By Matthew Sherry
England Under-19s crushed hosts United Arab Emirates by 213 runs to get their World Cup campaign off to the perfect start.
Ed Barnard, who recently told ecb.co.uk England could not expect to post scores above 300 in these conditions, ensured they did just that with a superb 93.
A victory target of 316 proved far beyond the UAE, who were skittled for 102 as Will Rhodes claimed 3-14.
It was Jonathan Tattersall and, in particular, Harry Finch who got England off to flier after Rhodes’ men were asked to bat.
Finch struck five boundaries in a fluent 49, while Tattersall found the rope four times when striking 29 - their opening stand of 71 laying the platform.
It was upon those foundations that Ben Duckett and Barnard built so impressively.
Hitting 12 boundaries apiece, the duo put on a fine 151 and scored at better than a run-a-ball.
Duckett fell for 83, becoming the second of three scalps claimed by Pankaj Prakash, while Barnard also fell shy of what would have been a deserved century.
Any disappointment at that was quickly dispelled, though, as Joe Clarke’s cameo of 19 – featuring the innings’ only two sixes – left the UAE with an even bigger mountain to climb.
It proved insurmountable as Matthew Fisher’s two early strikes derailed their efforts from the off.
The Yorkshire bowler was backed up outstandingly by Rhodes, whose haul featured the wickets of Shivank Vijayakumar and Rohit Singh – the only UAE batsmen to reach double figures.
Josh Shaw also took two, with the young guns’ perfect day completed by the other bowlers, Jack Winslade and Rob Sayer, claiming one apiece.
"Scoring runs at the same venue as the second practice match gave me the confidence going into the match against the UAE, helping to settle my nerves," Barnard told ecb.co.uk afterwards.
"This was a better batting pitch, with more pace and bounce allowing the batsmen to hit through the ball. The partnership of over 150 with Ben Duckett was satisfying as they mainly bowled their spinners.”
Duckett added: "It was quite important to score a big total and the excellent start we had set a platform for Ed and me to take advantage.
"Their spinners bowled quite well and then allowed us to hit boundaries with their field placings.
"It was crucial to secure our first win and give us some momentum for the next two matches."
England face Sri Lanka on Sunday before rounding off their group campaign versus New Zealand next Wednesday.