JOHANNESBURG, Group A rivals India and Sri Lanka claimed contrasting wins on the opening day of warm-up action ahead of theUnder-19 Cricket World Cup 2020 in South Africa.

Kartik Tyagi took a hattrick in the opening over to see reigning champions India past Afghanistan by 211 runs, while Sri Lanka’s mettle was tested in a tight 15-run win over South Africa.

Nigeria, making their first appearance in an ICC tournament, were beaten by Pakistan while England’s clash with Zimbabwe was abandoned.

Yashasvi Jaiswal and Karthik Tyagi starred with bat and ball as India opened their campaign to defend the Under-19 Cricket World Cup title with a thumping win over Afghanistan in Pretoria.

Having won the toss and elected to bat first, India put on 255/8 off their allotted 50 overs, aided by a 129-run second wicket partnership between Jaiswal (69) and Tilak Varma (55). Both batsmen retired out soon after to give batting practice for their team-mates, with cameo performances from captain Priyam Garg (36) and Shubhan Krishnan Sridhar (25*).

The Afghanistan bowling duo of Abid Mohammadi (three for 19) and Fazal Haq (2/48) played their part in slowing down the onslaught and kept the required run rate to below six runs an over.

However fast bowler Tyagi (three for 10) tore in to the Afghanistan top order with a hattrick in the first over that dismissed captain Farhan Zakhil, Sediq Atal and Rahmanullah without a score on the board.

Sridhar, Utkarsh Singh and Sushant Mishra went on to pick up two wickets apiece as Afghanistan were reeling at 43/9 after 17.3 overs before a rain delay, and with wicketkeeper Mohammad Ishaq the only player to register double figures. Ishaq was run out two balls after the break as India went on to record a resounding result.

Afghanistan will begin their tournament against hosts South Africa in Group D in Kimberley on Friday. The four-time champions, meanwhile, open their campaign against Sri Lanka in Potchefstroom on Saturday.

Sri Lanka clinched a thrilling 15-run victory over South Africa in the teams’ opening warm-up assignments in Soweto.

After winning the toss and batting first, Sri Lanka’s Navod Paranavithana played an anchoring role as regular wickets fell around him. The opener smashed an impressive 12 fours and a six during his 64-ball 68, getting his side past the 100-run mark before falling in the 24th over.

Despite a below-par return from most of the Sri Lankan batsmen, there were crucial contributions from the lower order with Mohamed Shamaaz (32) adding valuable runs to the total as they posted 197 all out with eight balls to spare.

In reply, South Africa’s openers set the ideal foundation, as Andrew Louw (15) and Jonathan Bird combined for a 48-run partnership for the first wicket. Although the Sri Lankan bowlers managed to take wickets at regular intervals, Bird continued his dominance, scoring eight fours and one six for his 71 off 76 balls.

This was before a spell of 11 overs where South Africa lost five wickets for 39 runs and despite a valiant 46 from all-rounder Jack Lees, the junior Proteas were bowled out for 182. Amshi De Silva’s 2/30 led the charge for Sri Lanka, with six bowlers taking one wicket.

Pakistan eased to a nine-wicket victory over Nigeria in their warm-up meeting at Hammanskraal. Chasing a modest 110 to win, the 2004 and 2006 champions reached their target in 14.3 overs aided by a destructive 87 off 38 balls from opener Haider Ali.

Ali’s innings contained eight boundaries and four sixes before retiring out. Mohammad Haris (18*) and Fahad Munir (14*) saw their team home to complete a convincing performance.

Despite winning the toss and electing to bat first, Nigeria struggled as they were hustled out for 109 with nearly 14 overs left remaining from their innings. Sulaimon Runsewe (29) and Simon Mba (20) top scored for the West Africans, with no other batsman managing double figures in a fixture played under murky skies.

The Pakistani bowling, led by Aamir Ali (3/12), was equally destructive with Abbas Afridi and Qasim Akram also claiming two wickets apiece. Pakistan, coached by former Test batting stalwart Ijaz Ahmed, will be in Group C where they will start the tournament against Scotland on Sunday.

This is a first tournament appearance for the Nigerians, who begin their Group B campaign against Australia in Kimberley next Monday.

England and Zimbabwe saw their warm-up match rained off on Sunday as persistent showers hit the JC de Villiers Oval in Pretoria.

Zimbabwe had won the toss and elected to bat first but were in trouble after an excellent opening burst by George Balderson. He took 3/16 on four overs, including a wicket with the sixth ball of the match.

There were also three wickets for Scott Currie, who ended with figures of three for 30. His haul included the scalp of the dangerous Wesley Madhevere. The only resistance for Zimbabwe came from Tadiwanashe Marumani, who compiled 53 off 75 balls, including one six and five fours. Zimbabwe were eventually bowled out for just 116, in 31.5 overs.

Source: African News Agency