Simmons, Melius hit 50s but U-19s lose opener
Openers Keagan Simmons and Kimani Melius carved out contrasting half-centuries but reigning champions West Indies Under-19s suffered a disappointing start to their title defence when they went down to hosts New Zealand Under-19s by eight wickets yesterday.
Sent in at Bay Oval in the opening Group A clash, the Caribbean side raced to 123 without loss but a cluster of wickets in the middle overs hurt their momentum, restricting them to 233 for eight off their 50 overs.
Simmons carried his bat for a top score of 92 not out while debutant Melius unfurled a stroke-filled 78 off 85 deliveries.
Left-arm spinner Rachin Ravindra (3-30) and fast bowler Matthew Fisher (3-61) picked up three wickets apiece while left-arm spinner Felix Murray supported with two for 37.
In reply, the hosts hardly put a foot wrong as they stormed to their target in the 40th over, with the exciting Finn Allen smashing an unbeaten 115 and Jakon Bhula, 83.
New Zealand took charge from the outset with Bhula and Ravindra (16) putting on 46 from 60 deliveries for the first wicket before Allen arrived to put the result beyond doubt.
The right-hander plundered 15 fours and two sixes in a 100-ball knock, dominating a 163-run, second wicket stand with Bhula who faced 105 balls and counted nine boundaries.