Afghanistan U-19 stormed into the final of the ACC U-19 Asia Cup after a dominating display of cricket against Nepal U-19 in the 2nd semi-final to set up a Finale clash with Pakistan U-19, whom they defeated in the group match at the start of the tournament.
Nepal U-19 were handed a Mujeeb ur Rahman’s brilliant spell of 6/28, a good support act from Qais Ahmad (2/23) and 2 run-out’s as they skittled out for a meagre 103 in 28 overs. Anil Sah (50 off 57) stood among the ruins for the better part of the entire Nepali innings as none of the other batsmen could mount any resistance to Afghan bowlers. The only reasonable partnership came for the 5th wicket as Anil and Bhim Sharki put on 30 runs.
Nepal knew their only chance was to somehow bowl out Afghanistan under their total and started with Sandeep Lamichhane with the ball along with Kamal Airee. Airee accounted for Ibrahim Zadran but Rahmanullah Gurbaz (71 off 65) took the attack to the bowlers and scored a quickfire knock of to take Afghanistan U-19 to 94/1 in 18 overs, when rain stopped play with only 10 runs required for victory.
Once the match resumed, Afghanistan U-19 lost the wickets of both Gurbaz and Ikram Ali to Pawan Sarraf and Sandeep Lamichhane, before Darwish Rasooli finished off the match with 2 big sixes. Afghanistan U-19 reached 108/3 in 20.3 overs to win the match by 7 wickets.
Pakistan U-19 reached the final yesterday after a nerve wrecking 1 run victory (By Duckworth-Lewis Method) over Bangladesh U-19 in a rain-curtailed match which forced the match to get over without any further play after the 38th over in the Pakistan U-19’s chase of Bangladeshi total. Pakistan U-19 now face the rampaging Afghans and their defeat against their finale opponents in the group match and the manner of defeat will spur them up for a better performance in the final.
Afghanistan U-19 boys now have a major chance of winning their maiden International trophy and showcase their rise in both Asian and World cricket.