New Zealand got off to the best possible start in their opening game of the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup with a dominant nine-wicket win over Canada in Christchurch on Saturday.
Set a modest 128 to win, New Zealand never looked in trouble on their way to victory, with openers Tom Latham and Harry Boam reaching 55 off 13 overs before lunch.
The opening pair complemented each other with Boam playing the anchor role, while Latham came out after lunch with the intent of getting the game finished as quickly as possible – hammering four boundaries in quick succession. He was eventually out trying to add to his six fours, but only succeeded in hitting the ball back to bowler Arsalan Qadir who took a magnificent catch.
Canada still could not stem the flow of runs as the powerful Jimmy Neesham came to the crease and dominated the bowlers – he was particularly severe on Arsalan Qadir, smashing 22 off his fifth over including a huge six over square leg.
Boam at the other did a fine job of ticking over the strike allowing for the big hitting Neesham to finish off the game, he did so in emphatic style slamming the first ball of the 20th over well beyond the midwicket fence.
Neesham said he and the other batsmen had been told not to take too much time in getting to the total. “We set ourselves a target at the lunch break not to just drift a long and get the total in 40 overs, but to make it a bit of a challenge and get it quickly”, Said Neesham, who belted 47no from just 20 balls.
New Zealand was in control of the match right from the start when Captain Craig Cachopa won the toss and decided to bowl. Ben Wheeler stuck first when in the second removing Hiral Patel for just one.
Hiral’s opening partner Ruvindu Gunasekera provided a few works early on with a hard hitting 20 off 24 balls, he was particularly severe on anything short, dispatching two balls from Bevan Small’s first over, to the square boundary.
Logan van Beek and Doug Bracewell were the best of the New Zealand bowlers capturing three wickets apiece, with Man of the Match Bracewell capturing the crucial wicket of Canadian captain Rustam Bhatti for 24, one of four catches to wicketkeeper Latham.
Cachopa said he was pleased with the first-up performance from the team. “Batting-wise that’s how we play – we’re a very aggressive side,” he said. “It was really pleasing as a captain – the boys got the opportunity today and stood up, and really nailed it.”