Chittagong: The West Indies took the last quarter-final spot in the ICC U19 World Cup with a thrilling, but controversial, two-run win over Zimbabwe in Chittagong on Tuesday.
Zimbabwe, chasing the West Indies' 226 for nine, began the last over needing just three runs to win with one wicket in hand amid mounting tension.
But, the West Indies seamer Keemo Paul whipped off the bails before sending down the first ball, catching non-striker Richard Ngarava out of his crease. The decision was referred to the TV umpire who declared Ngarava run-out. According to the laws of the game, the bowler can claim a run out by whipping off the bails if the non-striker is out of the crease.
The last-wicket incident proved an anti-climax to what had been an absorbing do-or-die contest between two valiant teams attempting to nail a quarter-final berth.
Zimbabwe, in its run-chase, was reduced to 147 for six following a four-wicket haul by fast bowler Alzaari Joseph, before Adam Keefe (43) and Wesley Madhevere (21) led a remarkable fightback by adding 62 runs for the seventh wicket.
Shamar Springer, who had top-scored with 61 in the West Indies innings, turned his team’s hero with the ball by dismissing both batsmen to finish with two for 16 in four overs.
The West Indies will take on the winner of Wednesday’s last league match between Pakistan and Sri Lanka in the fourth quarter-final in Fatullah on February 8, while Zimbabwe will play Canada in the Plate Championships quarter-final in Cox’s Bazar on February 5.
West Indies coach Graeme West admitted it was a tight match: "It got very tight and we knew that this was a game that was always going down to the wire. A bit of nip and tuck. It (the finish) was certainly not something we had envisaged.
"I can imagine what they (Zimbabwe team) must be going through now. I feel sorry for them because they got themselves into winning positions and then we pulled it back. I share their disappointment.
"Our objective was to progress to the quarters and doing that after a tense game was very pleasing. We are still not there and have to take care of the little things that we are not doing right at the moment."
Zimbabwe coach Stephen Mangongo was expectedly disappointed.
"I am disappointed with the way the game ended. I have debriefed the boys in the dressing room and they were all crying. We have explained that technically the run-out is legal. We left it to the last man and we should not have done that. It was a hard lesson and they have learnt it the hard way."
Meanwhile, Bangladesh topped Group A with an eight-wicket demolition of second-placed Namibia, ending the match in Cox’s Bazar in one session itself.
Namibia was dismissed for 65 in 32.5 overs after being sent into bat by Bangladesh with Saleh Ahmed, skipper Mehidy Hasan and Ariful Islam claiming two wickets each.
Bangladesh lost Pinak Ghosh in the first over, but an unbeaten 34 from Joyraz Sheik steered the host to an easy victory in the 16th over.
Bangladesh ended the league with three successive wins and will now play surprise qualifier Nepal in the first quarter-final in Mirpur on 5 February, while another qualifier Namibia, which knocked out defending champion South Africa, will take on India on Saturday in Fatullah for a place in the semi-finals.
South Africa, the defending champions who are already out of the tournament, finished third in the group after a 10-wicket rout of Scotland in Cox’s Bazar, the first win in the tournament for skipper Tony de Zorzi’s men.
Electing to field, South Africa bowled out Scotland for 127 with Dayyaan Galiem, Wiaan Mulder, Sean Whitehead and de Zorzi taking two wickets each.
The South Africans raced to victory in 29 overs without losing a wicket as openers Kyle Verreynne and Liam Smith returned unbeaten with identical scores of 64 not out and in the same number of deliveries (87).
In the Plate Championship quarter-finals, South Africa will play Ireland on Thursday and on the same day, Scotland will meet New Zealand.
Brief scores: Group A: Bangladesh beat Namibia by eight wickets in Cox’s Bazar
Namibia 65 all out, 32.5 overs (Niko Davin 19; Ariful Islam 2-9, Saleh Ahmed 2-10, Mehidy Hasan 2-12). Bangladesh 66-2, 16 overs (Joyraz Sheik 34 not out, Fritz Coetzee 2-20).
Group A: South Africa beat Scotland by 10 wickets in Cox's Bazar
Scotland 127 all out, 45.4 overs (Harris McCreath 29 not out; Dayyaan Galiem 2-16, Wiaan Mulder 2-16, Sean Whitehead 2-16, Tony de Zorzi 2-20). South Africa 129-0, 29 overs (Kyle Verreynne 64 not out, Liam Smith 64 not out).
Group C: West Indies beat Zimbabwe by two runs in Chittagong West Indies 226-9, 50 overs (Shamar Springer 61, Rugare Magarira 3-28, Wesley Madhevere 2-48) Zimbabwe 224 all out, 49 overs (Shaun Snyder 52, Adam Keefe 43, Jeremy Ives 37, Wesley Madhevere 21; Alzaari Joseph 4-30).