Christchurch: Pakistan defeated England by six wickets to set-up a clash with arch- rivals India in the Super League next week as the tightest group in the first round of the ICC Under-19 World Cup was decided in Christchurch on Friday.
Man-of-the-match Khaqan Raja hit 62 off 76 balls to move Pakistan into top spot in group 'C', ahead of England on run rate. Nepal's dream of qualifying for the Super League was ended despite beating Papua New Guinea by 65 runs, with its run rate inferior to England's. Pakistan will now play India, the West Indies and Sri Lanka in Super League group one, with England, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand in group two. The Indian government has banned its senior-level cricketers from playing Pakistan because of the current tensions between the neighbouring countries. But BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah said the policy would not affect the youth tournament. "The government knows that we are participating in the under-19 World Cup in New Zealand and the team was given permission with the knowledge that India might have to play Pakistan," he said. "There is no problem regarding the same." The Plate Championship in Auckland will see Bangladesh, Papua New Guinea, Zimbabwe and Kenya in group one, while Nepal, Canada, Scotland and Namibia will contest group two. After suffering a surprise defeat to Nepal earlier in the week Pakistan had to beat England to qualify for the Super League, and it got off to a good start by bowling out its opponents for 182. Captain Nicky Peng top scored with 59 but the loss of the last four wickets in 18 balls deprived England of the runs necessary to put Pakistan under pressure. England lost wickets at crucial times with Kyle Hogg (40) Bilal Shafayat (21) both getting in, but their dismissals were to prove costly as England failed to see out 50 overs, which ultimately effected its net run rate. The England bowlers again lacked penetration, despite Hogg bowling a tidy 10 overs for 22 runs, and Pakistan claimed victory with more than five overs to spare. Raja hit some attractive strokes striking six fours and a six before falling to Tim Bresnan, and captain Salman Butt anchored the innings with a responsible 35 from 93 deliveries. Despite Pakistan winning comfortably it was a tense end to the match with Pakistan needing to win within 48 overs to better England's run rate and top the group. In the other match in group 'C' Nepal beat Papua New Guinea by 65 runs dismissing its opponents in the 44th over to earn a bonus point and finish on nine points along with England and Pakistan. Nepal batted first and made 177 with Yashwant Subedi top scoring on 34 with Christopher Amini taking three wickets. Papua New Guinea was given a solid start by its openers Frank Joseph (32) and Mahuta Dai (32) but its innings fell away, and it was dismissed for 112 with slow left-armer Lakpha Lama taking four for 14. South Africa claimed second spot in group 'A' after its 10 wicket demolition of Canada in Auckland. Canada was bowled out for just 41 in 28.4 overs, a record low score in an Under-19 World Cup beating the 50 made by Kenya against Australia on Sunday, with Free State bowler Ryan McLaren taking four for nine, and Ian Postman two for four off just 10 balls. The South Africans knocked off the required runs in just 8.2 overs. In Dunedin captain Cameron White scored 156 off 121 balls hitting four sixes and 10 fours as Australia posted 335 for five against Scotland. Daniel Christian who hit three sixes and two fours before falling seven runs short of a century supported him. The pair added 212 for the fourth wicket as the Scotland bowlers were taken apart. Australia's spin attack has been its strength in this tournament and Xavier Doherty was again impressive taking Four for 15 with slow left-armer Ben Casson claiming three for 18 as Scotland were bowled out for 106, losing by 229 runs. The Super League begins on Sunday with India playing the West Indies and Pakistan meeting Sri Lanka in Christchurch. In the Plate Championship Bangladesh takes on Papua New Guinea and Zimbabwe faces Kenya.
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