Aus vs Pak U-19 World Cup – Tom Straker breaks Kagiso Rabada’s record

Medium pacer Tom Straker hadn’t played Australia’s three games leading up to the semi-final against Pakistan. But he produced a match-winning spell of 6 for 24 to blow Pakistan away in Benoni, as Australia won a close contest to set up a final with India in the Under-19 World Cup.
Coming in for Charlie Anderson, Australia’s frontline seamer, Straker ran through the top order in his first spell and then returned to clean up the tail and flatten Pakistan for 179. Straker’s figures are also the best for a bowler in a semi-final or final of the Under-19 World Cup as he surpassed Kagiso Rabada’s feat of 6 for 25 in the 2014 semi-final.
“Charlie Anderson is obviously a quality fast bowler and really tough to leave,” Hugh Weibgen, Australia captain, said. “On the other side, Tom Straker bowled unbelievably today and yeah, I thought he was brilliant.”

Having started strongly, Australia looked on track to chase the total down in no time. But Pakistan bowlers had other plans. Ali Raza removed Sam Konstas to trigger a mini slide, as Australia lost four wickets for 26 runs. Australia looked in control soon after thanks to a brief partnership between Harry Dixon and Oliver Peake. But Arafat Minhas caused another collapse, removing Dixon and then Campbell. The chase then got tense with Raza dismissing the next three batters quickly, with Australia, at that point needing 16 runs from 24 balls with just one wicket left.

Unlike their thrilling win against Bangladesh earlier in the tournament, Pakistan weren’t able to get across the line this time as cool-headed Raf MacMillan and Callum Vidler sealed Australia’s win with five balls to spare.

“We fought so hard,” Weibgen said. “I thought every time we thought we were nearly there on top, we lost a wicket, but we just kept fighting. Those partnerships, a few contributions through the middle there. Seventeen-year-old Oli Peake – unbelievable – showed such maturity for such a young bloke. Everyone contributed really well.”

“[I was] ever in doubt. Had full faith in Vids (Vidler) and Raf to get the job done. A lot of emotions, to be honest. I was quite nervous. I still don’t know really what happened, but it was awesome.”

Pakistan captain Saad Baig acknowledged his bowlers’ efforts in the tournament and called the loss a “part of the game”. Ubaid Shah, the Pakistan medium pacer, is second on the list of highest wicket-takers in the tournament this year, with 18 wickets in six games.

“I think we were short of 10-20 runs, but we put our 100% effort,” Baig said. “We played well, we fought well but Australia played very well. Our boys throughout the tournament were brilliant (and) our bowling was quite well in the tournament.”

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