U-19 WC: Bethell's 88, Ahmed's four-for lift England to semi-finals

England 212 for 4 (Bethell 88, Luxton 47*, Brevis 2-40) beat South Africa 209 all out (Brevis 97, Rehan 4-48) by six wickets

Jacob Bethell smacked 88 in only 42 balls to make short work of South Africa’s modest total and secured England’s passage into the semi-final of the U-19 World Cup. England legspinner Rehan Ahmed took 4 for 48 to bowl South Africa for 209 before Bethell set the tone in England’s victory with 112 balls to spare.

Bethell, the England opener, scored 76 of his 88 runs in boundaries as he peppered 16 fours and two sixes in his 42-ball innings. His blitz gave England a 100+ score in the powerplay, and even though he was the first man out in the 11th over, his innings allowed the rest of England’s batters to sail smoothly over the line. William Luxton, the No. 5, struck an unbeaten 41-ball 47 – including a six to win the game – after Bethell’s fall.

Bethell had already provided England with a flying start when he struck Matthew Boast for two fours in the opening over, but it was his dismantling of Boast’s second over that showed glimpses of how his innings was going to turn out. In the third over, he hit Boast for four boundaries in four balls – two pulls and two drives – and a straight shot for four through mid-on brought up his fifty in just 20 balls in the sixth over.

The Barbados-born Bethell, who is also England’s vice-captain, found the boundary in every single over that he was out there. He was also unafraid to play the unconventional reverse sweep and had a contribution of 83 by the time England’s opening stand crossed a hundred. His success allowed the other opener George Thomas, who faced much fewer balls in the partnership, to take it slow.

Asakhe Tsaka found the eventual breakthrough, breaking the 110-run opening stand with Bethell miscueing a shot to deep midwicket. Thomas was then run out for 19. Tom Prest, the captain, and James Rew then got tarts before being dismissed by lbws from Dewald Brevis. However, William Luxton extinguished all hopes for South Africa after he saw off the rest of the runs with his knock of six fours and two sixes, the last one a slog sweep over deep midwicket in the 32nd over to help England breach the 210-run target.

Even though Bethell’s innings at a 200+ strike rate expedited the win, England’s strong position in the contest was set up by their bowlers, led by Rehan’s four-for. He first had South Africa captain George Van Heerden top-edging a sweep before rattling Andile Simelane’s stumps with a yorker. He followed that up with Michael Copeland’s wicket to reduce South Africa from 117 for 3 to 136 for 5. He then returned in his final spell to take the tenth South Africa wicket to finish with 4 for 48.

That South Africa reached 209 was courtesy the tournament’s most consistent batter Brevis. Brevis had struck 65, 104 and 96 in the group stage, and in the quarter-final, played a lone hand of 97 for South Africa. Coming in at 11 for 1, he began attacking from the start, and ended up hitting nine fours and four sixes in his 88-ball innings. He was the only batter who dominated England’s bowling, using his strong build to go over the top too. After he fell three short of a second century of the tournament, No. 9 Boast (22) and No. 11 Asakhe Tsaka (18) took South Africa up to 209.

England will now face either Sri Lanka or Afghanistan in the semi-final.

West Indies 317 for 7 (Nandu 128, Parris 64, Wickham 61*, Ray 3-43) beat Papua New Guinea 148 all out (Oru 27, Nandu 2-17, Thorne 2-30) by 169 runs

Over at the Plate quarter-final in Diego Martin, West Indies opener Matthew Nandu hit a 134-ball 128 to give them a 169-run win over Papua New Guinea.

Nandu first put on a 155-run opening stand with Shaqkere Parris, who made 64, before following it up with a 107-run third-wicket stand with Kevin Wickham (61*). That took West Indies to 298 for 3. By the time Nandu fell in the 49th over, and despite losing five more wickets in the last ten balls of the innings, West Indies finished on an imposing 317 for 7.

The six West Indies bowlers then bowled PNG all out for 148, with extras (34) being the highest contributor in the chase. Aue Oru, the No. 6 was not out on 27 with six PNG batters finishing with single-digit scores. Nandu, high on confidence after his 128, then returned as the pick of the West Indies bowlers to take 2 for 14 in his six overs of offspin.

Zimbabwe 248 all out (Welch 78, B Bennett 54, Jarvis 3-46) beat Scotland 140 all out (Mackintosh 25, D Bennett 3-25, Mitchell 3-28) by 108 runs

In the Plate quarter-final match in Port of Spain, Zimbabwe completed a big win too, defeating Scotland by 108 runs. Connor Mitchell and legspinner David Bennett took three wickets apiece to bowl Scotland out for 140 in their chase of 249.

Zimbabwe’s first-innings was set up by the 78 from opener Matthew Welch and the 54 that Brian Bennett scored from No. 4. Before his three-for, David Bennett scored a handy 41-ball 35, and despite a lower-order collapse, the hosts finished on 248. Welch, who scored seven fours and a six in his 117-ball stay, put on a 112-run second-wicket stand with Brian Bennett to lay the foundation in the Zimbabwe innings.

Scotland lost five wickets by the time they reached 102 in the chase. Mitchell then ran through the lower-middle order with his three scalps, and David Bennett cleaned up the tail to end Scotland’s challenge in the 39th over. Tomas Mackintosh (25) and Jack Jarvis (24) top-scored in Scotland’s 140.

Sreshth Shah is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @sreshthx

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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