Rising Stars confident of strong start despite mixed form
GEORGETOWN, Guyana (CMC):
West Indies Rising Stars will hope to turn the page on a spell of indifferent form and start their ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup campaign on a winning note when they face multiple-time champions Australia Under-19s here today.
The hosts have lost four of their last six outings inside the last few weeks, drawing their four-match series with South Africa Under-19s, 2-2, and then losing their two warm-up games to India Under-19s and the South Africans this week.
Significantly, the performances have been highlighted by brittle batting, especially in the South Africa series, leaving several question marks over the side.
However, head coach Floyd Reifer tried to put those concerns to rest yesterday, contending that the string of poor results had not negatively impacted the side’s mood ahead of the opener at the Guyana National Stadium.
“The confidence of the team is still in a very good place. You use warm-up games to see where you’re at as a team,” Reifer told an online pre-match media conference.
“Obviously, before we did a lot of camps and we hadn’t played many games together as a unit, so we used these games to kind of see where the guys are at, to see how they can perform their roles and responsibilities under pressure.
“So I would say the team is very confident still, and it’s just a matter now of just putting it together with a good game tomorrow.”
Captain Ackeem Auguste and opener Matthew Nandu were the only batsmen to manage half-centuries during the warm-ups while the likes of fast bowlers McKenny Clarke and Johann Layne impressed with wickets.
West Indies topped their group in the 2020 showpiece in South Africa but then bowed out in the next round in a shock defeat to New Zealand.
The Caribbean side, which won the title in 2016, eventually finished fifth overall after their fifth-place playoff against the Australians was rained off.
Australia, whose sixth place finish was a disappointment, said they were aiming for a strong start despite their heavy loss to India in their warm-up.
“[The defeat] was a reality check for us against one of the strongest sides, maybe the favourites. But our team is checking out really well, and I feel like we’re in good shape for the first game,” said captain Cooper Connolly.
The contest is one of two in Group D on the opening day, with Sri Lanka Under-19s and Scotland Under-19s clashing at Everest here.
WEST INDIES U19s – Ackeem Auguste (captain), Giovonte Depeiza, Onaje Amory, Teddy Bishop, Carlon Bowen-Tuckett, Jaden Carmichael, McKenny Clarke, Rivaldo Clarke, Jordan Johnson, Johann Layne, Anderson Mahase, Matthew Nandu, Shaqkere Parris, Shiva Sankar, Isai Thorne.