GEORGETOWN, Guyana (CMC) — Captain Ackeem Auguste struck a half-century but West Indies Under-19s remained haunted by their batting woes, and slumped to a six-wicket defeat to Australia Under-19s in their opening match of the ICC Under-19 World Cup on here Friday.
In a hugely disappointing start to their campaign but a continuation of their recent form, the hosts could only muster 169 all out in the 41st over at Guyana National Stadium, with the left-handed Auguste stroking a fluent 57 from 67 deliveries.
Wicketkeeper Rivaldo Clarke chipped in with 37 from 42 balls while McKenny Clarke arrived late to smash a swift 29 from 35 deliveries.
In reply, opener Teague Wyllie carved out a compact, unbeaten 86 as Australia Under-19s strolled to their target in the 46th over.
Nivethan Radhakrishnan followed up his earlier three-wicket haul with 31 while Cooper Connolly made 23 after also taking a three-wicket haul with his left-arm spin.
Entering the contest on the back of defeats in their two warm-up matches, West Indies Under-19s needed a strong performance, especially with the bat, but none was forthcoming.
In fact, they crashed to 12 for three in the sixth over after Matthew Nandu edged the second ball of the morning from Tom Whitney (3-20) and was caught behind without scoring, and Teddy Bishop (5) and Shaqkere Parris (4) followed cheaply.
With a half-century in the last warm-up, Auguste extended his decent form, hitting eight fours as he put on 95 with Rivaldo Clarke whose knock included four fours.
However, all their hard work went to waste as the duo of Radhakrishnan and Connolly ripped through the middle and lower order to send the last seven wickets tumbling for 62 runs.
Rivaldo Clarke drove Radhakrishnan loosely to mid-off in the 22nd over, and Giovonte Depeiza missed a straight one and was lbw in the next over to Connolly without scoring before Rising Stars lost the key wicket of Auguste, holing out to deep square off Connolly in the 25th over.
Arriving at number nine, McKenny Clarke opened his shoulders with two fours and three sixes to gather precious runs towards the end for his side.
Fast bowler Johann Layne then produced an early strike for the hosts, getting Corey Miller to play on without scoring in the third over before his new-ball pace partner Shiva Sankar had Isaac Higgins (9) caught at the wicket in the eighth over at 21 for two.
Any hopes of making further inroads were stymied by Willie, however, the right-hander facing 129 balls and counting eight fours while adding 53 for the third wicket with Connolly and 75 for the fourth wicket with Radhakrishnan.
By the time Nandu had Radhakrishnan taken at point from his off-spin in the 39th over, victory was out of West Indies Under-19s' grasp and Willie took the Australians safely over the line.
Rising Stars face Scotland Under-19s in their second outing at Warner Park in St Kitts and Nevis on Monday.