DUBAI, UAE -- Nicholas Pooran blazed a brilliant hundred, but it failed to inspire the West Indies Under-19s and Australia reached their third successive ICC Youth World Cup semi-final with a comfortable, five-wicket victory on Sunday.
Pooran clobbered 14 fours and six sixes in a scintillating 143 from 160 balls before he was the last batsman dismissed, as the Young Windies were dismissed for 208 in 49.5 overs, after they chose to bat in the quarter-final at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
The 18-year-old Pooran came to the crease in the fourth over with the Caribbean side reeling at seven for three and things never improved significantly until he dominated a ninth-wicket stand of 136 with Jerome Jones.
They brought some respectability to the total after the West Indies Under-19s sunk to 70 for eight in the 27th over with Jones finishing with an even 20 – the only other player to have scored that many.
“At 70 for eight, I wasn’t thinking much,” said Pooran, who was named Man-of-the-Match. “I just wanted to do what my coaches had said, which is to bat, bat and bat, and occupy the crease as much as possible.
“I was kind of surprised with the kind of support I got from Jones because he’s a guy who likes to play his shots.
“Definitely this is one of the best innings I have played to date, but I am disappointed that we did not win. When you make runs, you want to see your side to win rather than lose.”
Defending such a modest total was always going to be a challenge for the Young Windies and the Australians reached their target with 20 balls remaining for the loss of five wickets, after Matthew Short and Jaron Morgan shared an opening stand of 107 to put them on the right trajectory.
West Indies will now face Afghanistan in the fifth-place play-off semi-final on Tuesday at the ICC Cricket Academy No.2 ground, while the Australians advance to the semi-finals to meet South Africa Under-19s on Wednesday here.
Pooran was 38 when Bryan Charles gave a return catch to leg-spinner Thomas Andrew and he changed gears from this point, playing one of the finest knocks in the history of the tournament.
The left-hander’s 50 came from 76 balls, while he reached his hundred from 133 balls with eight fours and five sixes. Out of his final 43 runs that came off 27 balls, 30 were scored through boundaries.
Pooran’s innings was finally ended when he was bowled by fast bowler Guy Walker, the pick of Australia’s bowlers with 3-44 from 9.5 overs, Ben Ashkenazi grabbed 2-37 from 10 overs and Andrews 2-57 from eight overs.
The Windies Under-19s had to wait until the final delivery of the 21st over to claim their first wicket when Australia batted.
Charles had Morgan caught by a diving Jeremy Solozano at long-off for 55 before Ray Jordan held a return catch to dismiss Short for 52, but Jake Doran finished on 49 not out and was the glue that held the rest of the Aussie batting together to deny their opponents.
Jordan ended with 2-34 from 8.4 overs and Charles took 2-41 from his allotment of 10 overs.
WEST INDIES: 208 off 49.5 overs (Nicolas Pooran 143, Jerome Jones 20; Guy Walker 3-44, Ben Ashkenazi 2-37, Thomas Andrews 2-57)
AUSTRALIA: 209 for five off 46.4 overs (Jaron Morgan 55, Matthew Short 52, Jake Doran 49 not out, Ben McDermott 29; Ray Jordan 2-29, Bryan Charles 2-41)