Luc Benkenstein Leads England U19s to Series Win Over Sri Lanka | Cricket News

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Luc Benkenstein Leads England U19s to a series win over Sri Lanka

In a thrilling conclusion at Hove, England Men’s U19s clinched the three-match one-day series against Sri Lanka with a narrow four-run victory under the Duckworth-Lewis method. The decider saw skipper Luc Benkenstein play a pivotal role, scoring a brilliant century and leading a disciplined bowling attack.

Benkenstein’s Century Sets the Stage

Benkenstein’s superb 102 runs came off 98 balls, featuring seven fours and five sixes. His innings were the backbone of England’s total of 268 for 9 in a match reduced to 45 overs due to rain. The Essex batter’s first 50 runs took 69 balls, but he accelerated swiftly, needing just 29 more deliveries to reach his hundred.

Support from Charlie Allison

Benkenstein was well supported by his Essex teammate, Charlie Allison, who contributed a valuable 87 off 85 balls. The duo shared a formidable partnership of 184 runs in 29 overs, lifting England from a precarious position to a commanding one. Before being bowled out by Vihas Thewmika in the 37th over, Allison hit seven fours and two sixes in an aggressive style.

Sri Lanka’s Fightback

Despite a strong start, England lost momentum towards the end of their innings. Sri Lanka’s bowlers fought back, with Thewmika claiming 4 for 33. They took 6 for 44 in the final 7.2 overs, leaving England at 268 for 9.

Early Setbacks for Sri Lanka

In response, Sri Lanka faced an early setback when Harry Moore bowled Hiran Jayasundara through the gate. Freddie McCann, who had earlier missed a catch but made up for it with crucial wickets, dismissed Pulindu Perera. Debutants Alex Green and Noah Thain also chipped in with key wickets, leaving Sri Lanka at 124 for 5.

Weerasinghe and Perera’s Efforts

Gayana Weerasinghe kept Sri Lanka in contention with a polished 80 off 76 balls. He found support in Mahith Perera, who scored a quickfire 53 off 54 balls. The pair added 64 runs for the fifth wicket, keeping Sri Lanka’s hopes alive.

Crucial Moments

However, England struck at crucial moments. Dom Kelly’s slower ball deceived Weerasinghe, leading to a catch at mid-off by Benkenstein. With Weerasinghe gone, the pressure mounted on Sri Lanka. Perera and Diniru Abeywickramasingha added 46 runs for the seventh wicket, edging closer to the target.

England’s Resilience

The turning point came when Abeywickramasingha mistimed a scoop shot and Perera was run out by a brilliant direct hit from McCann in the 43rd over. This left the Sri Lankan tail with too much to do, and they eventually fell short by four runs.

England’s victory was a testament to their resilience and team effort. They managed to hold their nerve in a tight finish, showcasing the depth and talent in their squad. Benkenstein’s leadership and performance were instrumental in securing the series win against a determined Sri Lankan side.

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Ahmed Mainul

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