Kuala Lumpur, Feb 26 (UNI) Odds are staked heavily in favour of former champion India as they take on New Zealand in the first day-night semi final of the u-19 Cricket world Cup to be played here tomorrow.
It is a big game for both the sides with India going in with a psychological advantage of having proved itself to be a very difficult team to beat over the past 10 days or so. Virat Kohli's men emerged top from a tough group that included the West Indies, South Africa and PNG before easing past England in the quarter-final.
By contrast, New Zealand lost to Pakistan and only qualified for the Super League from second place in Group A. But a great win over Sri Lanka here yesterday has given the junior Black Caps an enormous confidence boost ahead of tomorrow's game.
And with players like Tim Southee, who is currently leading the Player of the Tournament standings, Kane Williamson, Trent Boult and Corey Anderson in form, it could be closer than India coach Dav Whatmore would like.
Meanwhile, Nepal booked its place in the Plate Championship final today with a thrilling four-run victory over Namibia.
Namibia was set a target of 144 runs to win after the game had been reduced to 34 overs a side due to rain early in the day. And the Africans almost got there with Raymond van Schoor (48) and Louis van der Westhuizen (33) doing most of the good work.
Earlier, Nepal made 143-8 in 34 overs with Khadka in fine form but Sean Silver (3-20) and Strauss (2-25) kept a lid on it for Namibia.
In the other game of the day, Zimbabwe exacted revenge on Malaysia for a shock defeat earlier in the tournament by beating the host by 44 runs in the Plate Championship play-off semi-final With that game also reduced to 34 overs, Daniel Landman (45 not out), Peter Moor (37) and Solomon Mire (36) made sure Zimbabwe got to a formidable total of 186-6.
In reply Aminudin Ramly batted beautifully for his 70 but wickets kept falling at the other end and Malaysia was all out for 142 with Edzai Jaure (3-39) the pick of the Zimbabwe bowlers.
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