Ireland wicketkeeper-batter Joshua Cox smashed a breezy unbeaten century on the opening day of the U-19 ICC Cricket World Cup as he led his team to a 39-run win over Uganda in a Group B match at the Everest Cricket Club Ground here on Sunday (IST).Cox stroked a superb 111 to help his team to a total of 236/9 in 50 overs, hitting eight fours and a six in his classy innings, finishing not out alongside his Muzamil Sherzad.Uganda skipper Pascal Murungi gave his side hope of pulling off the run chase with a half century (63 from 82 balls). He was assisted by a quick-fire 38 from Juma Miyaji down the order. But Uganda's effort was pegged back by spinner Matthew Humphreys, who finished with figures of 4/25 from his 10 overs. Humphreys packed both openers early on to set Ireland on the path to victory, and then returned to claim the scalp of Murungi just as the momentum seemed to be swinging in the opponents' favour.Zimbabwe scored a crushing 228-run win over Papua New Guinea, built on the back of a century from skipper Emmanuel Bawa (100). The 18-year-old's ton came from just 95 balls, with 10 fours and two sixes. His big partnerships with Panashe Taruvinga (36), David Bennett (58) and Brian Bennett (23) put Zimbabwe on course for a mammoth total, and some big hits later on from the tail-enders saw his side become the first side to cross 300 in the tournament.
Zimbabwe finally managed 321/9 from 50 overs and then bundled out the opponents for just 93 runs. Zimbabwe spinner Victor Chirwa had a significant role to play in the victory as the No. 9 batter made a strokeful 35 and then proved the pick of the bowlers, going for just 11 runs from his seven overs and picking up two wickets.Canada battled admirably in Basseterre (Saint Kitts and Nevis) but were unable to haul themselves to victory as UAE's first innings score of 284/7 proved enough in a Group A match. Ali Naseer's 73 off just 50 balls did the damage for Alishan Sharafu's side after Punya Mehra's 71 had set things in motion for a strong first innings total.The Canadians had UAE reeling at 47/3 but Mehra, Nilansh Keswani (39) and Sharafu (37) helped them recover to 174 for five. Then came Naseer's late innings pyrotechnics, as his knock at a strike rate of 146 catapulted his team to a sizeable total.Canada skipper Mihir Patel led from the front with his 96 off 105 balls keeping them continually in contention. Wicketkeeper Anoop Chima (46) and lower-order batter Kairav Sharma (43) also offered resistance but two wickets each for Keswani, Sharafu, Adhitya Shetty and Jash Giyanani helped bowl Canada out for 235 to complete hard-fought 49-run victory.
Group A: UAE 284/7 in 50 overs beat Canada 235 in 46.4 overs by 49 runs.
Group B: Ireland 236/9 in 50 overs beat Uganda 197 in 48.1 overs by 39 runs.
Group C: Zimbabwe 321/9 in 50 overs beat PNG 93 in 35 overs by 228 runs.