India-born Nivethan Radhakrishnan produced an all-round performance to help Australia beat Afghanistan by two wickets in a thrilling play-off to finish third in the ICC U-19 World Cup at Coolidge Cricket Ground, Antigua on Saturday. (More Cricket News)
Radhakrishnan, 19, first took three wickets for 31 runs as the three-time champions dismissed Afghanistan U-19 for 201 in 49.2 overs despite Ijaz Ahmad Ahmadzai's 79-ball 81.
The ambidextrous all-rounder then notched up a half-century (66 off 96) as Australia U-19 survived a tense chase to win the match with five balls to spare. For Afghanistan, Nangeyalia Kharote took three wickets for 35.
Radhakrishnan was born in Tamil Nadu. His family moved to Sydney in 2013 when he was 10. His father, Anbu Selvan was a former junior Tamil Nadu cricketer. Selvan then managed teams in TNCA leagues.
He shot into the limelight in 2021 when the Delhi Capitals picked him as one of their net bowlers for the 2021 edition of the Indian Premier League.
Afghanistan, hoping to better their previous best result in this tournament – fourth in 2018, won the toss and elected to bat.
However, two early wickets for William Salzmann (3/43), removing 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.
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.
Afghanistan lost to England in the semis, while Australia were humbled by India. The India U-19 vs England U-19 final on Saturday starts 6:30 PM IST/9:00 AM local.
India are in their 8th final of the youth Cricket World Cup and are chasing a record-breaking fifth title. England, the 1998 champions, are in their second final.
ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup 2022 placings so far
3 - Australia; 4 - Afghanistan; 5- Pakistan; 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.