Australia Men's Under-19 Cricket Team secured a thrilling one-wicket victory over Pakistan Men's Under-19 in the second semi-final of the 2024 Cricket World Cup Men's Under-19 held on February 7 (Thursday) in Benoni, South Africa. With this triumph, Australia will meet India in the final of the 2024 Cricket World Cup Under-19, which is scheduled for February 11 (Sunday).
After winning the toss, AUS U19 opted to bowl first and PAK U19 had a shaky start to their innings, losing two early wickets for just 27 runs inside the first 10 overs. Australia's Tom Straker claimed the first wicket for his team when he dismissed Shamyl Hussain. Straker continued his impressive form and took wickets at regular intervals with the support of the other bowlers.
Pakistan's number three batsman, Azan Awais, tried to stabilize the innings but was eventually dismissed by Straker after scoring 52 runs. Arafat Minhas also tried to revive Pakistan's innings but lacked support from the rest of the team, eventually being bowled out for 52 runs. The innings for Pakistan ended at 179-10 in 48.5 overs.
Although it seemed like an achievable target for the AUS U19s, a disciplined performance by Pakistan's bowlers, especially Ali Raza, made the chase difficult. Despite Australian opener Harry Dixon scoring 50 runs and middle-order batsman Oliver Peake contributing 49 runs, Australia found themselves in a difficult position during the chase.
Australia U19 beat Pakistan U19 in a thrilling final
In an intense final, Australia needed just three runs with just one wicket in hand to secure victory thanks to a remarkable effort from Pakistan's Ali Raza, who claimed two wickets without conceding a run in the 46th over. Facing Mohammad Zeeshan, Australia's Raf MacMillan looked to drive the ball through the off-side with a good length just wide. However, MacMillan could only manage the rough inside edge. Adding to the drama was the fact that Pakistan had to bring another fielder into the ring due to a slow toss, which led to the fine-leg fielder moving closer, which ended up being the key factor. Despite a valiant attempt to chase down the ball, the fielder failed to reach it in time, allowing the ball to go over the boundary and Australia to secure a thrilling victory.
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Australia reached the final of the Under-19 World Cup for the first time since the 2018 edition of the global event. In the 2018 final, they faced Prithvi Shaw-led India and suffered an 8-wicket defeat.
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