Lloyd Pope’s 8/35 not only booked a place for Australia in the semi-final of the U-19 World Cup but also created a record for the best figures in the competition. Defending a target of a mere 128, Pope single-handedly decimated the English line-up to secure a victory for his side.
Australia found themselves in a host of troubles in the quarter-final against rivals England with the scoreboard reading 65/6 after just 15 overs. Thanks to Jason Sangha’s fighting innings of 58, Australia managed to go past the triple figure mark. However, it appeared that the English were going to sail to the target when they found themselves at 47/0 in just 7 overs.
But that is when Sangha decided to introduce leg-spinner Pope. In his very first over, Pope got rid of Liam Banks and Harry Brook on back-to-back balls to peg England back a little. However, with Tom Banton batting, on 41, at the other end, the English would not have been too worried. In his second over, Pope got rid of Will Jacks but in the third, he was smashed for 11 thanks to a four and six by Banton.
With just 61 required to win, and Banton putting Pope’s first delivery of the fifth over for a boundary, it appeared Australia’s challenge was up. But a rush of blood to the head by Banton, who tried an awkward reverse sweep, resulted in the opener throwing away his wicket. The wind was very much in Australia’s sails and as Pope picked up his fifth in the next over, England
Param Uppal picked up another two wickets to leave the English stuttering at 82/7 and with 46 to win, it was anybody’s game. But not with Pope around. Pope picked up Hollman in his eighth over before rounding up the innings in his last with two balls to spare.
The unbelievable 8/35 is the best that the U-19 World Cup has ever witnessed but it is not the best in World cricket at the youth level. That honour belongs to Irfan Pathan who finished with figures of 9/16 in an Asia Cup match against Bangladesh in 2003.