England ease into last eight
England booked their place in the quarter-finals of the ICC Under-19 World Cup with a resounding 126-run victory over Nepal.
After Adam Ball had won the toss, England posted a formidable total of 274 for seven, thanks chiefly to Ben Foakes’ 84-ball 92 from number three and a rapid 55 from Ben Duckett.
New-ball pair Reece Topley and Shozair Ali then ripped through Nepal’s top order and finished with respective figures of 3-10 and 4-37 as Prithu Baskota’s men were dismissed for 148 in 46 overs.
England made a steady start with the bat, openers Daniel Bell-Drummond and Alex Davies sharing 60 before the former was caught at backward point off left-arm spinner Rahul Vishvakarma, having been dropped by the wicketkeeper two balls earlier.
Vishvakarma soon accounted for Davies, who pulled a long hop straight to midwicket, and England were 118 for three in the 33rd over when Craig Overton was bowled by Pradeep Airee.
The acceptance of the batting powerplay brought a shift in momentum, however, and Foakes passed 50 with the second of three consecutive boundaries in an over from Vishvakarma yielding 21.
Aneesh Kapil was run out by Baskota’s direct hit from extra-cover, but Foakes, exhibiting increasing aggression, continued to locate the boundary with regularity and found a willing ally in Duckett.
After Foakes had become Vishvakarma’s third victim, it was Duckett who ensured the run-rate continued to rise with a combination of orthodox drives and expertly executed reverse sweeps.
Both he and Sam Wood, who struck two sixes in his 20, holed out to long-off in the final over, but, by that point, Nepal were facing a mountain to climb, one which was soon to reach Everest-like proportions as wickets tumbled in their reply.
Numbers two, three and four in the Nepal order fell for ducks inside the first four overs and Rajesh Pulami Magar was lbw to Topley for one off the first ball of the fifth, with the batsmen seemingly unable to cope with the swinging ball.
Shozair had Airee caught at square-leg to make it 25 for five and the resistance of opener Subash Khakurel and Hasim Ansari, who contributed 55 and 36 respectively, only served to delay the inevitable.
Overton eventually ended Khakurel’s resistance and there were wickets for Brett Hutton and Kapil before Topley and Shozair returned to finish things off.
England will now face South Africa on Sunday at the Tony Ireland Stadium in Townsville, the venue for this win.