England moved one step closer to securing quarter-final berth in the ICC U19 World Cup when they thrashed West Indies by 61-run at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong on Friday.
Zimbabwe and Namibia also secured big wins in the other two matches as the tournament finally gathered momentum after each team playing at least one game.
England, who beat Fiji by a massive 299 runs in their tournament opener, built around an impressive 282-7 after half centuries from Dan Lawrence (55) and Callum Taylor (59), and useful contributions from George Bartlett (48) and Sam Curran (39).
The Caribbeans made a strong comeback after Curran had taken two wickets in the first over, but were bowled out for 221 in the 44th over.
Gidron Pope (60) put on 82 runs for the third wicket with Keacy Carty (22) before Keemo Paul took the fight into the rival camp with a pugnacious 65 off 58 balls.
Lawrence followed his half-century with two wickets to be adjudged the player of the match, but the bowling honours went to seamer Saqib Mahmood, who claimed four for 42.
‘It got a bit nervous out there when their partnerships were going, but in the end it was a comfortable win,’ said England captain Brad Taylor.
‘I think the seamers did a great job in conditions that did not favour them, but the spinners allowed us to get a lot of dot balls. Everyone held their nerves in what was a good win.’
England need a point in its last match against Zimbabwe on Sunday to finish as group leaders.
West Indies captain Shimron Hetmyer said the poor start set his team back. ‘We needed a good start to chase a total like that but we lost two wickets in the first over,’ he said.
Zimbabwe began its campaign by cruising to a seven-wicket win over Fiji, sending the first-timer to its second successive defeat.
Off-spinner Wesley Madhevere grabbed five for 24 as Fiji was shot out for 81 in 27.4 overs, a score Zimbabwe surpassed in the 19th over with Brendan Sly remaining unbeaten on 29.
Namibia made a creditable start in Group A with a surprisingly easy nine-wicket rout of Scotland to keep its dream alive of making the Super League quarter-finals for the first time.
Namibia, whose best-ever finish in the tournament was 11th place in 2008 and had lost both its warm-up matches in Bangladesh, made short work of Scotland in a one-sided contest.
The Scots were reduced to 129 for nine after electing to bat, before a last-wicket partnership of 30 between Scott Cameron and Mohammad Ghaffar lifted them to 159 all out.
Nambia eased past the target in 26 overs following an opening stand of 95 between SJ Loftie-Eaton (67 not out) and Niko Davin (52). Skipper Zane Green was unbeaten on 39.
Despite the early success, the Namibians will still need to win one of their two remaining matches against South Africa and host Bangladesh to ensure a place in the quarter-finals.
Source: New Age