DUBAI: The United Arab Emirates (UAE) stunned Pakistan by 11 runs in a low-scoring thriller and stormed into the ACC Men’s U19 Asia Cup 2023 final.
Set to chase a modest 194, Pakistan’s batting unit unfolded on a mere 182 despite a gritty half-century by their captain Saad Baig.
Pakistan, after having a dismal start to the run chase when they were reduced to 22/2 in the sixth over, managed to recover well, courtesy of a sensible partnership between Baig and Azan Awais.
The pair took Pakistan past the 100-run mark and had put their side in command for a comfortable victory before both perished in successive overs.
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Baig remained the top-scorer for Pakistan U19 with a 52-ball 50, laced with four boundaries and a six while Awais struck five boundaries amid his cautious 41-run knock in 71 deliveries.
The back-to-back dismissals sparked a collapse in Pakistan’s batting lineup and they soon slipped to 121/7 in 29 overs.
Ali Asfand and Amir Hassan then put together a cautious partnership for the eighth wicket and added 44 runs to the total.
The duo, however, conceded a whopping 94 deliveries in the process, causing the required run-rate to skyrocket.
The dire need to go big saw Hassan falling victim to Dhruv Prashar in the 45th over. He scored 27 in 47 deliveries with the help of two boundaries and a six.
Asfand, on the other hand, held his ground firm but his efforts went in vain as the UAE bowlers ran through Pakistan U19 tailenders to wrap up a historic victory in the final over of the run chase.
Asfand remained stranded at the crease with an unbeaten 16 in 61 deliveries.
Hardik Pai and Ayman Ahamed led the bowling attack for the UAE with two wickets each while Omid Rehman, Prashar and Ammar Badami made one scalp each.
Putting UAE into bat first, Pakistan U19 did well to restrict the home side to 193 in 47.5 overs despite Aayan Afzal Khan’s half-century.
He played a captain’s knock of 57-ball 55 with seven boundaries to his name. Opener Aryansh Sharma chipped in with his 46 from 70 balls with the help of six boundaries.
Ethan D’Souza played a handy knock of 37 off 63 balls with two fours and a six to his name.
Ubaid Shah, younger brother of star Pakistan pacer Naseem Shah, was the pick of Pakistan’s bowlers with his 4-44 in 9.5 overs. Ali Asfand and Arafat Minhas took two wickets each.
In another semi-final clash, Bangladesh outclassed India by four wickets and also made it to the U19 Asia Cup final.
India, after being sent to bat first, scored 188 in 42.4 overs on the back of Murugan Abhishek and Musheer Khan’s fifties.
The former top-scored with 74-ball 62 with six fours and two maximums to his name. The latter struck three fours on his way to 50 off 61 balls.
Maruf Mridha was the pick of Bangladesh bowlers with his 4-41 in 10 overs. Rohanat Doullah Borson and Sheikh Paevez Jibon bagged two wickets each.
Bangladesh successfully chased the 189-run target at the loss of six wickets in 42.5 overs. Ariful Islam was the star performer with his 94 off 90 balls. His knock included nine fours and four sixes.
He was supported by Ahrar Amin who stuck three fours on his way to 101-ball 44.
Naman Tiwari picked three wickets for India.