Australia 182 for 4 (Edwards 72) beat Afghanistan (Ali Khil 80, Merlos 4-24) by 6 wickets
Christchurch: A thoroughly professional performance with both bat and ball saw them ease into the Super League Final of the ICC Under 19 Cricket World Cup at the expense of Afghanistan.
Australia lost the toss, but overcame the apparent disadvantage of being inserted with ease, bowling out Afghanistan for 181.
Ikram Ali Khil’s brilliant 119-ball 80 apart, Afghanistan will be disappointed with, with Rahmanullah Gurbaz’s 20 being the next high score.
Under overcast skies and windy conditions, Jonathan Merlo, the Australia quick, ran riot, returning a brilliant 4/24 that took the stuffing out of Afghanistan.
Too many of their batsmen were guilty of chasing deliveries wide on the on-side, with as many as three of them dismissed caught down leg.
Jack Edwards extended his score to 72, striking eight fours and two sixes, both of which came in one over, the first just clearing the rope, and the second going in exactly the same direction but much further, sailing over the hoardings and into the press tent.
Contributions from the rest of the batting order was all that was needed, and though there was a minor tremor when Australia lost two wickets for the addition of four runs when still more than 50 from their target, a cool-headed partnership between Nathan McSweeney and Param Uppal saw them home.
Australia had spoken before the game about their fallibility with the bat, and about how they hadn't yet put their perfect game together. But this, with bat and ball, was about as close as they could have hoped to get, and it deservedly sees them into the Super League Final where they will meet India or Pakistan in Tauranga.