Tom Straker's six wickets and Harry Dixon's half-century helped Australia seal a tense one-wicket win over brave Pakistan in the semi-final in Benoni, South Africa on Thursday, setting up their place in the ICC Under-19 World Cup final against defending champions India. had set. The summit clash will be played at the same venue on Sunday. Pakistan scored 179 runs with two half-centuries from Arafat Minhas (52) and Azan Awais (52) as they struggled against fast bowler Striker (6/24). Despite struggling against Pakistan's spirited bowlers, Australia scored 181 for 9 in 49.1 overs with the help of Dixon (50, 75b, 5×4) and Oliver Peak (49, 75b, 3×4) to book a place in the final. I was successful.
While India will be playing its ninth title match, the Australian team is playing its sixth final.
India have won a record five titles while Australia have won three and the last time the Yellow Brigade won the trophy was in 2010 with a win over Pakistan. That edition was held in New Zealand.
However, Australia's victory was anything but easy as the determined Pakistani bowlers forced them to concede every single run.
Australian openers Dixon and Sam Konstas (14) added 33 runs but were in trouble after losing four wickets while adding 26 runs in 6.2 overs.
Not many teams enjoy pressure situations better than the Australians and they have brought that quality to the fore here too.
Without the burden of asking rates behind their backs, the Australian middle-order concentrated on accumulating runs through the occasional bumps and shoves down the middle of the odd boundary.
Dixon, who scored his third half-century of the tournament, and Peake put on 43 runs for the fifth wicket in 10 overs as the Australians remained firmly in control.
But left-arm spinner Minhas broke the partnership by dismissing Dixon on a fast-spinning ball, causing the wickets to fly.
But Peake and Tom Campbell (25, 42b, 2×4) took the Australian team forward without taking any risks, adding 44 runs in 11 overs.
However, a moment of pure magic from Arafat ended the blossoming stand as the Pakistan spinner lofted an arm ball past Campbell's off-stump.
Pakistan soon struck an even bigger blow through impressive 15-year-old fast bowler Ali Raza, who had Peake caught behind down the leg side.
Raza, who bowled despite cramping during her last spell, soon added Straker and Mahali Beardman to the list of victims in her last over as Australia collapsed to 164 for nine.
They needed 16 more runs to win with one wicket in hand, but Rafe McMillan (19 not out) and Callum Vidler (3 not out) pulled their team over the line in the final over.
In contrast to their valiant effort with the ball, Pakistan had earlier made a weak effort with the bat after the Australians won the toss and elected to field.
They lost openers Shamil Hussain and Shazeb Khan inside the first power play segment as the Australian fast bowlers bowled tough lengths to keep their opponents on the backfoot.
Strucker, Beardman and Vidler bent their waists to hit hard on the pitch and got a good amount of bounce and carry to trouble Pakistan's batsmen as they managed only 27 runs in the first 10 overs.
Pakistan had only one 50-plus partnership in their innings, a 54-run partnership between Awais and Minhas for the sixth wicket.
Both Awais and Minhas avoided the aerial route and scored their runs through ground shots and well-judged singles and twos, but their combination also cost them almost 14 overs as Pakistan struggled for pace.
As soon as he started to open up, Striker came back to dismiss Owais. The right-arm pacer forced Awais onto the back foot with a few short-pitched balls before bowling one up.
Cricket's oldest two-card trick even tricked the 19-year-old when Owais thrashed a dolly to Ryan Hicks behind the stumps.
Minhas, who has played three T20 matches for the senior Pakistan team, soon completed his half-century in 58 balls. But his attempt to play a big shot against Offie Campbell resulted in a simple delivery to Oliver Peak in the outfield.
This gave the Australian bowlers an opportunity to target the lower-order Pakistani batsmen and Striker did the demolition job with perfection.
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