The next generation of New South Wales bowling talent has come to the fore in a tense nine-run win for the Australia Under 16 team against the Pakistan Under 16 team at the Cricket Victoria CitiPower Centre in Melbourne on Tuesday.
In the opening match of the five-game limited-overs series, Pakistan required 10 to win with two wickets in hand when Bankstown fast bowler Brad Simpson rose to the occasion to break the defences of the last two batsmen and dismiss the visitors for 199.
Simpson finished with the respectable figures of 3-51 from nine overs, and together with Campbelltown-Camden leg-spinner Tanveer Sangha (3-37), as well as Randwick Petersham left-arm orthodox spinner Mac Jenkins (2-49), the NSW trio had a hand in eight of the ten Pakistan wickets. The other two scalps were run out.
Australia batted first at the newly developed Junction Oval complex and set Pakistan 209 to win. Victorian batsman Yash Pednekar top-scored for the hosts with 55 from 61 balls.
Sangha and Jenkins also made important contributions down the order. Sangha chipped in with a brisk 24 not out from 17 balls, while Jenkins scored a handy 26 from 43 deliveries.
The wickets were shared among the Pakistan attack. Zaman Khan (3-36) returned the best figures for the visitors.
In reply, Simpson struck almost immediately and Pakistan was 1/1.
The chase steadily progressed to 1/73 before Sangha broke through. He claimed three quick wickets including the critical scalp of Saim Ayub (51).
Pakistan lost 5/14 in the space of eight overs and was suddenly reeling at 6/87 in the 20th over. Three wickets fell with the score on 87.
Sangha conceded less than four runs per over throughout his 10 overs and maintained the pressure on the Pakistan batsmen.
The duo of Sangha and Jenkins was particularly key against a side traditionally adept playing spin.
Jenkins claimed the important scalp of Haris Khan, to break the pivotal partnership that held the key to Pakistan’s prospects.
Khan, who scored 53 from 47 deliveries, together with Hassan Kiani (53 not out) added 72 for the seventh wicket and it appeared the pair may guide Pakistan to success.
However, the wicket of Khan went a long way to ensuring an Australian victory. Despite the determination of Kiani and the Pakistan lower order, Simpson stepped up to the mark and sealed the win for his country.