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Windies U-19s lose opener despite Simmons & Melius fifties

Opener Keagan A. Simmons carried his bat for a top score of 92 not out but West Indies Under 19 lost to hosts New Zealand on January 13, 2018. Photo: CMC
MOUNT MAUNGANUI, New Zealand — Openers Keagan A. Simmons and Kimani Melius carved out contrasting half-centuries, but reigning champions West Indies Under-19s suffered a disappointing start to their title defence when they went down to hosts New Zealand Under-19s by eight wickets yesterday, January 13, 2018.

Sent in at Bay Oval in the opening Group A clash, the Caribbean side raced to 123 without loss, but a cluster of wickets in the middle overs hurt their momentum, restricting them to 233 for eight off their 50 overs.

According to the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) today, Janaury 14, 2018, Simmons carried his bat for a top score of 92 not out, while debutant Melius unfurled a stroke-filled 78 off 85 deliveries.

Left-arm spinner Rachin Ravindra (3-30) and fast bowler Matthew J. Fisher (3-61) picked up three wickets apiece, while left-arm spinner Felix Murray supported with two for 37.

In reply, the hosts hardly put a foot wrong as they stormed to their target in the 40th over, with the exciting Finn H. Allen smashing an unbeaten 115 and Jakon J.N.P. Bhula, 83.

New Zealand took charge from the outset with Bhula and Ravindra (16) putting on 46 from 60 deliveries for the first wicket before Allen arrived to put the result beyond doubt.

The right-hander plundered 15 fours and two sixes in a 100-ball knock, dominating a 163-run, second-wicket stand with Bhula, who faced 105 balls and counted nine boundaries.

Allen reached his half-century off 43 balls and raised three figures off 92 deliveries in the 37th over, with NZ already on the cusp of victory.

West Indies had earlier made the Kiwis nearly rue their decision to field first when Simmons and Melius dominated the first half of the innings with their century stand.

The left-handed Simmons produced a measured knock, facing 132 deliveries and striking seven fours and a six, while Melius was far more expansive, crunching six fours and four sixes in an 85-ball outing.

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