Aussies scrape through to final
Australian captain Mitchell Marsh engineered his side’s entry into
the ICC U-9 Cricket World Cup final - coming agonizingly close to a
personal milestone in doing so.
Marsh’s masterful innings of 97 led Australia to a two-wicket win
over Sri Lanka in a close-fought game that went down to the wire at Bert
Sutcliffe Oval yesterday.
Australia had been set 206 to win after a gritty fight-back from Sri
Lanka during its innings. Marsh came in when the score was three and
departed when it was all but won at 171 for six in the 38th over.
In between, he looked in total command at the crease, punishing
anything loose, and driving fluently on both sides of the wicket. His
team mates successfully negotiated the final stages of the chase,
despite a few scares when they lost two more wickets.
In the end, after a Tom Triffitt 50 from 69 balls, Australia
deservedly took the match in the 49th over. The day had started
sensationally for Australia with their opening bowlers rocking the Sri
Lanka top order.
Sri Lanka’s decision to bat after winning the toss looked precarious
in the 11th over, with their top five back in the pavilion for just 32
runs. Even Sri Lanka’s much wanted run scorers, Banuka Rajapasksa and
Rumesh Buddika, had no answer for the pace and line of Alister McDermott
and Josh Hazlewood, who eventually finished with an outstanding four for
But Sri Lanka came back with Kithuruwan Vithanage batting resolutely,
then with 200 runs looking a long way off, Akshu Fernando and captain
Chathura Peiris combined in a 51-run partnership for the eighth wicket.
Fernando recorded the side’s top score of 52 from 88 balls, helping Sri
Lanka through to 205 all out in the 49th over.
Australia and Pakistan will now meet in the tournament finale at Bert
Sutcliffe Oval on Saturday.