Tom Straker breaks Rabada’s record, leads Australia to Under-19 World Cup final

Tom Straker

New Delhi: Australia’s young fast bowler Tom Straker delivered a sensational spell of 6 for 24 in 9.5 overs to help his team thrash Pakistan by 179 runs in the semi-finals of the Under-19 Cricket World Cup 2024 on Friday. The tall 18-year-old medium pacer, who resembles former Australian great Jason Gillespie, ripped through the Pakistani batting line-up with his pace and accuracy. He struck early to remove the openers and then returned to clean up the tail in the death overs. In the process, he broke the 10-year-old record of South African fast bowler Kagiso Rabada for the best bowling figures in the semi-finals or final of the Under-19 World Cup.

Straker, who was born on 19 March 2005, surpassed Rabada’s 6 for 25 against Australia in the 2014 edition of the tournament. He also became the first Australian bowler to take six wickets in an Under-19 World Cup match. The only other bowler to achieve this feat was India’s Angad Raj Bawa, who took 5 for 31 in the final against England in 2020.

Straker’s victims included Pakistani opener Shamil Hussain, Azaan Awash, captain and wicketkeeper Saad Baig, Ubaid Shah, Mohammad Zeeshan, and Ali Raza. He was well supported by his fellow pacers, who kept the pressure on the Pakistani batsmen throughout the innings. Pakistan were bowled out for 179 in 46.5 overs, well short of Australia’s total of 358 for 6. Only two Pakistani batsmen managed to score more than 20 runs, while eight of them failed to reach double digits. Straker was rightly adjudged the player of the match for his match-winning performance.

Tom Straker

Straker also climbed to the fifth spot in the list of the highest wicket-takers in the Under-19 World Cup 2024. He has taken 12 wickets in 5 matches at an average of 9.25 and an economy rate of 4.44. He has also bowled 4 maiden overs in the tournament. He will be looking to add more wickets to his tally in the final, where Australia will face the winner of the second semi-final between India and England.