Afghanistan pulled off a stunning 185-run victory against Pakistan to clinch the Under-19 Asia Cup for the first time at the Kinrara Academy Oval in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday (November 19).
Riding on an unbeaten 107 from Ikram Ali, Afghanistan posted 248 for 7. In response, Pakistan were bundled for just 63 in 22.1 overs, Mujeeb Zadran returning marvellous figures of 5 for 13.
Mujeeb removed Mohammad Arif (4) and Omair Yousuf (0), the openers, early in the chase, giving Afghanistan control over proceedings after Ikram had helped them rack up the runs.
The early wobble triggered panic in Pakistan’s camp, and the bowlers took full advantage of the situation.
Qais Ahmad, the legspinner, chipped in with 3 for 18 in six overs to lend support to Mujeeb, and the wickets kept tumbling in quick succession.
With the pressure of the final bogging them down, as many as nine Pakistan batsmen failed to reach double-figures, and Afghanistan wrapped up the tail with ease to achieve victory.
WE ARE CHAMPIONS 🏏🇦🇫💪✌️
I feel proud to congratulate our nation on this very unique, rare and prideful occasion of our country's cricket as Afghanistan's U19 clinches historic win over Pakistan at the ACC U-19 Asia Cup and lifts the trophy for the first time in the history. pic.twitter.com/tOSU8lzjfE
— Dr. Abdullah (@afgexecutive) November 19, 2017
Earlier, sent in to bat, Afghanistan had got off to a good start, with Rahmanullah Gurbaz (40) and Ibrahim Zadran (36) putting on a 61-run partnership off 108 balls for the opening wicket.
Once Gul fell, caught by Muhammad Arif off Muhammad Musa, Pakistan sensed an opening. But Ikram foiled their plans with his brilliant knock to singlehandedly carry Afghanistan past 200.
Ibrahim was caught off Mohammad Taha in the 27th over, and after that, there was hardly any support for Ikram from the other end. Pakistan, however, couldn’t break Ikram’s resistance, with the batsman keeping the scoreboard ticking with ten boundaries and two sixes in his innings.
Musa, who troubled the top and middle-order batsmen with figures of 3 for 46, was ably supported by Shaheen Afridi, the left-arm pacer who bagged 2 for 42 to inflict some late damage.
In the end, Afghanistan had more than enough on the board to get the better of Pakistan, who had lost to the same side by seven wickets in the group stage.
Before this, Afghanistan had failed to make it to the title round of the tournament for the last three editions, getting knocked out in the semifinal three times in a row.
Brief scores: Afghanistan Under-19 248 for 7 in 50 overs (Rahmanullah Gurbaz 40, Ibrahim Zadran 36, Ikram Ali 107 n.o.; Shaheen Afridi 2-42, Muhammad Musa 3-46) beat Pakistan Under-19 63 all out in 22.1 overs (Mujeeb Zadran 5 for 13, Qais Ahmad 3-18) by 185 runs.