LINCOLN, New Zealand, CMC – Left-hander Alick Athanaze struck his second hundred of the ICC Youth World Cup to set West Indies Under-19s up nicely but Sri Lanka Under-19s survived a late order wobble to snatch a nerve-jangling three-wicket win, in the Plate final here yesterday.
Sent in at the Bert Sutcliffe Oval, the Windies side tallied 254 for five off their 50 overs with the enterprising Athanaze stroking a run-a-ball, unbeaten 110.
Brad Barnes got 37 not out, Bhaskar Yadram scored 31 while Keagan Simmons chipped in with 24.
Left-arm spinner Praveen Jayawickrama (2-33) and fast bowler Nipun Malinga (2-63) finished with a couple of wickets each.
In reply, Hasitha Boyagoda struck 116 and Dhananjaya Lakshan, 98, in an outstanding opening partnership of 218 which put Sri Lanka on course for an easy win.
Boyagoda facced 124 deliveries and struck 17 fours and a six, but once he holed out in the deep off fast bowler Jarion Hoyte in the 38th over, the complexion of the contest changed dramatically.
Seven balls later, Nishan Madushka was run out for one and with nine runs added, Jehan Daniel (6) also perished in similar fashion, to leave the Sri Lankans perched on 231 for three in the 44th over.
Lakshan, who struck a dozen fours and a single six off 112 deliveries, fell off the very next ball, missing out on a well-deserved hundred.
Still, with only 14 runs required from 36 balls, the target remained uncomplicated but with wickets suddenly falling, the Sri Lankans panicked.
West Indies capitalised to snatch three more wickets in the space of 18 balls and without warning, Sri Lanka were tottering on 249 for seven in the penultimate over.
Off-spinner Barnes released the pressure, however, when he conceded a boundary off the last ball of the over, leaving Sri Lanka with a single run to get off the last six balls of the match.
Even then, Hoyte kept Hareen Buddila (5 not out) scoreless off the first three balls to increase the tension, before the batsman scrambled a single off the fourth delivery. Off-spinner Yadram (2-42) and Hoyte (2-44) picked up two wickets apiece.
Athanaze had earlier made headlines with a knock that helped rally the Windies innings which appeared in danger of collapse at 63 for three in the 13th over.
He crunched five fours and a couple of sixes, adding 59 for the fourth wicket with Kallicharan and a further 102 with Barnes in an unbroken fifth wicket stand.
Barnes faced 36 balls and counted three fours.
Athanaze finished the tournament with 418 runs, just shy of the West Indies record of 421 set by Donovan Pagon 16 years ago.