Also joining in the Super League quarterfinals were former champions Pakistan who defeated Sri Lanka by three wickets in a Group D match. Pakistan will now wait for the outcome of the Afghanistan versus Ireland match on Saturday in Whangarei to find out if they will top the group or finish runners-up.
Roy, who had finished with five wickets in the previous match against PNG, bowled an immaculate line and length as India dismissed the opposition for only 154 and got to the target in quick time with openers Shubman Gill and Aveet Desai returning unbeaten on 90 and 56, respectively. The three-time champions finished with three wins, including a 100-run victory over Australia earlier in the league, which proved decisive in the final standings.
For Australia, who finished behind India in the group stage, Ralston ripped through the PNG batting, his seven for 15 the best-ever to date in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup and second best at the U19 level. His effort came at the back of another remarkable effort, when opener Nathan McSweeney clobbered a punishing 156 to help post a huge 370 for eight.
Australia v PNG
Australia took a firm grip immediately after being asked to bat first and scored a huge 370 for eight.
McSweeney smashed 18 fours and four sixes off 111 balls for his 156, the joint-sixth highest individual score in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup.
He dominated a 250-run stand for the second wicket with captain Jason Sangha (88, 102b, 5x4, 2x6) against the hapless East Asia Pacific qualifiers and then Param Uppal produced a brisk 42-ball 61 to inflate the total further.
For PNG, James Tau, Leke Morea, Sema Kamea and Daure Aiga grabbed two wickets each, but could not stem the flow of runs and their batting too struggled as they were bowled out for 59 in 24.5 overs.
Ralston became only the third bowler in the history of the tournament to finish with seven scalps. The previous record stood in the name of Sri Lanka leg-spinner Jeevan Mendis, who grabbed seven for 19 against Zimbabwe in 2002 while New Zealand pace bowler Trent Boult’s seven for 20 against Malaysia in 2008 is the only other instance of a bowler taking seven wickets.
Australia opener Nathan McSweeney, who was later declared player of the match, said: “There was a little bit of scare in the tournament when we did not play to our best against India in the first game and lost quite convincingly but it has been very good for us in the next couple of games and the boys have regained confidence. Hopefully we can carry this form into the big games.”
India v Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe lost wickets regularly and were never on the way to a challenging total. Left-hander Milton Shumba top-scored with 36 while captain Liam Roche (31) and Wesley Madhevere (30) were the other main contributors in a total of 154 in 48.1 overs.
Left-arm spinner Anukul Roy followed his five-wicket haul against PNG with figure of four for 20 while left-arm medium-fast bowler Arshdeep Singh and left-arm spinner Abhishek Sharma finished with two wickets each, conceding 10 and 22 runs, respectively.
In reply, Shubman Gill put on 155 runs for the unbroken first wicket as India romped to victory in 21.4 overs. Gill clubbed 14 fours and a six in a 59-ball 90 and Desai’s 56 came off 73 balls with eight fours and a six.
India captain Prithvi Shaw: “It’s a really good start for us in this tournament. We always talk about we should learn to win the games, every game is important for us, even if we are playing a weaker game, we have to play to our standards.
“In every game we have shown intensity and attitude. We carry the same intensity, that’s why we are winning. As for our team, we have not decided on a first eleven as of now but we have enough options.”
Pakistan v Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka were shaken early on as left-arm fast bowler Shaheen Afridi and Arshad Iqbal shared three scalps and then a run-out saw the score reduced to 55 for four. Jehan Daniel struck a defiant 53 and Ashen Bandara scored 37 but the team was bowled out for 188 in 48.2 overs as fast bowler Suleman Shafqat came on to grab three for 29.
Pakistan made up for some early damages inflicted by left-arm fast bowler Thisara Rashmika (three for 47) to get to their target with 6.3 overs to spare. Number-four batsman Ali Zaryab Asif knocked up a fine 59 to provide spine to the batting as other batsmen failed to build on good starts. Mohammad Zaid Alam (28), Muhammad Taha (24), Hassan Khan (24 not out) and Muhammad Musa (23) were the others to chip in.
Pakistan captain Hassan Khan: “We’ve to work hard on our batting before our next matches – I hope they don’t repeat them in the quarter-finals and semis and finals. I’m happy with how we bowled, and the way Zaryab batted till the end.”
Scores in brief:
Australia beat PNG by 311 runs, Lincoln 3, Christchurch
Australia 370-8, 50 overs (Nathan McSweeney 156, Jason Sangha 88, Param Uppal 61; James Tau 2-42, Leke Morea 2-59, Sema Kamea 2-63, Daure Aiga 2-89)
PNG 59 all out, 24.5 overs (Jason Ralston 7-15)
Player of the match: Nathan McSweeney (Australia)
India beat Zimbabwe by 10 wickets, Bay Oval, Tauranga
Zimbabwe 154 all out, 48.1 overs (Milton Shumba 36, Liam Roche 31, Wesley Madhevere 30; Anjukul Roy 4-20, Arshdeep Singh 2-10, Abhishek Sharma 2-22).
India 155 for no loss, 21.4 overs (Shubman Gill 90 not out, Aveet Desai 56 not out)
Player of the match: Shubman Gill
Pakistan beat Sri Lanka by three wickets, Cobham Oval, Whangarei
Sri Lanka 188 all out, 48.2 overs (Jehan Daniel 53, Ashen Bandara 37; Suleman Shafqat 3-29, Shaheen Afridi 2-41)
Pakistan 190-7, 43.3 overs (Ali Zaryab Asif 59, Mohammad Zaid Alam 28; Thisara Rashmika 3-47)
Player of the match: Ali Zaryab Asif
The group standings are available here
Kenya v Windies, Lincoln 3, Christchurch (Group A)
New Zealand v South Africa, Bay Oval, Tauranga (Group A)
Canada v England, John Davies Oval, Queenstown (Group C)
Afghanistan v Ireland, Cobham Oval, Whangarei (Group D)