WHANGAREI (Agencies): Darwish Rasooli struck an unbeaten 78-ball 76 to lead Afghanistan to victory in their opening match of the Under-19 World Cup, beating Pakistan by five wickets.
Chasing 189, Afghanistan were reduced to 50 for 3, before Rasooli, in the company of wicketkeeper Ikram Ali Khil, staved off Pakistan’s challenge. Rasooli shared partnerships of 75 with Khil (46), 42 with Nisar Wahdat (19) and 27* with Azmatullah Omarzai (12*) to carry Afghanistan home with 15 balls to spare. Prior to the start of their campaign, Rasooli had spoken about the ease with which he can hit sixes and so his concentration was on batting long and pulling his team out of trouble.
After Pakistan had chosen to bat, they lost opener Muhammad Zaid for 0 and No. 3 Ammad Alam for 1. Wicketkeeper Rohail Nazir resurrected the innings in the company of Ali Zaryab Asif (30). The pair put on 88 off 138 balls. Nazir’s dismissal for 81 sparked a collapse as Pakistan gave away their last seven wickets for 42 runs. Fast bowler Omarzai and legspinner Qais Ahmad picked up three wickets apiece.