The New Zealand Under-19s have won the third and final One Day match against their Australian counterparts by one wicket at Bert Sutcliffe Oval in Lincoln today, claiming victory off the final ball of the match.
Opening batsman Rakitha Weerasundara made 92 off 108 deliveries to be the driving force behind the successful pursuit of Australia’s first innings total of 220 for eight. Late wickets though turned it into a nail-biting encounter, before New Zealand number 11 Dane Watson drove the ball down the ground to seal the dramatic win.
The Kiwis had seemed to be cruising for the majority of the chase, with a third wicket stand worth 90 between Weerasundara and Ken McClure (39) and fourth wicket stand worth 71 between Weerasundara and Leo Carter (42) taking New Zealand to 180 for three in the 40th over.
With just 41 required for victory wickets began to tumble though, with Weerasundara the first to depart just eight short of his century. Matters became worse in the 44th over when New Zealand lost four for as many runs, with Carter the first casualty when he was run-out thanks to a brilliant piece of fielding by Sean Willis.
Arana Noema-Barnett came to the host’s rescue however, playing sensibly to make an unbeaten 22 from 24 balls. Unfortunately he continued to lose partners and with scores level heading into the final ball he found himself off strike. Watson though was up to the task, striking the ball straight past the bowler to send his teammates into a frenzy.
Australia’s fielding was top-class, creating three run-outs over the course of the innings. Cameron Valente was the chief wicket-taker and finished with figures of four for 45 from ten overs.
Earlier, the visitor’s top-order once again provided a strong platform, with Kelvin Smith (52) and Jaron Morgan (36) putting on 71 for the first wicket. Number three Ben McDermott continued that good work with 42, before the New Zealand bowlers tightened the screws and began to limit Australia’s scoring opportunities.
That pressure became evident, with the middle-order failing to fire and Australia reduced to 166 for six after 38.2 overs. An unbeaten ninth wicket partnership worth 30 from Valente (39*) and Joel Logan (5*) took Australia past the 200 mark, but was still short of what was considered a par-score.
The pick of the New Zealand bowlers was Dane Watson, taking four for 31 from his ten overs and making it a particularly memorable day for the 18 year-old. Kyle Jamieson and Noema-Barnett also took two wickets apiece.
The Australian team head home tomorrow.