Fatullah: Opener Rishabh Pant struck a brilliant 111 off 96 balls as India demolished Namibia by 197 runs in the quarter-final of the Under-19 cricket World Cup at the Khan Shaheb Osman Ali Stadium here on Saturday. En route his ton, Pant hit 14 boundaries and two sixes and was well supported by Sarfaraz Khan (76), Armaan Jaffer (64), which steered the team to a massive score of 349 for six in 50 overs. In reply, Namibia were bundled put for a mere 152 in 39 overs, thanks to spinners Mayank Dagar (3-25), Anmolpreet Singh (3-27) and Washington Sundar (2-27). Three-time champions India, coached by batting great and former captain Rahul Dravid, will take on the winner of Sunday’s quarter-final between strong contenders England and Sri Lanka in the first semi-final in Mirpur on February 9.
Pant added 103 runs for the second wicket with Anmolpreet Singh (41) after captain Ishan Kishan (6) had been caught and bowled by Fritz Coetzee in the third over itself. That set the stage for an Indian assault with former school-mates Sarfaraz Khan and Armaan Jaffar scoring aggressive half-centuries later on to post a mammoth total. While chasing, Namibia made an impressive start with openers SJ Loftie-Eaton (22) and Niko Davin (33) putting on 59 runs for the first wicket by the 10th over. Skipper Zane Green made 27 to lift Namibia to 80 for one, but the rest of the batsmen fell in clusters from there on as India’s left-arm spinner Mayank Dagar (3/25) and off-break spinner Anmolpreet with three wickets for 27 runs produced the bulk of the breakthroughs. The second semi-final between host Bangladesh and the winner between Pakistan and the West Indies on Monday will be played in Mirpur on February 11. Brief scores: India 349/6 in 50 overs (Rishabh Pant 111, Sarfaraz Khan 76; Fritz Coetzee 3/78). Namibia 152 all out in 39 overs (Niko Davin 33; Mayank Dagar 3/25, Anmolpreet Singh 3/27, Washington Sundar 2/27).