In a thrilling encounter, Australia managed to defeat Pakistan by just one wicket, securing their place in the final of the 2024 U19 Cricket World Cup, where they will face off against India on February 11.
The match witnessed an exciting chase, with Pakistan putting up a strong fight led by Ali Raza and Arafat Minhas. Despite their efforts, Australia narrowly emerged victorious, setting the stage for an epic showdown with India in the final.
The second semifinal saw Australia opting to chase, following India’s lead. Led by captain Hugh Weibgen, the decision was backed by the team’s bowlers.
Pakistan started steadily, with Shahzaib Khan and Shamyl Hussain building a partnership. However, Tom Straker’s introduction into the bowling attack proved crucial as he broke the partnership by dismissing Hussain. Khan followed soon after, falling to a catch by Weibgen off Callum Vidler’s bowling.
Pakistan faced further setbacks in the second Powerplay, with Straker claiming his second wicket and Raf MacMillan dismissing Ahmad Hassan. Despite a valiant effort from Azan Awais and Haroon Arshad to stabilize the innings, Australia regained control after Mahli Beardman dismissed Arshad.
Awais and Minhas tried to accelerate the scoring rate, but Straker’s double strike, including the key wicket of Awais, shifted the momentum in Australia’s favor. Minhas’s dismissal marked the end of Pakistan’s innings as they were bowled out for 179, with Straker finishing with impressive figures of 6/24.
Australia’s chase got off to a steady start with Harry Dixon and Sam Konstas adding 33 runs in the first Powerplay. However, Pakistan fought back, with Ali Raza dismissing Konstas and creating pressure on the Australian batting lineup.
Despite losing wickets at regular intervals, Dixon and Ollie Peake steadied the innings with positive strokeplay. Dixon reached his half-century before falling to Minhas, but Peake continued to anchor the innings alongside Tom Campbell.
Campbell and Peake built a crucial partnership, bringing Australia closer to the target.
However, Minhas struck again, dismissing Campbell to keep Pakistan’s hopes alive. Raza’s double-wicket over further tightened the game, but MacMillan’s composed innings guided Australia to victory in the final over.