Connor Sully’s late show brought Australia back from the brink as a two-wicket win over rivals England blasted them into the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup Super League.
The dramatic victory, which saw Sully strike three sixes in the 48th over and hit the winning run off the final ball, saw Australia join West Indies in the Super League after progressing from Group B.
The Windies rubber-stamped top spot in the group and maintained their perfect record with a thumping 246-run win over Nigeria in the day’s other clash.
Australia soar into Super League with pulsating England win
When Tanveer Sangha perished to the bowling of Blake Cullen, Australia needed 44 runs from the final four overs with two wickets left. Up step Connor Sully to pull off the seemingly impossible.
The crucial over was the 48th, where Sully slammed three sixes and a four from Cullen’s bowling, the Queensland product single-handedly keeping his side in the contest.
The 19-year-old found an able partner in Todd Murphy (16 not out), scoring 35 runs from 20 balls to seal an improbable triumph.
“We had a few wobbles in the middle, but the guys set it up, and I guess I took the glory at the end,” said Sully.
“It was a must-win game. Credit to the England boys, they put up a good fight. To be honest, I didn’t think we were going do it. I just said see ball, hit ball.”
In a game that ebbed and flowed and had the feel of a knockout contest, England posted 252 for seven after being asked to bat first at the Diamond Oval.
Ben Charlesworth was again in the runs, his 82 giving England an anchor, but late-innings impetus was provided by Dan Mousley (51 not out) and Kasey Aldridge, who chipped in with 32 not out from 25 balls.
Player of the match Sully had a big say with the ball, too, removing Charlesworth, finishing up with two for 39 in his ten overs.
But the real drama came in the chase, as Australia tottered from 153 for two, to 189 for seven.
Captain Mackenzie Harvey’s 65 looked like it would take Australia home, but his departure was swiftly followed by Lachlan Hearne (45) and the middle-order crumbled under the pressure of English spin before the dramatic finale.
Australia go into the Super League, while England will now compete in the Plate section of the tournament.
West Indies stay perfect with Nigeria victory
Impressive performances with bat and ball helped West Indies end their group stage campaign with a 100 per cent record as they dominated Nigeria in Kimberley.
Half-centuries from Kimani Melius and Matthew Patrick propelled the 2016 champions to 303 for eight before Jayden Seales continued his hot streak with the ball, taking four for 19 to consign Nigeria to 57 all out.
After winning the toss and choosing to bat, Windies were soon vindicated as captain Melius and Leonardo Julien (18) put on 70 runs for the first wicket.
Melius went on to record his first half-century of the tournament, scoring 65 off 81 balls including nine fours and two sixes.
Although Nigeria pegged their opponents back during the middle overs with crucial wickets from Peter Aho (two for 53) and Sylvester Okpe (two for 66), a 90-run seventh-wicket stand between Joshua James (43) and Patrick carried the West Indies closer to their formidable total
The latter top-scored in the innings with a 70-ball 68 (six fours, two sixes).
The defence of their score was straightforward as debutants Nigeria struggled to make headway with the bat, with Okpe (10) and Abdulrahman Jimoh (17) the only batters to register double-figures.
Fast bowler Seales grabbed four of the five top-order batsmen, with Ashmead Nedd (three for 11) and Patrick (two for 16) also contributing to dismiss the West African side with 28.2 overs to spare.
Scores in Brief
Australia Under 19s beat England Under 19s by two wickets, De Beers Diamond Oval, Kimberley
England 252-7, 50 overs (Ben Charlesworth 82, Dan Mousley 51; Connor Sully 2-39)
Australia 253-8, 50 overs (Mackenzie Harvey 65, Lachlan Hearne 45; Lewis Goldsworthy 2-24)
West Indies Under 19s beat Nigeria Under 19s by 246 runs, Country Club B Field, Kimberley
West Indies 303-8, 50 overs (Matthew Patrick 68, Kimani Melius 65; Peter Aho 2-53)
Nigeria 57 all out, 21.4 overs (Abdulrahman Jimoh 17; Jayden Seales 4-19, Ashmead Nedd 3-11)
ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2020 Fixtures
Group A fixtures: 24 January: India v New Zealand – Mangaung Oval, Bloemfontein; 25 January: Sri Lanka v Japan – North West University Oval, Potchefstroom
Group B fixtures: 25 January: England v Nigeria – Diamond Oval, Kimberley
Group C fixtures: 24 January: Pakistan v Bangladesh – JB Marks Oval, Potchefstroom; 25 January: Zimbabwe v Scotland – Witrand Oval, Potchefstroom
Group D fixtures: 24 January: Afghanistan v Canada – Ibbies Oval, Potchefstroom; 25 January: South Africa v United Arab Emirates – Mangaung Oval, Bloemfontein