BALLARAT cricketer Matt Short is preparing for arguably the biggest moment of his short career after Australia shot through to the ICC Under-19 World Cup semi-finals on Sunday night.
Short, a former East Ballarat youngster and St Patrick’s College student, played an important role as the Aussies beat the West Indies by five wickets in Dubai.
The win means Australia will now take on South Africa tomorrow for a place in the final.
Short made 52 (62 balls) at the top of the order – his second half-century of the tournament – as the green and gold chased down a target of 208.
His knock included four boundaries before he was brilliantly caught and bowled by Ray Jordan, who dived one-handed to gather
in a miss-timed shot.
Earlier, the batting all-rounder bowled a couple of overs in the West Indies’ innings, without success.
The Aussie attack put the heat on the Windies from the outset, reducing them to 8-70, before wicketkeeper Nicholas Pooran (143) mounted a spirited fightback for his team.
Pooran withstood the pressure in a fantastic man of the match innings, putting on a 136-run partnership with Jermone Jones for the ninth wicket. But it wasn’t enough as Australia gathered in the target with 20 balls to spare.
Jake Doran again steered the team to victory with another controlled effort through the middle order.
Doran, who finished last match on 99 not out, hit the winning runs as he fell one run shy of a half-century.
“It’s a great moment for all the boys,” Australian under-19 captain Alex Gregory said.
“(Guy) Walker and (Billy) Stanlake were very good earlier on. They bowled fast from the word go and that’s what you need your fast bowlers to do.”
Australia’s semi-final against South Africa will also be played in Dubai.