Image Courtesy: ICC
Brief Scores: New Zealand 436/4 (Bhula 180, Ravindra 117, Allen 90)
It’s hard to find words to describe this batting performance. The stats do some of the work. Jakob Bhula’s 180 was the highest individual score in ICC U19 CWC history, New Zealand’s 436 the second highest team total.
But even that doesn’t do justice to the audacity of the hitting, the range of strokes. There were sweeps, slog sweeps, reverse sweeps, scoops, reverse scoops, and some of the fiercest straight hitting you could ever see.
It’s amazing looking back that New Zealand’s innings started sedately. There were a number of leaves in the first 10 overs as Jakob Bhula and Rachin Ravindra laid the platform and capitalised on the bad ball. Ravindra was the more attacking, but Bhula was the first to reach his hundred having seen more of the strike.
Ravindra fell soon after reaching his own for 117, stumped of Sukhdeep Singh. But that just brought Finn Allen to the crease, batting like a man who’d scored an unbeaten ton in his previous game, like a man possessed even. His fifty came up, unbelievably, off 19 balls, and he seemed set for the fastest U19 CWC hundred before he holed out on 90 off 40 balls. He is some talent.
It’s a mark of Allen’s hitting prowess that Bhula’s innings, despite breaking all sorts of records, almost became an afterthought. But he was the perfect foil, and displayed enough striking ability of his own to smash five sixes.
Of course there are caveats. Kenya were poor, and much worse than they had been against South Africa. There were three drops, all by Aman Ghandi, each of the top three reprieved once. There were, in fact as many catches claimed in the crowd as by Kenya’s fielders, a snaffled Finn Allen six drawing perhaps the biggest cheer of the day. Kenya at least didn’t let their heads drop however, and rallied to claim three late wickets. But by then of course it was far, far too late.
In reply, Kenya could just manage 193/4 in their 50 overs as New Zealand won by 243 runs.