicket. The two heavyweights in group 'A' met at the Colin Maiden Park in Auckland with India thumping South Africa thanks largely to a brilliant 105 from wicket-keeper Chandan Madan. The elegant right-hander struck eight fours and two sixes as the South African attack struggled to find any consistency. South Africa got its innings off to a solid start with Steven Cook and David Jacobs putting on 44 for the first wicket. Then 16-year-old off spinner Rakesh Mohanty took two for 24 and Irfan Pathan two for 18 and South Africa was dismissed for a disappointing 156. Papua New Guinea made a respectable 222 for six against England with opener Frank Joseph falling eight runs short of a deserved century. Papua New Guinea rarely plays 50 overs matches and its inexperience came to the fore at the end of its innings as it added just 52 in the final 10 overs despite having eight wickets in hand. England's strength is its batting and openers Kadeer Ali and Nick Compton, grandson of former England Test batsman Denis, got them off to a flier. Ali took 22 off one over from Kohu Dai as he played some wonderful cover drives and timed the ball with aplomb. Ali brought up his 50 off just 22 deliveries but he was eventually dismissed for a fine 73 from 43 balls that included 14 fours. Compton went on to make 58 and captain Nicky Peng scored 41 as England reached its target with 22 overs to spare to earn a bonus point. On Thursday India plays its final group match against Bangladesh in Auckland, Sri Lanka meet Zimbabwe at Hagley Oval in Christchurch, and the West Indies takes on Kenya at the Carisbrook Stadium in Dunedin.
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