The West Indies Under 19 Team got their World Cup campaign on the way versus host New Zealand on Friday night. After winning the toss, New Zealand sent the defending champions, West Indies in to bat. Opening the batting for West Indies was left handed Keagan Simmons and right handed St. Lucian sensation Kimani Melius. The two very competent batsmen had an opening partnership of 123 runs.
In a preview of the West Indies under 19 team, no mention was made of the young St. Lucian as a player to look at in this tournament. An ESPN feature captured the exploits of mainly the Trinidadian players such as Kallicharan on tour.
But, in his opening World Cup match, Kimani hit 6 fours and 4 sixes in an innings that impressed the rotating commentators. Though the commentators repeatedly mispronounced his name, there is no doubt that they will all know his name before this World Cup is over.
The St. Lucian got his runs after facing just 84 balls to raise eyebrows all over the world. At the end of the innings, despite 92 from K Simmons and Kimani’s 78, New Zealand clawed back to restrict West Indies to 233/8. Matthew Fischer and Rachin Ravindra took three wickets each for New Zealand, who have never won an ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup despite producing some stellar talent over the years.
In response, Finn Allen starred with the bat for New Zealand U-19 cricket team. Allen scored an unbeaten century (115 n.o.) while Jakob Bhula hit 83 as the hosts got their desired 234/2, chasing down the West Indies total in 39.3 overs.
The result replicates the performance of the West Indies Under 19 team who lost the first game of their title winning World Cup. In his interview after, Melius thanked all those who supported him on his journey and stated “I cannot be satisfied with just this performance. ”