ICC U19 World Cup 2018: Pakistan finishes third

Pakistan lost to India in the semifinal by 203 runs despite being the table toppers from Group D after Ireland beat Afghanistan in its last rubber.

Pakistan U19 suffered a 203—run defeat to India in the semifinal, with the team bundled out for only 69 runs.   -  AFP

 

Two-time champions Pakistan claimed third position at the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2018 after its third-fourth place playoff against Afghanistan was washed out without a ball being bowled at the John Davies Oval in Queenstown on Thursday.

Afghanistan and Pakistan were in Group D and though the former won the opener, the Hasan Khan-led side topped the group after Ireland beat the Afghans in its last group match.

While this is Afghanistan’s best finish in an ICC U19 Cricket World Cup after it claimed 16th, 10th, seventh and ninth positions in the 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016 events respectively; this is the third time Pakistan finished third after 2000 and 2010.

Pakistan’s worst performance in the prestigious tournament came in 2012 when it finished eighth. But they are the only country to have won back-to-back titles in 2004 and 2006.

In the ongoing edition, it got past South Africa by three wickets in the quarterfinal, but suffered a 203-run defeat to India in the semis; the team was bundled out for only 69.

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Ecstatic with his side’s third place finish, Pakistan coach Mansoor Rana said, “We’re happy but we would have liked to be in the final. Both teams wanted to play today and it would have been better if we had played and got to these positions.”

He praised the fast bowling attack of Shaheen Afridi, Muhammad Musa and Arshad Iqbal. "I thought we saw talented players in all teams. Pakistan has good fast bowlers and batsmen. I think they should be given more time in domestic cricket. There are expectations from them but they should play First-Class and List-A cricket (before graduating to senior international cricket).”

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"Our best moment in the tournament was the quarterfinal against South Africa, which was a high pressure match. I thought that was a great experience. Our team enjoyed being in the semifinals despite the result.”

Afghanistan coach Andy Moles, meanwhile, was satisfied with his team’s effort and saw a bright future for several from the team. "We’re pleased to finish fourth but would have loved to play Pakistan today. It would have been a chance to test our players against them. We did not play well against Australia unfortunately but we’ve learnt a lot. The theme of the tournament being young stars, we showcased quite a few. Today we missed out on a chance with the local rivalry in the region. Also, in U19 cricket you don’t know when you get a chance to play,” Moles said.

Moles, however, added that he was expecting a better performance from the slow bowling attack comprising spinner Mujeeb Zadran, leg-spinner Qais Ahmad and chinaman bowler Zahir Khan.

"The spinners did not bowl as consistently as in the U19 Asia Cup in Malaysia (in November, which Afghanistan won). When they bowled well, they bowled very well, but at times, they struggled with the length and bowled short.”

Afghanistan lost to three-time champions Australia by six wickets in the semifinal after a huge 202-run victory over New Zealand in its last-eight fixture.

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