- The ambidextrous all-rounder took three for 31 to limit Afghanistan to 201 all out batting first
- Nivethan then scored a crucial half century as Australia chased down the target with 2 wicket
- Australia were made to sweat but eventually snuck home with five balls to spare
A fine all-round performance from Nivethan Radhakrishnan fired Australia to third place in the ICC Under 19 World Cup with a two-wicket win over Afghanistan.
The ambidextrous all-rounder took three for 31 to limit Afghanistan to 201 all out batting first, before notching a half-century in the chase. Australia were made to sweat but eventually snuck home with five balls to spare.
Afghanistan, hoping to better their previous best result in this tournament – fourth in 2018, won the toss and elected to bat at the Coolidge Cricket Ground in Antigua and Barbuda.
However, two early wickets for William Salzmann (3-43), removing Nangeyalia Kharote and Allah Noor, reduced Afghanistan to 15 for two. Mohammad Ishaq (34) and skipper Suliman Shafi (37) started to rebuild, adding 70 before the former was run out by Salzmann, the latter falling three balls later to Radhakrishnan.
Ijaz Ahmad Ahmadzai took up the baton, making 81 as wickets continued to tumble around him, before becoming the ninth man to fall as Salzmann’s final victim with the score on 201.
Skipper Cooper Connolly (2-30) finished off the innings with his second wicket in the final over, leaving Australia with a manageable chase as they were set 202 to win. Campbell Kellaway (51) and Teague Wyllie (13) put on a half-century stand for the first wicket before the latter was bowled by Nangeyalia to bring Radhakrishnan to the crease.
He and Kellaway added another 60 before a little wobble as Noor Ahmad removed both Kellaway and Connolly in quick succession. Isaac Higgins joined Radhakrishnan, scoring 11 in a 40-run partnership, but when both were dismissed with 35 still required, a few nerves started to appear.
Lachlan Shaw (13) and Corey Miller (13) then added 26 to take Australia to the brink before three quick wickets gave Afghanistan hope. They took it to the final over, but Joshua Garner (four not out) held his nerve to see Australia home.
ICC Under 19 Men’s Cricket World Cup 2022 placings
3 - Australia
4 - Afghanistan
6- Sri Lanka
7- South Africa
8 - Bangladesh
9 – United Arab Emirates
10 – Ireland
11 – West Indies
12 – Zimbabwe
13 – Uganda
14 – Scotland
15 – Canada
16 – PNG.
(Reported by PTI)