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U19 Men’s WC: Australia-Pakistan semi-final the best game I have ever been a part of, says Olivier Peake

IANS | February 10, 2024 02:24 PM

BENONI: Young batter Oliver Peake said Australia’s narrow one-wicket win over Pakistan in the second semi-final of the U19 Men’s World Cup is the "best game" he has been a part of. The cliffhanger of a win meant Australia progressed into the title clash, where they now face defending champions India on Sunday.

"It was a pretty amazing feeling seeing the ball go down to fine leg (to win the game). It was probably the best game I have ever been a part of, it was just so amazing. It’s hard to describe, from coming two weeks ago as a replacement to playing in a semi-final, it is a pretty dramatic change in events so I was pretty happy, " said Peake to cricket.com.au.

Peake scored a crucial 49 from 75 balls in the thrilling semi-final for Australia against Pakistan, after coming in as a replacement for Corey Wasley, who suffered a finger injury midway in the tournament. At 17, he’s the youngest player to be in the Australia U19 side at the tournament.

"The boys have been so good, they have just welcomed me in so well early on. I was pretty nervous coming in being a couple years younger and not really knowing a lot of them from other states but they have made life so easy and I think it has definitely helped me perform better."

Peake, a Year 12 student at the Geelong Grammar School, recalled how he got called up as a replacement in the Australia team and how huge has been the influence of his father Clinton, who captained Australia U19 side in 1994-95. "My heart started racing, I couldn’t believe it. I just finished training at Geelong on a Tuesday night and I just saw a text from Clarkey (Australia U19s coach Anthony Clark) saying ‘there’s been an injury, can you call me, we are keen to get you over’."

"I called him walking across the ground, he picked up straight away and 30 hours later, we were on a flight which was pretty cool. Obviously Dad's been a massive influence on me. The mindset of the game and preparing me for high levels of cricket from a young age."

"He's noticed how much I love the game and how I want to go far so he has helped me work on things that need to be worked on to play at a high level. He has looked at my career a bit more in the long term rather than short term results, which I am really grateful for now and things are starting to pay off."

Australia last won the U19 World Cup in 2010 and Peake thinks the team culture being optimistic has been key in their impressive run in the tournament. "I think the culture around the group is so good, everyone is used to winning around here so that’s why there’s no excuses to lose really."

"Everyone is so positive, everyone rocks up to the game not worrying about the opposition but worrying about ourselves. We got a lot of NSW and Queensland kids here and those two states have dominated the national carnivals. And I think they are used to rocking up to underage tournaments and doing really well and I think that’s having an effect on the rest of the group, " he concluded.

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