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2010 ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup
Hammad Guides Pakistan Into Fourth Final

Jan. 25th, 2010
Hammad Azam hit an unbeaten 92 to power two-time former champion Pakistan to its fourth ICC U19 Cricket World Cup final when it defeated the West Indies by four wickets in the first semi-final in front of ESPN STAR Sports cameras at the Bert Sutcliffe Oval on Monday.

Hammad Azam (top) and Kraigg Brathwaite during their knocks of 92 not out and 85 respectively. (Photos courtesy of ICC )

Number-six batsman Hammad, later adjudged man-of-the-match, hit 10 fours in a 93-ball innings as Pakistan achieved the 213-run target with four wickets and nine balls to spare.

Despite a convincing victory margin, it was a closely-contested match.

Pakistan endured intense pressure during the early stages of its run-chase, with tall West Indies opening bowler Jason Holder claiming the wickets of Ahmad Shahzad in the first over and then danger-man Muhammad Babar Azam four overs later. Two more wickets fell before the 20th over as Pakistan found itself in hot waters at 49-4.

However, Hammad combined with Rameez Aziz (39) to consolidate the innings. The pair scoring steadily and dominating the slower bowlers as Pakistan grafted its way back into contention.

Soon after Hammad reached his half-century from 56 balls, Rameez was run-out after the pair added 90 runs for the fifth wicket.

Hammad then combined with wicketkeeper Muhammad Waqas to close-on the target. Waqas departed after a brisk 29 off 23 and after adding 64 runs for the sixth wicket with Hammad.

With just 10 runs required for victory, Sarmad Bhatti walked in and struck the winning boundary.

Sunday’s final against the winner of Wednesday’s semi-final between Sri Lanka and Australia, will be Pakistan’s fourth appearance. It lost to Australia in the 1988 tournament in Australia and then won back-to-back titles in 2004 and 2006 when the events were staged in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

Earlier, Pakistan had bowled and fielded well to restrict the West Indies to 212-8 in 50 overs on what looked to be a good batting track. Pakistan seamers were testing from the outset with Bhatti snaring two early wickets.

Opener Kraigg Braithwaite again showed his class for the West Indies, scoring freely and with occasional aggression, to compile an excellent 85. His 116-ball innings included six fours.

Skipper Andre Creary contributed 41, and Shane Dowrich hit a sparkling 55 towards the end of the innings, including a towering six over long on to bring up his 50.

Pakistan captain Azeem Ghumman said the win was closer than he’d expected. “It was a very tight game – our batsmen made it tight for us. But I’ll give credit to the bowlers who bowled very well. It was again great middle-order batting by the Pakistan batsmen.

“Hammad Azam – what can I say about him. He’s been outstanding throughout the tournament. He’s a great asset. He bowls 10 overs, he’s outstanding in the field and when he bats you can see that he always wins the match.”

Meanwhile in today’s Super League play-off matches, South Africa and India recorded comfortable wins to go through to the fifth and sixth places play-off.

South Africa was clinical in dispatching New Zealand by nine wickets, spearheaded by left-handed opener Dominic Hendricks. His opening partnership of 124 with captain Josh Richards laid the foundation for the big win. The pair looked authoritative and assured as they replied to New Zealand’s total of 250.

For the host nation Corey Anderson and Jimmy Neesham both scored 64 each. Once in the field, however, New Zealand had no answer to the determined South African batting. Hendricks carried his bat for an outstanding 107 not out while Richards scored 67.

India’s Akshath Reddy, playing his first game in the tournament, put together a flawless innings of 94 to lead his side to a comfortable seven wickets victory over England in their play-off match.

After dismissing England for 176, India wasted no time setting about the chase, bringing up their 50 inside the first 10 overs. Akshath punished anything short, hitting two sixes that cleared the boundary by a wide margin.

Mandeep Singh came in late in the innings to play a classy 21 off 20 balls including four boundaries, to finish off the innings in style. India reached the target in just the 37th over.

England and New Zealand will face off tomorrow in the match to determine seventh and eighth placings while India and South Africa to play for the fifth and sixth place on Wednesday.

The first Plate Championship semi-final was awarded to Ireland, without a ball being bowled at Palmerston North.

Rain overnight and in the morning left the Fitzherbert Park square and bowlers’ run-ups wet, making it impossible to start the game. Play was initially delayed to allow drying time, but was abandoned mid-afternoon.

Ireland goes through to the Plate Championship final on Thursday at McLean Park, Napier, on the strength of a superior run-rate. It will play the winner of the other Plate semi-final on Tuesday, between Bangladesh and Papua New Guinea.

In Plate Championship play-off matches, Zimbabwe defeated the USA by five wickets.

After dismissing the USA for 116 in a rain-reduced 41-over-a-side match, Zimbabwe made short work of the chase, securing the win with 12 overs and five wickets in hand.

The other play-off semi-final saw Hong Kong earn a four-wicket win over Afghanistan. Hong Kong’s Irfan Ahmed picked up the man-of-the-match award for a well played 68 as Hong Kong comfortably achieved the target of 152.

Today’s Plate Championship results mean that Hong Kong and Zimbabwe will play for 13th and 14th ranking at Napier on Wednesday, while Afghanistan and the USA will contest the bottom two placings the same day.

Scores in brief:
Super League (semi-final)
West Indies v Pakistan at Bert Sutcliffe Oval, Lincoln

West Indies 212-8, 50 overs (Kraigg Brathwaite 85, Shane Dowrich 55, Andre Creary 41; Sarmad Bhatti 2-37, Raza Hassan 2-41)
Pakistan 213-6, 48.3 overs (Hammad Azam 92 n.o., Rameez Aziz 39; Jason Holder 2-28)
Pakistan won by four wickets
Man of the Match: Hammad Azam

Play-off (semi-finals)
England v India at Hagley Oval, Christchurch

England 176 all out, 49.2 overs (Jos Buttler 78, Ateeq Javid 34; Ashok Menaria 4-35, Jaydev Unadkat 2-26)
India 179-3 in 36.4 overs (Akshath Reddy 94; Nathan Buck 2-41)
India won by seven wickets
Man of the Match: Akshath Reddy

South Africa v New Zealand at Lincoln No.3, Lincoln
New Zealand 250, in 49.4 overs (Jimmy Neesham 64, Corey Anderson 64, Logan van Beek 31; Kirk Wernars 3-42, Graham Hume 2-27, Samuel Mofokeng 2-45, Dale Deeb 2-45)
South Africa 252-1, 48.1 overs (Dominic Hendricks 107 n.o., Josh Richards 67)
South Africa won by nine wickets
Man of the Match: Dominic Hendricks

Plate Championship (semi-final)
Canada v Ireland, Fitzherbert Park, Palmerston North

Match abandoned.
Ireland qualify for the Plate Championship final on superior nett run rate.

Play-off (semi-finals)
Hong Kong v Afghanistan at McLean Park, Napier

Afghanistan 151-5, 32 overs (Noor-ul-Haq 61, Khushal Rasooli 30; Ashish Gadhia 2-18, Aizaz Khan 2-30)
Hong Kong 153-6, 30.1 overs (Irfan Ahmed 68, Waqas Barkat 57 n.o.; Aftab Alam 4-31)
Hong Kong won by four wickets
Man of the Match: Irfan Ahmed

Zimbabwe v USA at Nelson Park, Napier
USA 115 all out, 33.1 overs (Gregory Sewdial 35; Natsai M'Shangwe 3-13, Nathan Waller 3-42, Calum Price 2-18)
Zimbabwe 119-5, 29 overs (Tinotenda Mutombodzi 39; Saqib Saleem 4-38)
Zimbabwe won by five wickets
Man of the Match: Natsai M'Shangwe

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