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18th January 2010

England U19’s beat Afghanistan to qualify for quarter finals

England U19’s defeated Afghanistan by nine wickets and have qualified for the quarter-finals of the Under-19 World Cup. 

Spinner Danny Briggs (Hampshire) earned man of the match honours after returning figures of 3-15 as Afghanistan were bowled out for 126. Briggs was well supported by Leicestershire’s Nathan Buck (3-18) and skipper Azeem Rafiq (2-29).

England won the toss and put Afghanistan in to bat and it was not long before the pace of Buck proved too much for their top order. Buck claimed the first three wickets of the match with Javed Ahmadi, Shir Shirzai and Noor-ul-Haq all falling to sharp catches as Afghanistan slumped to 10 for 3 after eight overs. After a menacing start with the ball Buck then featured in England’s fourth wicket, taking a neat catch to dismiss Anwar Anwari off the bowling of Ben Stokes to break up a 41-run stand.

Rafiq (Yorkshire) then stepped in to claim the next two Afghan wickets, the first being that of Hashmatullah Shaidi, the talented 15-year-old batsman adjudged lbw after scoring a promising 41. New batsman Zakiullah Zaki lasted just four deliveries before being cleverly stumped by wicketkeeper Jos Buttler off the bowling of Rafiq. With Afghanistan reeling at 79 for six it was the spin of Briggs that dismantled the Afghan lower-order, the off-spinner taking the next three wickets before having a hand in running out the final batsman in the 48th over.

England’s openers wasted no time in setting after the target of 127 for victory with both Yorkshire’s Joe Root and Gloucestershire’s Dent scoring freely. England suffered a setback when Root was dismissed for 25 after being caught in the gully off the bowling of Ayub Khan. But Hampshire’s James Vince continued on from his man-of-the-match performance against Hong Kong by scoring at a run a ball and helping England reach 100 from 127 deliveries. Dent reached his 50 from 64 balls and Vince finished on 47 not out as England convincingly reached Afghanistan’s total in the 26th over.

England’s next match on Thursday is against India, the second team to have qualified for the quarter finals.
England U19s coach Mark Robinson said: “I thought today we were vastly improved in our performance compared to the Hong Kong match, the opening spells of the four seamers were very impressive. We put the opposition under a lot of pressure which was slightly different to the Hong Kong match as we were dealing with a flat wicket today. From a batting point of view it was just a really clinical performance. 

“We expect India to be very enthusiastic, very noisy and very competitive. They will be very good at hitting the ball into less conventional places so we know they’re going to put us under pressure but we’ve got some good players. It’s the sort of game you want to play in, you want to be put under pressure and we’re expecting a good contest.” will be speaking to Durham all rounder Ben Stokes

England’s opening match of the group stages saw England win the toss and put Hong Kong in to bat under grey skies and cool conditions. Hong Kong set England a potentially challenging target of 186 for victory but this was comfortably accounted for thanks to a 100-run partnership between Yorkshire’s Joe Root and Hampshire’s James Vince. Man of the match Vince scoring an impressive 76 not out from just 61 deliveries as England peeled off the runs with almost 20 overs to spare.
The nine wicket win was earlier set up by some tight England bowling, particularly from its opening spearheads David Payne (3/24) and Nathan Buck (2/19).
Buck claimed the first wicket of the day, bowling Hong Kong opener Shakeel in the ninth over. That brought the Hong Kong captain, James Atkinson, to the crease before Buck claimed the second wicket of the innings two overs later, skittling Alex Smith. Atkinson was the third consecutive Hong Kong batsmen to be clean bowled after Ben Stokes shattered his stumps, leaving the batting side 3 for 32 in the 14th over. The partnership of Irfan Ahmed and Nizakat Khan kept the England bowling attack at bay, yielding 67 runs from 12 overs before the England skipper, Azeem Rafiq, broke up the partnership after Irfan was adjudged LBW.
Nizakat continued to find the boundary though, bringing up his 50 from 57 balls with a lofted six off the bowling of Warwickshire’s Ateeq Javid. Javid eventually got his revenge when he had Nizakat caught by James Vince but not before the Hong Kong batsmen had amassed 65 from 69 deliveries.
England opener Chris Dent was the catalyst for the sixth Hong Kong wicket, displaying a keen sense of awareness on the deep square boundary to run out Ashish Gadhia (3). 

England proceeded to close out the innings thanks largely to paceman Payne who finished with match figures of 3 for 24 off nine overs as Hong Kong lost their final four wickets for 18 runs. Payne picked up his first wicket of the day knicking off 15-year-old Mark Chapman for a well crafted 29. He quickly followed this up with a second when he dismissed Waqas Barkat for six, leaving Hong Kong 7 for 168. Payne found himself on a hat-trick after Asif Khan was caught behind slashing at the Gloucestershire paceman. The hat-trick didn’t eventuate but Chris Dent was again on hand, this time fielding in close, to run out Aizaz Khan as Hong Kong finished all out for 185 in the 49th over.
England began its run chase in impressive fashion with the opening pair of Root and Chris Dent reaching 50 off just 47 balls in 31 minutes. Dent was dismissed for 33 (37 balls) two overs later, caught in the deep by Nizakat off the bowling of Hong Kong seamer Niaz Ali. Vince immediately upped the tempo upon arriving at the crease, taking England’s run rate beyond six runs an over as he and Root steered England to victory, both players making half centuries along the way. Root was the first to reach 50 from 65 balls while Vince matched his batting partner from just 45 deliveries. England reached the target of 186 in the 31st over and now focuses on the second group match against Afghanistan today (Monday).
England v Hong Kong scorecard available by clicking the link below, thanks to