Under 19 World Cup Quarter Final - Australia 127 beat England 96 by 31 runs
Middlesex's four young Lions, Ethan Bamber, Jack Davies, Luke Hollman and Savin Perera saw their World Cup dream come crashing down this morning as Australia engineered a thrilling comeback to bowl England out for 96 and book their place in the last four of the ICC Under-19 World Cup, securing England’s exit from the competition.
All four young Middlesex stars will return to the UK better for the experience and should be hugely proud of everything they've contributed towards England's run to the quarter final stages.
Chasing 128 to win England got off to a good start with the bat, putting on 47 for the first wicket, but the introduction of leg-spinner Lloyd Pope set wickets tumbling and they could never quite recover.
Pope recorded figures of 8/35 – the best ever in an Under-19 World Cup – to end England’s journey.
Dillon Pennington, Middlesex's Ethan Bamber and Will Jacks had earlier taken three wickets apiece as Australia were dismissed for 127.
After such an impressive showing in the field England would have been confident of victory at the half-way stage but Australia fought back to take 10 wickets for 49 runs and book their semi-final berth.
The day started well for Australian as captain Jason Sangha called correctly at the toss and sent Harry Brook’s side into the field, the fourth time in a row the toss has gone against England.
That didn’t hold England back for too long, though. Worcestershire’s Dillon Pennington – knees pumping – steamed in to get Jack Edwards LBW in the first over of the game.
Second to go was Max Bryant, who nicked Pennington to keeper Jack Davies, and then Bamber nipped one through the defences of Jonathan Merlo.
The fourth wicket owed much to the fielding brilliance of Somerset’s Fin Trenouth. Stationed at second slip he moved fast to his right to hold one-handed after Param Uppal had edged Pennington.
It was the Worcestershire seamer’s third wicket of the day and fine reward for his aggression.
Australia began to rebuild with Sangha steadfast in defence but he was struggling to find company. Bamber returned to take his tally to three wickets, nicking off Nathan McSweeney and trapping Aussie vice-skipper Will Sutherland leg-before.
The last four wickets fell to spin. All-rounder Jacks was the first to get in on the act, taking the first of his three wickets as Holt played around a straight one to see himself LBW.
A similar fate befell Jack Evans and then Jacks removed Sangha, caught-and-bowled. Jacks’ Surrey teammate and fellow off-spinner Euan Woods took the final wicket, Ryan Hadley chipping straight to Brook at cover.
The convincing nature of England’s bowling effort meant they had to bat before the scheduled interval and they started brightly.
Tom Banton – who has looked in good touch without converting this tournament – was in particularly aggressive form and he convincingly dispatched some short-pitched bowling to get the scoreboard moving.
He’d raced into the 40s with Australia yet to take a wicket but it was at that point that Pope entered the fray and changed the game.
Warwickshire’s Liam Banks was the first go – stumped – before England’s twin pillars of Harry Brook and Will Jacks both departed early. Brook was done first ball by a nicely disguised wrong’un while Jacks was brilliantly caught at slip by Sangha for 1.
That meant three wickets had fallen for four runs and 47/0 had become 51/3. Banton carried on his aggression to reach a fine 50 but he was the fourth wicket to fall, caught at slip with 57 runs still required.
Trenouth followed his Somerset teammate back to the pavilion after falling in the same manner and the wickets kept on falling after the lunch interval - Woods, Scriven and Hollman came and went and at 84/8 England still required 44 runs to win.
Ethan Bamber joined Jack Davies at the crease but he too fell to Pope, before the Aussie leg-spinner took England’s last and his eighth wicket of the day when he bowled Pennington.
Australia will progress to face either New Zealand or Afghanistan in the semi-finals, while England will now face two play-off games against the other defeated quarter-finalists with fifth place their new aim.