New Zealand recovered from an early innings collapse to claim a second final-over victory of the 2020 ICC U19 World Cup as they beat the West Indies to progress to the semi-finals.
Kristian Clarke produced a player-of-the-match performance to rescue the junior Black Caps, taking four for 25 with the ball and finishing 46 not out with the bat to help his side to a two-wicket victory.
The West Indies had looked in pole position to secure their place in the last four after Kirk McKenzie fell one run short of a century as they posted 238 before reducing New Zealand to 67 for four.
But Quinn Sunde (32) and Simon Keene (33) rebuilt the innings before Clarke and Joey Field (38) came together to get New Zealand over the line, with just two wickets and two balls to spare.
Clarke’s innings was the highest score ever by a No.10 batsman in the ICC U19 World Cup and his ninth-wicket partnership with Field was also the highest in a run chase in the tournament’s history.
Clarke starred with ball and then bat as New Zealand reached the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup semi-finals for the fourth time with a remarkable come-from-behind two-wicket win over West Indies at Willowmoore Park in Benoni.
The junior Black Caps appeared to be headed out of the competition when they slumped to 153 for eight chasing 239.
But Clarke struck an unbeaten 46 and shared in an unbroken 86-run ninth wicket partnership with Field (38 not out) that guided their side to a fine upset win with two balls to spare.
“I don’t think I’ve been part of a better game than that,” player-of-the-match Clarke said. “Obviously playing my part was good, but the whole game was up and down, so we’re just thankful to get over the line.”
Their exploits came against a West Indian team that had swept all before them by winning their first three games to top a tough Group A.
The 2016 winners could not get through their quarter-final tie, though, despite dominating for most of the game.
McKenzie’s 99 had earlier helped them post a competitive 238 all out in 47.5 overs, with the left-hander clubbing three sixes and 11 fours along the way after his captain Kimani Melius had won the toss and opted to bat first.
Seamer Clarke was the pick of the bowlers for the New Zealanders, but his efforts appeared to be scant consolation after being initially let down by his top order.
Ashmead Nedd was the key man for West Indies with the ball claiming three for 33, with two wickets each from Matthew Forde (two for 64) and Joshua James (two for 45) leaving their opposition looking dead and buried.
However, Clarke and Field had other ideas, sharing in a match-winning stand that put plucky New Zealand into the last four.
“We definitely wanted to try and reach as far as possible in the tournament and getting to the semi-final is an excellent effort by our boys,” Clarke added. “Everyone has stood up and it has been a really good team effort.”
Scores in brief
New Zealand Under 19s beat West Indies Under 19s by two wickets, Willowmoore Park, Benoni
West Indies 238 all out, 47.5 overs (Kirk McKenzie 99, Kevlon Anderson 33; Kristian Clarke 4-25)
New Zealand 239-8, 49.4 overs (Kristian Clarke 46 not out, Joey Field 38 not out; Ashmead Nedd 3-33)
ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2020 Fixtures
Super League Quarter Final 3: 30 January: Bangladesh v South Africa – JB Marks Oval, Potchefstroom
Plate Playoff Semi Final 1: 30 January: Nigeria v UAE – Witrand Oval, Potchefstroom
Plate Playoff Semi Final 2: 30 January: Japan v Canada – Ibbies Oval, Potchefstroom
Plate Semi Final 1: 30 January: Sri Lanka v Scotland, North West University Oval, Potchefstroom
Super League Quarter Final 4: 31 January: Afghanistan v Pakistan – Willowmoore Park, Benoni
Plate Semi Final 2: 31 January: England v Zimbabwe, Diamond Oval, Kimberley