Australian pacers picked early wickets but couldn’t control Nicolas Pooran Photo Courtesy: Official Website of the ICC
By Abhijit Banare
Feb 23, 2014
Nicolas Pooran scored a career-best 143 to power West Indies to 208 against Australia in the ICC Under-19 World Cup in Dubai. West Indies were reeling at 70 for eight at one stage but the record ninth-wicket stand with Jerome Jones (26) of 126 runs brought them back into the game.
It was a repeat from the quarterfinals between India and England when the Indians lost early wickets after choosing to bat. It was a similar story with West Indian skipper Ramaal Lewis opting bat after winning the toss. The onus was n the top order to fire in the crunch game with the pitch being ideal for batting first and piling on the runs.
But the big strong Aussie pacers ripped through the top order with Guy Walker bagging two wickets in as many balls. West Indies were down three wickets with just seven runs on board. Before Walker it was Billy Stanlake who started the downfall with a brilliant yorker removing Shimron Hetmyer for one. Walker in his next over followed it up with the wicket of Tagenarine Chanderpaul (4) and Jonathan Drakes (0) in successive balls.
There was a brief resistance with Jeremy Solozani and wicketkeeper-batsman Nicolas Pooran hanging around and playing cautiously. The Windies further sunk as James Bazley removed Solozano for just 10 runs. Pooran was the only one to look settled even though he was beaten on a few occasions. The Australians gave nothing away with their disciplined bowling as the opposition looked to save their wickets.
Pooran was the only one to make a concerted effort with his solid technique adding on runs while he ran out of partners. He got brief support from Bandon King and Jeremy Solozano but that wasn’t enough to bail the Windies out of trouble. King was dismissed by Ben Ashkenazi who was accurate as well. Ashkenazi then followed it up with a screamer pitching the ball full and straight to see captain Ramaal Lewis’s middle stump knocked down.
But Pooran’s fight continued as he stitched a valuable partnership with No 10 batsman Jerome Jones to bring some respectability to the score. He not only attacked the Aussies but also shielded Jones from taking the strike by picking a single on the last ball of almost every over. They brought up the fifty partnership with Jones scoring only two of them.
Pooran targeted left-arm spinner Thomas Andrews hitting him for a six in three consecutive overs. The Australians were frustrated and that also affected their fielding when they missed an easy run-out chance of Jones.
Pooran put the foot on the accelerator towards the end and got the ideal opportunity when Andrews came to bowl the penultimate over. Pooran smashed him for three sixes in the over. The Australians finally managed to dismiss Jones run-out got 26. West Indies will be more than happy to take this total after collapsing early on.
Pooran was eventually dismissed by Walker for 143. His innings included 14 boundaries and six sixes. He eclipsed the previous best against Australia Under-19 set by Unmukt Chand.
West Indies Under-19 208 in 49.5 overs (Nicolas Pooran 143, Jerome Jones 26; Guy Walker 3 for 44, Thomas Andrews 2 for 57) vs Australia Under-19.
(Abhijit Banare is a reporter at CricketCountry. He is an avid quizzer and loves to analyse and dig out interesting facts which allows him to learn something new every day. Apart from cricket he also likes to keep a sharp eye on Indian politics, and can be followed on Twitter and blog)