BLOEMFONTEIN, South Africa – Ireland Under-19s Men made history in their final game of the 2024 ICC Men’s Under-19 Cricket World Cup, beating New Zealand by 41 runs (DLS) in a weather-affected game to finish in eighth place overall, Ireland’s highest-ever position in the competition’s history.
The victory – the first-ever win by an Irish team over a New Zealand side at any level – capped off a tournament that means Ireland qualify automatically for the competition in 2026.
Having chosen to bat first, the Irish side posted a competitive total of 267-9 from their 50 overs. The bowling unit then backed up the impressive batting display with an equally industrious bowling performance, led by Olly Riley (3-20) before nearby lightning halted play and the game never resumed with New Zealand behind the DLS par score.
Coming into the game, Ireland had made one change to the side from the defeat to Pakistan on Tuesday, with Daniel Forkin coming in for Carson McCullough. After an impressive start by openers Ryan Hunter (24) and Jordan Neill (19), both batters were back in the pavilion inside ten overs. Too often in this tournament, the Irish batters lost wickets in clusters, however, today was to be different with Gavin Roulston (82) and Player of the Match Kian Hilton (72) scoring a confident 129-run 3rd wicket stand.
At 181-2 in the 36th over, New Zealand hit back – first removing Hilton with a reflex caught and bowled by Robbie Foulkes, then within the next five overs a further four more wickets fell, with the left-handed medium-fast pacer Ewald Schreuder the main protagonist.
Watching on from the non-striker’s end and fearing a collapse would not do justice to the platform laid by the earlier batters, Bready left-hander Roulston stepped up his scoring. His half-century came from 81 balls, but his next 31 runs came from 21 balls, with a knock that at one stage threatened to take the game away from New Zealand until Roulston holed out at deep midwicket in the last over – his highest score at Under-19 level. Ireland’s innings finished soon after with 268 the target set for New Zealand.
In reply, Riley struck with the first ball of the eighth over taking the wicket of Luke Watson thanks to an excellent diving catch by Hilton at backward point. With New Zealand under scoreboard pressure early on Foulkes and JJ Nelson partnered up for 46 runs before Ireland took three wickets in the space of eight overs to take control of the game.
Harry Dyer came back into the attack and removed Snehith Reddy (11) – thanks to the quick hands of Hunter behind the stumps – and New Zealand were reeling at 130-5. It was then that dangerous lightning in the immediate vicinity of the Manguang Oval became a safety concern for the umpires and play was suspended. After a delay of almost 90 minutes, the game was called off by the umpires and Ireland celebrated a famous victory.
Ireland U19 Men v New Zealand U19 Men, Super Six Stage, U19 Men’s World Cup, Mangaung Oval, Bloemfontein, 3 February 2024
Ireland 267-9 (50 overs; G Roulston 82, K Hilton 72; E Schreuder 4-46)
New Zealand 130-5 (32.1 overs; JJ Nelson 34, L Stackpole 33; O Riley 3-20)
Ireland Under-19s won by 41 runs (DLS Method)
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