Australia raced to a one-point victory with five balls to spare in their Under-19 World Cup semi-final against Pakistan at Willowmore Park on Thursday.
Australia will meet India in the final at the same venue on Sunday. Tom Straker led a powerful Australian fast bowling attack, taking six for 24 as Pakistan were bowled out for 179 after being sent in to bat.
Despite 50 by Harry Dixon and 49 by Oliver Beck, Australia found themselves staring at defeat when they lost their ninth wicket with 16 runs still to go.
Raf McMillan and last man Callum Fidler saw Australia home, with McMillan scoring the winning runs with an inside edge that flew to the fine leg boundary for four runs.
Left-arm spinner Arafat Minhas (2-20) and fast bowler Ali Raza (4-34) led the Pakistan fight.
Minhas also excelled with the bat. He and Azaan Owais made 52 runs to enable Pakistan to achieve the aggregate score which they came close to defending.
The tall Straker worried the Pakistani batsmen with aggressive, short-pitched bowling on a pitch that had pace and bounce.
“We talked before the game about not giving them anything to drive,” said Straker, who had the best bowling figures in any Under-19 World Cup semi-final or final.
India has won five titles and Australia (three) more Under-19 World Cup titles than any other country. They have met in two previous finals, in 2012 and 2018, with India winning on both occasions.
Brief scores: Pakistan 179 in 48.5 overs (Azan Owais 52, Arafat Minhas 52; T. Straker 6-24). Australia 181-9 in 49.1 overs (H. Dixon 50, O. Beck 49; Ali Reza 4-34, Arafat Minhas 2-20).
Result: Australia wins by one point.