Pakistan beat Afghanistan by 6 wickets, reach U-19 World Cup semi-final
BENONI: A half-century from Mohammad Huraira on debut secured Pakistan U19 a six-wicket win against Afghanistan U19 in the fourth quarter-final of the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup in Benoni (South Africa) on Friday.
Pakistan will face India U19 on Tuesday, 4 February, in the first Super League semi-final in Potchefstroom. Huraira, the 17-year-old opener from Sialkot, top-scored with 64 off 76 balls before he was mankaded by Noor Ahmad in the 28th over of Pakistan’s run-chase.
Pakistan’s chase began with a flourish as Hurraira, who hit eight fours and a six, made full use of a dropped catch early in his innings. His opening partner Haider Ali hit five spanking fours in his 34-ball 28 before he was run out. The pair added 61 runs in 11.3 overs.
Captain Rohail Nazir added 56 for the second-wicket with Hurraira before the former was dismissed by Noor for a 35-ball 22. The possibility of Pakistan breaking the losing streak against Afghanistan at this level – Pakistan had lost their last four completed matches against Afghanistan stretching from November 2017 – came under threat when the batting side lost three wickets for 10 runs with their score slipping from 117 for one to 127 for four.
But, an unbeaten 63-run stand between Qasim Akram (25 off 41) and Mohammad Haris (29 off 43) helped Pakistan chase the target with 53 balls spare. Batting first after winning the toss, Afghanistan were dismissed for 189 run in 49.1 overs. Captain and opener Farhan Zakhil top-scored for the Afghans with a 55-ball 40, hitting seven fours in his innings. Abdul Rahman provided a late flourish to the innings with a 41-ball 30 (two fours and one six).
Middle-order batsmen Rahmanullah (29) and Abid Mohammadi (28) made useful contributions. For Pakistan, pacer Amir Khan took three wickets for 58 runs in his 10 overs. Leg-spinner Fahad Munir provided two useful breakthroughs in his seven over spell in which he conceded 29 runs.
Qasim Akram, Abbas Afridi, Tahir Hussain and Aamir Ali took a wicket each. For his match-winning knock, Huraira was named man-of-the-match.