Pakistan v West Indies, U19 World Cup final, Dhaka March 5, 2004

Pakistan on top of the world

Wisden Cricinfo staff

Pakistan 230 for 9 (Asif 54, Bachan 3-34) beat West Indies 205 (Tariq 3-34) by 25 runs

Pakistan celebrate the moment of victory © AFP

Pakistan have won the Under-19 World Cup, after beating West Indies in a tight finish in Dhaka. The West Indians were always up against it after losing the toss and being asked to bat under the floodlights, but it took a nerveless performance from Pakistan's spinners - in particular Tariq Mahmood, who finished with 3 for 34 - to seal the match with 17 balls to spare.

The day's key performer, however, was Pakistan's middle-order batsman Asif Iqbal, who scored the only half-century of the match and added 97 for the fifth wicket with Salman Qadir to transform his side's fortunes after a shaky start. Pakistan's day began strongly enough, but the introduction of the spinner Rishi Bachan turned the innings on its head. In successive overs, Bachan removed both openers for the addition of three runs, as Pakistan slumped from 55 for 0 to 81 for 4.

But from that moment on, Asif and Salman turned the innings around. They ran confidently and briskly between the wickets, and limited themselves to just a handful of boundaries - although Asif did splash out on one occasion as he smeared a six over the midwicket boundary, and swiftly followed up with another four to reach his half-century.

West Indies fought back in the closing overs of the innings, with Mervin Matthew deservedly collecting two late wickets after Asif had been run out by a direct hit from Bachan (178 for 5). But the last pair of Zulqarnain Haider and Ali Imran added 21 crucial runs in the final overs - including a swept four off the last ball - as Pakistan wrapped one hand firmly around the trophy.

Salman Qadir on his way to 42 - his fifth-wicket stand with Asif Iqbal rescued Pakistan


West Indies needed a strong start if they were to have any chance, and that is precisely what Xavier Marshall and Tishan Maraj provided, as 59 runs were added in the first 10 overs. Maraj in particular was unafraid to hit the ball on the up, and had cracked six fours in his 32 when he ran himself out to tilt the balance back towards Pakistan.

Almost immediately, Marshall heaved at Tariq and sent a massive top-edge spiralling to the keeper Zulqarnain Haider (72 for 2). Lendl Simmons fell cheaply, lbw to Jahangir Mirza's googly for 5, and Assad Fudadin didn't last long either, as he slapped a wild cut shot straight to Salman Qadir at point (94 for 4). But West Indies' fifth-wicket pair repaired the innings.

Denesh Ramdin and Jonathan Augustus scampered the singles and lifted the run-rate, but their eagerness to take risks eventually proved their downfall, as Augustus was run out by a direct hit from the covers (144 for 5). With Ravi Rampaul and Ramdin - the hero of the semi-final victory over England - still at the crease, anything was possible, but the nerves got to West Indies and the run-outs started to stream in.

Zulqarnain, Pakistan's wicketkeeper, was particularly on the ball in the closing overs, plucking two big edges while standing up to the spinners, before beating Liam Sebastien with a scrum-half-like dive and throw to the non-striker's end. At one stage, West Indies were 197 for 6, needing 34 from 38 balls for victory, but they lost their last four batsmen for just eight runs, to prompt massive celebrations from the Pakistani camp.