Afghanistan knock Bangladesh out, make semis
In an unexpected result, Afghanistan Under-19s made the semi-finals, knocking Bangladesh under-19s out of the tournament in a group B encounter. Afghanistan successfully chased a revised target of 220 from 42 overs following rain after Bangladesh had made 240 for 9.
Afghanistan captain Javed Ahmadi made 71 and Shabir Noori cracked an aggressive 57 to guide the chase that became a little tense towards the end due to a climbing run-rate and two wickets falling for three runs. However, Najibullah Zadran smashed three sixes and two fours in 18 balls to take his side into the semi-finals with nine deliveries to spare.
Bangladesh, led by opener Soumya Sarkar and No. 3 Salman Hossain, were going well at 159 for 4 but then collapsed to 185 for 8. A ninth-wicket stand of 49 runs in 4.3 overs provided them a competitive total to defend. Afghanistan achieved it eventually but not without glimpses of hope for Bangladesh.
In the other group B match, Qatar Under-19s lost by 87 runs to Sri Lanka Under-19s in a match reduced to 26 overs due to rain. Pabasara Waduge scored 71 to guide Sri Lanka to 124 for 2 in 26 overs before rain intervened. Facing a revised target of 188, Qatar were kept on a tight leash by the Sri Lanka bowlers, led by offspinner Tharindu Kaushal who took three wickets. A 45-run partnership for the eighth wicket was the only resistance Qatar could muster as they ended on 100 for 8.
Pakistan Under-19s followed up a thrilling one-run win over India by bowling Malaysia Under-19s out for 53 after amassing 302 in a group A game. Only Malaysia No. 7 Pavithren Nadaesan got into double figures as a combined effort by Mohammad Nawaz, Mir Hamza and Azizullah reduced the hosts to 36 for 9 before a last-wicket partnership of 17, the highest in the innings, took them past 50.
Malaysia's middle order crumbled as they slipped from 21 for 2 in the ninth over to 25 for 7 in the 19th. Nawaz, who scored a quick half-century and claimed three wickets, was adjudged the Man of the Match.
Pakistan's commanding batting performance was led by an 85-run opening stand between Sami Aslam, who had scored a century against India, and captain Babar Azam. A 69-run partnership for the second wicket and a 116-run partnership in 63 balls for the fourth wicket seemed to put the game beyond Malaysia's reach. Umar Waheed was the highest scorer of the match with 76 off 52.
India Under-19s had to struggle to reach 176 against Nepal Under-19s, before bowling them out for 91 in another group A match. The bowling performance was led by Delhi left-arm spinner Vikas Mishra, who took four wickets. Nepal were reduced to 20 for 5 at one stage after the target was reduced to 173 from 47 overs due to rain. A bit of a recovery ensued but proved insufficient.
The bowling covered up India's faults in batting, as besides Baba Aparajith (55) and captain Unmukt Chand (47), no one contributed anything of note. Left-arm spinner Rahul Vishwakarma, after a match-winning performance in Nepal's previous game against Malaysia, proved effective again with three wickets. Bhuvan Karki also struck thrice as India lost their last five wickets for 23 runs after having been 83 for 1 earlier.
In the semi-finals, Afghanistan will meet Pakistan on June 28 while India will take on Sri Lanka the next day.