England v Pakistan, Under-19 World Cup, 1st semi-final, Dubai February 24, 2014

Gohar, Butt jailbreak takes Pakistan into final


Pakistan Under-19s 205 for 7 (Shakeel 45, Gohar 37*) beat England Under-19s 204 for 7 (Rhodes 76*, Higgins 52) by three wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Zafar Gohar and Amad Butt starred in a jailbreak with the bat, getting Pakistan Under-19s over the line in a tense semi-final against England Under-19s in Dubai.

Gohar and Butt came in when Pakistan were in the doldrums at 142 for 7 chasing 205. The pair were not under immense pressure with the asking rate at any point, but a few fielding lapses from England aided Pakistan's steady journey towards the target. It came down to four needed off the final over and Butt sealed the win with a boundary over mid-off, sparking wild celebrations.

Gohar and Butt came in with 63 needed off the last 13 overs. Gohar, the left-hander, glided a boundary to third man before Butt chipped another over mid-off to ease the nerves. They impressed with their temperament, choosing to loft only if the ball was in the right length. The pair kept rotating the strike and, with every single, raised the hopes of the Pakistan team and their supporters in the stands.

Pakistan needed 38 from the last six overs but a tight two-run over from the captain Will Rhodes was followed by a ten-run over from the seamer Jack Winslade to ease the pressure, making it 26 off the last four. Winslade then made probably the costliest error of the day when he dropped a catch at long-off running backwards. The momentum took him towards the boundary but the ball spilled out and lobbed over the rope. It was an error similar to the one committed by India's Deepak Hooda in a crucial stage in the quarter-final, ironically against England.

England were left counting the damages as the equation came down to a run-a-ball with the pair unseparated. As the tension mounted, England failed to plug the singles and Pakistan emerged favourites, before reaching the target off the first ball of the last over.

Pakistan have so far been carried by Imam-ul-Haq's solid knocks at the top, but the chances of him playing a long innings were hampered when he pulled a hamstring early in his stint. Imam, the tournament's leading run-scorer, was struggling between the wickets but he released the pressure on himself with a couple of boundaries off the seamers, the first of which was smashed past mid-off.

Rhodes introduced spin towards the end of the Powerplay and it turned out to be a smart move. Offspinner Rob Sayer had been cut and swept for boundaries by Sami Aslam, but when Sami attempted another sweep, he was trapped lbw. It wasn't the last time Pakistan lost a wicket straight after a spinner came on.

It also wasn't the last time a Pakistan batsman fell going for shots. Hasan Raza tried to clear the off side off Rhodes but tamely chipped it to mid-off. Imam got forward to the legspinner Rob Jones but failed to cover the line. He was given out lbw but replays showed the ball would have missed the leg stump. Pakistan slipped to 57 for 4 when Kamran Ghulam tried to pound a short one from Jones but found short midwicket.

Saud Shakeel and Ameer Hamza played steadily against the spinners, with Hamza sweeping full tosses from Jones to the boundary. Shakeel scored four boundaries in his 45 and the pair looked comfortable against the seamers, too.

Rhodes decided to revert to spin and for the second time, was rewarded instantly. Sayer struck in the first over of a new spell, trapping Hamza lbw while he attempted the sweep. There was further trouble when Saifullah Khan and Shakeel were caught down the leg side trying to hook the seamer Matthew Fisher, the best of the England seamers with figures of 10-3-21-2. As England clawed back, things heated up and a few of their players engaged in a verbal spat with the batsmen. Pakistan, though, had the last laugh.

Pakistan were on top for most part in the first innings, too. The noon start was expected to be friendlier for the batsmen, but the trend of early top-order wickets continued. England were tied down by the seamers, who picked up early wickets, but later found the spinners equally hard to deal with. The acceleration towards the end came from Rhodes, who made an unbeaten 76 off 79 balls.

It hurt England that their best batsman against spin, Ben Duckett, fell just after he had worked for a start. Duckett kept looking for scoring opportunities, pulling the seamers over the infield and fetched two consecutive fours off Zia-ul-Haq on the on side. However, he got his placement wrong in the same over, attempting another pull, and fell to a sharp catch from Imam-ul-Haq at midwicket. Duckett's handling of India's spinners helped England get over the line in the quarter-finals but it was left to his colleagues to handle Pakistan's spin-heavy attack.

The boundaries had dried up for England after the loss of three wickets for 38. The ploy of taking the Powerplay as early as the 17th over didn't work as the overs yielded only 15 runs. Rhodes broke a boundary drought of 98 balls with a pull off Shakeel to deep square leg. Ryan Higgins made a subdued fifty, scoring just one four in his 99-ball stay.

Rhodes' positive knock was responsible for taking England to 204. He was aggressive between the wickets and used his feet against the spinners, charging Gohar and launching him over deep midwicket. England scored exactly 50 off the last five overs, thanks to Rhodes and Sayer. Rhodes reached his fifty off 65 balls and along with Sayer, took 17 off the final over. In the end, it wasn't enough.

Pakistan will now meet the winner of the second semi-final between Australia and South Africa.

Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Syed on February 27, 2014, 20:19 GMT

    ALL BIG THREE out of under 19 world cup. Proud to be NOT a BIG THREE. Soon these BIG 3 will realize that they have made a BIG Mistake!!!!

  • Naresh on February 27, 2014, 9:06 GMT

    WELL DONE To PAK - this trophy will be yours vs SA. Please play to your potential. Your openers have been the most consistent out of all the U19 teams

  • Amir on February 27, 2014, 6:33 GMT

    Weldon to kick out BIG 3 from BIG GAME. Shame on BIG 3.

  • Zain on February 25, 2014, 14:22 GMT

    Great Performance, i Think we should still have won with much more ease if it had not been for Fisher and Jones, in the End what saved us were only 2 Things:

    1) Patience 2)Drop Catch from Winslade for a Maximum 3) Misfielding on Cover for a Boundary 4) Extreme Pressure 5) Watching the Ball carefully Because Fisher was coming up with Superb Short balls. 6) Confidence, Why, because any U-19 Team would flattened up after Going 7 Down

  • Nicholas on February 25, 2014, 11:37 GMT

    I've just seen the highlights. This Fisher lad looks seriously good. Bowling 84mph with good bounce. And he is only 16!

  • Tahir on February 25, 2014, 10:25 GMT

    Wonderful win for Pakistan. A refreshing bunch of all-rounders and never ending batting lineup. Tailenders never came out to bat. Saud Shakeel's maturity was treat to watch did not look like an u19 player very cool headed no media hype for him but great showing. Zafar Gohar was same like Saud Shakeel and Amad Batt did not show any nerves normally attributed to tailenders and went through. Pakistan won despite Sami, Imam, Raza and Kamran missed out. If they come good in final then pakistan can win the cup any given day. English will feel that winslade lost it for them and english batsmen showed that they never faced quiality spin in the tournament before the semi.

  • Vaughan on February 25, 2014, 9:44 GMT

    I am wishing for a SA vs Pakistan final......that should show the ICC / Big 3 where the real cricket talent lies!!!!

  • John on February 25, 2014, 9:26 GMT

    @salazar555 on (February 25, 2014, 5:55 GMT) To think I stuck up for you on another thread saying you were a balanced fan

    We all know that Pakistan have been forced to play away from their home countrythrough no fault if their cricket set up and the very vast majority of their fans/people. That they achieve such great results (inc the whitewash of us in 2012) is a credit to them and guys like Younis,Akram,Imran and Miandad are undisputed legends of the modern game

  • Dummy4 on February 25, 2014, 9:22 GMT

    Good Luck Team Pakistan In Final..............

  • Mohammad on February 25, 2014, 9:07 GMT

    I agree with you Kamran, it is a time to enjoy the game. Congratulation to Pak U19 team and to the Pakistani Nation. I am not Pakistani but I can feel the pain for not having Series in Pakistan and they are deprived of home series and thrill and enjoyment. However I am happy that 2 of the big 3 are out and 3rd one is humiliated by Afghans! !!!!! WHAT A SHAME. for the time being Enjoy SL & Pak game

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