The New Zealand Under-19 team have advanced through to the semi-finals of the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup with a mesmerising last ball victory over the West Indies.
Number eight Ish Sodhi smashed 22 off 10 deliveries, including a four off the last ball to help his side make the 18 runs required for victory in the last over. It capped off an intense affair which New Zealand won by three wickets.
New Zealand were chasing West Indies total of 237 and were behind the required run-rate for much of the innings.
Michael Davidson (16) and Ben Horne (59) got their side off to a solid start at 39 for one, before Davidson was caught in the eighth over. Horne continued to find the boundary with a couple of big sixes, but saw his captain Will Young (8) dismissed cheaply and New Zealand were looking vulnerable at 81 for three.
Robert O’Donnell came in and played a sensible innings, forming valuable partnerships with Horne first and then wicket-keeper Cameron Fletcher.
Following Horne’s dismissal in the 25th over the West Indies limited New Zealand’s scoring opportunities and with ten overs to go the batting side needed a further 89 runs. The Kiwis were struggling to make any inroads.
O’Donnell fell for 42 and Connor Neynens came to the crease with his side needing close to 11 runs per over. Neynens hit four boundaries in his 25 (18 balls), before being caught with 15 balls remaining.
He had done his job though, as alongside Fletcher he had brought New Zealand to need just 22 off the final two overs.
The tide turned again though when the West Indies restricted New Zealand to just four runs off the penultimate over and picked up the big wicket of Fletcher for 49 off the last delivery.
But one player’s heroics saw something special unfold.
In the final over Sodhi hit a four and a single in the first two balls and then got back on strike by running a leg-bye off the pads of Jacob Duffy.
He then hit a six and a two off the third and second to last ball, before finding the rope off the last delivery to give New Zealand the most dramatic of victories.
Ronsford Beaton, who bowled the 50th over, claimed figures of three for 47. Kyle Mayers was also effective for the West Indies with three for 42.
Earlier in the match the Caribbean side had been dismissed off the last ball of their innings to finish their 50 overs 237 all out.
West Indies captain Kraigg Braithwaite scored a patient half-century, while building a number of minor partnerships along the way. In the 37th over he was dismissed for 53 with his side 166 for six.
The lower-order showed some resistance, with Akeal Hosein (54) and Derone Davis (26) seeing their side well past 200.
Sodhi showed his value with the ball also, collecting figures of two for 36 from his ten overs. Matthew Quinn was leading wicket taker with three for 54, while Duffy collected two for 42.
It’s exciting times for the Under-19 team who will be well aware that they are just two games away from their overall goal.
The win will see them face India on Thursday, who picked up a one wicket win over Pakistan in their quarter-final.
The victor of that match will then play either Australia or South Africa in the final of August 26th.