Punya Mehra and Ali Naseer set up opening win for UAE at U19 World Cup

Age-group side beat Canada in St Kitts ahead of pool fixtures against England and Bangladesh

UAE's Ali Naseer plays a shot as Anoop Chima of Canada looks on during the ICC U19 Men's Cricket World Cup match in Basseterre, Saint Kitts and Nevis. Photo: ICC
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A composed half-century by Punya Mehra plus some bold late-overs striking from Ali Naseer laid the platform for the UAE’s winning start at the Under 19 World Cup.

The national age-group side beat Canada by 49 runs in their opening pool stage match at the competition in the Caribbean.

Batting first, UAE reached a total of 284 for seven in St Kitts. They had to battle to get there, though.

They had been reduced to 47 for three, but Mehra helped rebuild the innings in partnership first with captain Alishan Sharafu, who made 37, then with Nilansh Keswani, who made 38.

After those three had built a solid platform, it was left to Naseer to hoist the side to a commanding total. The all-rounder blazed 73 from 50 balls.

Buoyed by the efforts with the bat, Naseer and Keswani then thrived with the ball, too. Naseer opened with a thrifty new-ball spell, before Keswani took two for 32 with his left-arm spin.

Sharafu, Adithya Shetty and Jash Giyanani also took two wickets apiece as Canada succumbed for 235 within 47 overs.

India, who won the U19 Asia Cup in Dubai as a precursor to the World Cup last month, opened their account in the Caribbean with a 45-run win over South Africa.

In the day's other match, Ireland beat Zimbabwe by 39 runs.

Updated: January 16, 2022, 4:07 PM