Skip to main content

England in surprise defeat by West Indies at U19 World Cup

Saturday 23rd January 2010

By Charles Randall at Rangiora

ENGLAND’S hopes of making an impact on the Under-19 World Cup in New Zealand crumbled against a 6ft 7in fast bowler from Barbados today, and Mark Robinson’s charges lost this eagerly awaited quarter-final at Rangiora by 18 runs.

The Gloucestershire left-arm seamer David Payne took four wickets, but Jason Holder seized the limelight in the evening with 5-18 as West Indies triumphed against the odds in a contest shortened by morning rain to 36 overs.

The match unfolded on a soggy, gloomy, chilly afternoon at the tree-ringed Mainpower Oval — there is no way West Indians could train for this in the Caribbean — and as England won an important toss, they seemed to hold all the cards. Yet they failed, like so many of their predecessors attempting to emulate Owais Shah’s 1998 champions.

Even when the West Indies lost their last eight wickets with flailing bats in seven overs for 29 runs to post a below-par total of 166, England could not mount a challenge. Soft dismissals crippled their run-chase from the start, and Holder’s class ensured there would be no recovery. For coach Mark Robinson and his players, the upset was hard to take after breaking the losing run against India so handsomely two days earlier in Christchurch.

West Indies go on to a semi-final against Pakistan at Lincoln University, where Pakistan pipped India by two wickets in a 23-overs thriller today. So England and India meet again in a relatively meaningless consolation match at Hagley Park on Monday.

After England’s disconsolate team had completed the customary handshakes with the winners, Robinson talked about the defeat, his voice strained with emotion. "They’re gutted in there, they’re on the floor," he said. "All I can say is that I’m absolutely proud how this lot have gone about their business and how hard they’ve worked. And how much they’ve committed. Sometimes you come second. Sometimes you just have to hold your hand up."

Robinson praised the The West Indies for building a batting base with two "proper innings" — after surviving scares against the new-ball attack of Payne and Leicestershire’s Nathan Buck — and he admired Holder for his five wickets in two spells, referring to him as "big bird", the nickname that another tall fast-medium man, Joel Garner, attracted in his Test heyday.

No relation to any of the Holder cricketing dynasty, Jason had two early wickets gifted to him when Joe Root’s rash pull at Holder’s second ball became a dolly catch to mid-on. Matters became worse for England as Gloucestershire’s Chris Dent thin-edged a waft outside his off-stump.

With two wickets down and Holder rested, James Vince looked a good batsman while striking five fours in his 20 off 16 balls — until he carelessly clipped a catch to square leg. Somerset’s Jos Buttler, chosen as wicketkeeper to bolster the batting, made no impression before he snicked a diving catch to his opposite number. One wondered whether a boy on antibiotics after serious toothache should really have played.

Ben Stokes, after 100 against India, restored some hope before hitting across John Campbell’s off-spin. Warwickshire’s Ateeq Javid dug in to stop the rot and put certain colleagues to shame with his focus and composure — but, on 20, his concentration cracked when he snicked an attempted cut at the first ball bowled by medium pacer Jermaine Blackwood just as England were recovering. In fact, Root, Vince and Javid each perished straight after a bowling change.

The required rate did not rise beyond a run a ball until near the end, but the fall of wickets caused desperation. Kent’s Adam Ball (pictured) and his captain Azeem Rafiq mowed across the line at Holder, who then clean-bowled Payne through his defence to end the match with 11 balls remaining.

Robinson said: "We never got a start, never got a partnership and we all know that partnerships win games and losing wickets loses games. We were always a little behind the ’eight ball’. But we fought to the end."

The end was especially harsh on Payne. With the ball his opening five-over spell had cost only 12 for the wickets of Trevon Griffith, miscuing a pull, and Campbell, clean bowled through the ’gate’. He finished by having two tail-enders caught off skied slogs in consecutive balls, but Buck removed the last man before his partner could try for a hat-trick. Payne’s final analysis read 6-1-19-4, an excellent effort in the circumstances.

Kraigg Brathwaite, top-scoring with 69, and his captain Andre Creary, hitting 52 sweet runs in 53 balls, built a crucial base for the West Indies. These were two classy batsmen, who shook up Stokes, Ball and Rafeeq with their strokeplay, though Brathwaite was fortunate to survive a run-out on 13, when he slipped as Campbell’s drive at Buck hit the bowler’s stumps. There was no referral system available, but a camcorder shot suggested Brathwaite failed to make his ground when the wicket was re-broken. But perhaps England did not deserve luck this time.

Ireland won their first match in the Plate competition at Napier, with the Middlesex batsman Paul Stirling smashing 65 off 50 balls to win a 27-over contest against Zimbabwe by seven wickets. Carl Young helped shoot out the Zimbabweans for 102 with four wickets and the Warwickshire seamer Shane Getkate took two.

ENGLAND UNDER-19 (v West Indies)
Joe Root (Yorks), Chris Dent (Gloucs), James Vince (Hants), Jos Buttler (Somerset, wkt), Ateeq Javid (Warwicks), Ben Stokes (Durham), Azeem Rafiq (Yorks, capt), Danny Briggs (Hants), Adam Ball (Kent), David Payne (Gloucs), Nathan Buck (Leics).

Omitted: Jack Manuel (Worcs), Matthew Dunn (Surrey), Paul Best (Warwicks), Michael Bates (Hants, wkt).

Coach: Mark Robinson (Sussex).

Picture: Getty Images