U-19 World Cup: Afghanistan stuns Pakistan in opener

In an upset, Afghanistan pulled off a five-wicket win over Pakistan in an ICC U-19 World Cup encounter on Saturday.

Naveen-ul Haq celebrates the fall of a Pakistan wicket on Saturday.   -  ICC

In an upset, Afghanistan pulled off a five-wicket win over Pakistan in an ICC U-19 World Cup encounter on Saturday.

Skipper Naveen-ul-Haq struck with the new ball, and Azmatullah Omarzai and Qais Ahmad took three wickets as Afghanistan reigned supreme over Pakistan on the opening day of the tournament. Naveen-ul-Haq reduced Pakistan to 23 for two after the two-time champion opted to bat. Though an 88-run third-wicket partnership between opener Rohail Nazir (81) and Ali Zaryab (30) tried anchoring the ship, Pakistan failed to optimise.

Pakistan was bundled out for 188 in 47.4 overs. In reply, Darwish Rasooli struck an unbeaten 76 as Afghanistan romped home in 47.3 overs.

Pakistan captain Hassan Khan praised the Afghanistan team, which has now beaten them three consecutive times after having also got the better of them two times in the Asia Cup in November, including in the final.

“They bowled and batted really well. They outclassed us in every department, especially in the first innings. The pitch was pretty good to bat on but the way they bowled was tough for us,” Hassan said.

Naveen-ul-Haq did not lend much importance to their third win over Pakistan. “We have prepared well. We aren’t thinking of anything like we have beaten them thrice. It was just another game of cricket. We restricted them to under-200, so it was a good total for us to chase down.”

New Zealand cantered to a comfortable eight-wicket victory over defending champion West Indies after Finn Allen slammed the tournament’s first century.

The host rode on the back of a 163-run stand between Allen and Jakob Bhula, who made 83. Number three batsman Allen, a second-timer at the U19 World Cup, was the star for the host with an unbeaten 115

On a day which saw four matches being played across three cities, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe also notched wins, though their matches in Christchurch were reduced to 20 overs per side owing to rain.

Bangladesh defeated Namibia by 87 runs and Zimbabwe beat Papua New Guinea by 10 wickets.

The West Indies had taken the early initiative after being put in to bat in the opening Group A match as Keagan Simmons compiled an unbeaten 92 and put on 123 runs with opening partner Kimani Melius (78).

However, it was restricted by some tight bowling later on and could only manage 233 for eight.

In what was the first of 20 matches in this tournament being broadcast live by ICC TV, pace bowler Matthew Fisher grabbed three for 61 and left-arm spinners Rachin Ravindra (three for 30) and Felix Murray (two for 37) kept the Windies side on a tight leash.