BASSETERRE, St Kitts: Hosts West Indies crashed out of the ICC Under-19 World Cup after suffering a disappointing three-wicket defeat to unbeaten Sri Lanka in their final Group D game.
Starting the morning at Conaree Sports Club needing a significant victory to qualify for the Super League quarter-finals, Rising Stars failed to muster the effort required, and the defeat left them third in the group behind winners Sri Lanka on six points and second-placed Australia on four points.
Sent in, West Indies Under-19s gathered a competitive 250 for nine off their 50 overs, debutant Kevin Wickham top-scoring with 56 from 91 deliveries, Jordan Johnson striking 47 from 56 balls, and Teddy Bishop and wicketkeeper Rivaldo Clarke both stroking 45 apiece.
In reply, opener Sadisha Rajapaksa underpinned the run chase with an excellent 76 off 115 deliveries as Sri Lanka Under-19s overhauled their target with ten balls to spare.
Anjala Bandara carved out 40 from 52 balls, while Shevon Daniel struck a busy 34 from 33 deliveries. Still, Ranuda Somarathne, who belted an unbeaten 28 from 27 deliveries, sealed the win for the Asian side.
“I think the fielding let us down today,” said stand-in captain Giovonte Depeiza, deputizing for Ackeem Auguste for the second straight game.
“We didn’t save enough runs in the field or take the catches. I think the yields were significant at crucial stages. We dropped [Rajapaksa], who scored the runs.
“We batted well. We put a good score on the board with the wicket. I think just 20 more runs on that wicket would’ve been a better game, but we fought hard.”
Not for the first time, the Rising Stars lost both openers Matthew Nandu (7) and Shaqkere Parris (16) cheaply to be 34 for two in the ninth over before Wickham inspired two successive half-century stands to rebuild the innings.
A right-hander called up from the reserves as one of two temporary replacements for Onaje Amory and Jaden Carmichael, who tested positive for COVID-19; Wickham put on 68 for the third wicket with Bishop before adding a further 58 for the fourth wicket with Johnson.
Bishop hammered seven fours before falling in the 27th over, while Wickham counted five fours and a six before he was fourth out in the 38th.
Johnson, who punched four fours and six, rallied the innings in a 34-run, fifth-wicket partnership with Rivaldo Clarke, who then blasted two fours and four sixes in a 35-ball cameo as he put on 46 for the eighth wicket with McKenny Clarke (21 not out) after three wickets tumbled for eight runs in the space of nine balls.
Left-arm spinner Dunith Wellalage proved outstanding, picking up three for 39 from his ten overs.
In reply, left-arm seamer Nathan Edwards removed Chamindu Wickramasinghe for four to the fifth innings with four runs on the board. Still, Rajapaksa stitched together several partnerships to keep Sri Lanka’s run chase intact.
The right-hander counted only five fours but added 52 for the second wicket with Daniel, 40 for the third with Liyanage (9), 78 for the fourth with Bandara, and 25 for the fifth with captain Dunith Wellalage (15).
By the time Rajapaksa perished in the 40th over, lbw to seamer Isai Thorne (2-41), Sri Lanka had required a further 52 from 62 balls, and Somarathne staged a 33-run, seventh-wicket stand with Raveen De Silva (13) to deny West Indies any late comeback.
West Indies will now enter the Plate phase of the tournament, where they face the fourth-place finishers in Group C in Trinidad and Tobago on Wednesday.