Yannic Cariah scored a magnificent unbeaten century to guide the West Indies to a thrilling four-wicket victory over Sri Lanka in a high-scoring third-fourth place play-off match in the ICC Under-19 World Cup at Queen Elizabeth II Park, Christchurch, on Friday.
The 17-year-old left-hander deservedly took the man-of-the-match award for his match-winning knock of 110 that came off 127 balls, as the West Indies achieved victory target of 292 runs for the loss of six wickets with nine balls to spare.
Cariah, who walked on to the pitch in the third over after the West Indies had lost both its openers with the scoreboard reading six runs, struck six four and three sixes in an intelligent and well-paced knock that kept his side constantly in touch with the run-rate.
The West Indies' confident run-chase was all the more remarkable given the disastrous start it got when Sri Lanka captain and opening bowler Chathura Peiris sent back openers Kraigg Brathwaite and Trevon Griffith in a space of six balls to finish as the pick of the bowlers with 3-38.
Cariah settled in and featured in three crucial partnerships that led to a comfortable victory in the end.
Cariah first combined in a third wicket partnership of 120 runs off 111 balls with John Campbell who belted six fours and four sixes in a 70-ball 77.
After the departure of Campbell at the total of 127, Cariah was joined by Shane Dowrich (33) and the two added 49 runs for the fourth wicket to take the score 175 before Cariah and Jermaine Blackwood (41) put on 92 runs from 87 balls for the sixth wicket to put their side within 12 runs of victory.
Earlier, Sri Lanka had started the day magnificently after being put in to bat, as the opening pair of Udara Jayasundera and Denuwan Rajakaruna saw off the new ball and survived a belligerent spell of bowling from two metre-tall fast bowler Jason Holder.
The two openers featured in a 173-run first wicket partnership -- highest of the tournament to date -- from little over 35 overs.
Rajakaruna, the 19-year-old reserve wicketkeeper playing his first game of the tournament, was a revelation as he played a wide selection of shots and scored freely, only to fall six runs short of his century. His 94 came from 118 deliveries and included 10 fours while Jayasundera contributed a classy 77 off 106 balls with five fours.
The gifted left-hander Banuka Rajapaksa was amongst the runs once again when he finished unbeaten on 43 as Sri Lanka amassed 291 for six -- a considerable total which, in the end, was not enough.
Sri Lanka 291-6, 50 overs (Denuwan Rajakaruna 94, Udara Jayasundera 77, Banuka Rajapaksa 43 not out, Rumesh Buddika 34; Nelson Bolan 2-74)
West Indies 294-6, 48.3 overs (Yannic Cariah 110 not out, John Campbell 77, Jermaine Blackwood 41, Shane Dowrich 33; Chatura Peiris 3-38, Saranga Rajaguru 2-41)
West Indies won by four wickets
Man of the Match: Yannic Cariah