17-year old leg-spinner Zika Ali inspired France to a 5-run victory over Austria in the fifth-place play-off semi-final at Grainville.
Defending a total of 113, France bowled some tight lines early on to restrict Austria to 21-1 in 6 overs. Ali then picked up the key wicket of the dangerous Amar Naeem for 17, clipping the top of leg-stump as the Austrian opener tried to cut off the back foot.
Austria were then three down two balls later as Ali picked up his second victim, new batsman Andrew Simpson-Parker offering the simplest of return catches to depart without scoring.
After 12 overs the score was 54-3 and the game was still very much in the balance. Austrian hopes now rested on the shoulders of the in-batsman Amandeep Amandeep (25), so when he too fell to Ali in the 16th over to leave Austria 79-5, smartly stumped by Waseem Bhatti, France could scent victory.
And so it proved, the French bowlers holding their nerve to restrict Austria to 108-9 in 20 overs. Ali finished with the impressive figures of 4-12 and is now the leading wicket-taker in the tournament.
Earlier Austria had won the toss and elected to field, keeping France to 113-6 in their 20 overs. Vice-captain Ayun Ayyavooraju was the mainstay of the French innings, making 48 in 50 balls including three 4s and a 6. He shared in a crucial 51-run partnership with Usman Khan (24), helping France to a competitive total having been in danger at a precarious 51-4.
Imran Asif and Munir Ahmed were the pick of the Austrian bowlers, taking 2-15 and 2-26 respectively.
The win sees France progress to the fifth place play-off where they will play Norway at Farmers tomorrow. Austria will meet Belgium in the seventh place play-off at Grainville.