U-19 World Cup 2024: Australia edge past Pakistan in a thriller to enter final

Australia emerged victorious over Pakistan in a dramatic last-over finish in the ongoing Under-19 World Cup. The match was a rollercoaster of emotions, with both teams fighting tooth and nail for a spot in the final. The equation was an uncomplicated one as Australia needed four runs in the final over, while Pakistan were one wicket away from sealing their place in the summit clash against India.

However, it was an ICC rule that ultimately played a huge role in Pakistan’s heartbreaking defeat. The Men in Green skipper Saad Baig took his time to strategize in the penultimate over of the game, which came at a cost. By the end of the 49th over, Pakistan had exceeded their cut-off time for bowling, which forced them to field an extra player inside the circle.

Notably, introduced in early 2022, the ICC over-rate rule penalizes teams for slow play by requiring them to have one fewer fielder outside the inner circle for every over bowled beyond the stipulated time. It forced Pakistan to bring the fine leg inside the circle and interestingly, an inside edge from the same region sealed the fate of the game as Australia won the match by one wicket. Former cricketer Ian Bishop on commentary noted that the boundary could have been restricted to a single if Pakistan had adhered to the rules.

15-year-old Ali Raza kept Pakistan in the hunt

Meanwhile, Pakistan players were extremely disappointed following their loss as multiple cricketers were spotted getting emotional after the Under 19 World Cup’s second semifinal. They had multiple memorable moments in the tournament, as 15-year-old Ali Raza stunned the cricketing world with his emphatic performances. He picked up four wickets in the semi-final and was close to getting the job done but ultimately failed in doing so.

Australia’s win sets up a tantalizing final clash with five-time champions India. In senior-level cricket, the Kangaroos had the upper hand over India in the World Test Championship final in 2023 and then again in the ODI World Cup later that year. The U19 stars would be gunning to get going as the final is slated to take place on February 11.