The ICC U-19 World Cup 2018 has been quite entertaining so far. In close to two weeks we have been witness to some truly fascinating cricket and breathtaking individual performances from players of different teams.
As the tournament enters its final stages now, it would be a good time to look back at some of the most notable individual performances in the U-19 World Cup 2018 that has left a mark.
8-35 by Lloyd Pope (Australia) v England at Queenstown:
In what turned out to be the match of the World Cup so far, Australia’s leg-spin bowler Lloyd Pope dismantled England completely with his array of leg breaks and produced the best figures in the tournament's history. After having scored just 128 in their all-important quarter-final game against England, Australia needed a solid show with the ball to have any chances of winning the game. It was Lloyd who rose to the occasion magnificently and on a pitch that aided his turn and bounce ran through the English batting in an unbroken spell. Lloyd ended with record-breaking figures of 8-35 that demolished England for 96 and took Australia to the semis.
191 by Hasitha Boyagoda (Sri Lanka) v Kenya at Lincoln
Sri Lanka has a knack for producing some truly record-breaking feats in World Cups. The senior teams have been doing this for long and now the juniors have caught up too. Sri Lankan opener Hasitha Boyagoda smashed the hapless Kenyan attack to all parts of the ground in this scintillating knock. He stitched a vital 147-run partnership with Nishan Madushka (60) for the second wicket and played well with the others to score an outstanding 191 off 152 balls with 28 fours and 2 sixes. It is the highest score of this edition of the tournament and helped Sri Lanka amass a massive 419-4 and win the game by a whopping 311 runs.
94 by Prithwi Shaw (India) v Australia at Mount Maunganui
A lot was expected of Indian captain Prithvi Shaw in this World Cup. And the young batsman delivered in the very first game India played. In their high-octane match against a robust Australia, India batted first on a good track at the Mount Maunganui stadium and Shaw produced a terrific performance to knock the wind out of the opposition bowlers. Playing maturely, the opener initially showed composure and paced his innings well. He later opened up and attacked the Australian quicks with great authority. He was dismissed for a brilliant 94 off 100 balls with 8 fours and 2 sixes. The knock helped India post 328-7 and win the match by 100 runs.
6-15 by Shaheen Shah Afridi (Pakistan) at Whangarei
There was a lot of excitement about Shaheen Shah Afridi before the World Cup because of his phenomenal figures of 8 for 39 in a first-class game. And the tall Pakistani fast bowler has not disappointed. The left-arm pacer has modeled his action on Australia’s Mitchell Starc and generates prodigious bounce and movement. In Pakistan’s match against Ireland it was Shaheen who completely ripped apart the opposition with his swing and seam and ended up with 6-15 in just 8.5 overs. It was a beautiful seam bowling performance that knocked over Ireland for just 97 and gave Pakistan a 9-wicket win.
86 by Ibrahim Zadran (Afghanistan) at Whangarei:
Afghanistan has been taking giant strides in international cricket and their performance in the current U-19 World Cup is another step towards that. They beat Sri Lanka by 32 runs to enter the quarter-finals of the tournament and the victory was achieved by a superb half-century by opener Ibrahim Zadran. The batsman played smart and attacking cricket and in his knock of 86 from 112 balls, hit 5 sixes and 1 four. It was an important effort that set the stage for the others and helped Afghanistan post a solid, and eventually match-winning, score of 284.
We hope that we will get to savour many more such spectacular performances before the U-19 World Cup comes to a close. After all, this is what makes this tournament so satisfying and thrilling. The opportunity to see talented young cricketers exhibiting their prowess to the world is really a rewarding experience.
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are the personal views of the author and do not reflect the views of ZMCL)