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20th January 2024 Representative

Ben McKinney 88 guides England Men’s U19 to world cup win against Scotland

Durham’s Ben McKinney led the way with 88 as England got their Under 19s World Cup campaign off to a winning start as they beat Scotland in their opening group game in South Africa on Saturday.

England won the toss and elected to field, as Scotland posted a total of 174, with Owen Gould and Jamie Dunk both reaching 40, but failing to go on to record a half-century.

In reply, an opening partnership of 109 between Jadyn Denly and Ben McKinney set England on their way to a comfortable chase, reaching their target in the 27th over just three wickets down.

It was a watchful start from Jamie Dunk and Adi Hegde against a testing opening burst from England’s quicks, with the former finding the boundary on three occasions, each time with a delightful drive through the offside.

The introduction of 15-year-old Farhan Ahmed, the younger brother of England international Rehan, brought the breakthrough with the total on 28, as Hegde was bowled attempting to slog sweep.

And Ahmed struck again just three balls later to remove Bahadar Esakhiel without scoring, trapping him LBW as he again attempted to sweep.

Dunk (40) and his Captain Owen Gould then set about calmly rebuilding the innings, adding 40 for the third wicket before the former perished, nailing a sweep shot straight off Luc Benkenstein to Hamza Shaikh at deep square leg.

Uzair Ahmad struck one boundary down the ground before becoming the next to fall, strangled down the leg side by Seb Morgan to depart for 12.

Gould then looked to push onto the front foot, taking 10 off a Seb Morgan over including a sweetly struck pull for six, but he would fall just two runs short of his half-century.

With his side on 115, the Scotland skipper went back to a good length ball from Benkenstein, the ball striking his back pad, before bouncing and spinning onto leg stump.

That proved to be a significant blow to Scotland’s hopes of posting a total over 200, as they failed to produce any further partnerships of note.

The spin of Benkenstein (3-41), Ahmed (3-22), and Jadyn Denly (1-24) did for Ibrahim Faisal (5), Mackenzie Jones (13) and Ruaridh McIntyre (4) respectively, as the Saltires slipped to 153-8.

Logan Briggs and Qasim Khan would advance the score to 174, Briggs striking 18 before he chipped a simple return catch to Dom Kelly, bringing the innings to a close with Harry Armstrong unable to bat through illness.

England’s reply began with two fortuitous edges off the bowling of Qasim Khan, Denly edging past slip for three, before Khan found McKinney’s outside edge the following ball, which this time reached the boundary.

However, Denly and McKinney soon settled into their rhythm, the latter striking back-to-back boundaries off Khan to take England to 42-0 after five overs.

The opening pair refused to let any of the Saltires bowlers settle, looking to be aggressive and hit over the top as they found the boundary regularly.

McKinney brought up his half-century with a boundary from the bowling of Logan Briggs, but he would lose his partner shortly after.

Denly rocked back to cut a short delivery from Ibrahim Faisal but could only pick out Adi Hegde at backward point, who took a sharp catch to remove the England man for 40.

Noah Thain would be the next to fall, again to the impressive Faisal as he miscued an attempted pull behind to Owen Gould.

And after striking two further fours to reach 88, McKinney would hole out to Adi Hegde, as Bahadar Esakhiel took a comfortable catch at long on.

It would be left to Hamza Shaikh and Benkenstein to knock off the remaining runs, the latter sealing the win with a thumping boundary down the ground off Adi Hegde.

After the game player-of-the-match McKinney gave his thoughts on the win: “It was tough batting early on, but I found my range pretty well. Today we gave ourselves a bit more time as openers and it paid off. The pitch had a little bit of hold for the spin and it stopped a bit off a length for the seamers, but overall I thought it was a good wicket.

“I think Jaydn and I complement each other, with him being a smaller left hander it helps with the inconsistency of length. I would have taken this start every day of the week for our first game of the world cup and now I hope it can continue.

“I thought 174 wasn’t an easy total to chase if we didn’t go about it the right way. I thought it was a decent enough total if it was going to spin a bit more. Young Farhan Ahmed is so ruthless with his lengths and lines and we took seven wickets with spin today, so we wanted to get spin on as early as possible, but the seamers started really well for us.

“It was great for some of our other batters to get some time in the middle, they probably would have wanted some more, but for them to come and finish the job and see what it feels like in a world cup game is a great to see.”

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