Ahmed Shehzad stars as Pakistan clinch series
Pakistan Under-19s 325 for 5 (Shehzad 115, Salahuddin 68*) beat Australia Under-19s 295 (Sarna 45) by 30 runs
A 102-ball 115 from Ahmed Shehzad steered Pakistan Under-19 to a 30-run win over Australia U-19, thus giving the hosts an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match ODI series.
Pakistan continued the series' trend of winning the toss and opting to bat, despite having successfully chased down targets - including a 79 - in the earlier games. Shehzad and Shan Masood got the home side off to a steady start, with 61 added for the first wicket before Masood fell to Daniel Burns, the left-arm spinner, for 28.
Umar Amin made a patient 40 off 67 balls supporting Shehzad, whose knock included 16 fours. Pakistan looked set for a big score when the third wicket fell for 201, but two wickets fell soon after. However, an unbroken 94-run partnership between Usman Salahuddin (68 off 50 balls) and Imad Wasim (44 off 33) propelled Pakistan to 325 from their allotted 50 overs.
Australia's batting had flopped in Sheikhupura, and never looked in the hunt during the chase in Mirpur. They failed to string together any reasonable partnerships, barring the last pair of Sam Robson and Josh Hazelwood, who put on a valiant 84, which though wasn't match-winning, ensured Australia didn't suffer a crushing defeat.
Both Robson and Hazelwood made scores above 40, with Kumar Sarna, the opener, being the top scorer with 45. For Pakistan, Mohammad Rameez, the right-arm fast bowler, made the initial inroads, before capping the day with the final wicket of Hazelwood and figures for 3 for 53 from his 9.4 overs.
Legspinner Shahzaib Ahmed, on the back of a five-for, also picked up three wickets. Shahzaib dismissed Sarna and followed it up with the wickets of middle-order batsmen Anthony Murphy and James Faulkner, both out caught-and-bowled.
Shehzad didn't have a great time with his legbreaks though, conceding 41 from his four overs for one wicket. However, it didn't make a difference in the final result, with Pakistan clinching an easy series win.
The next two matches will also be played at the Mirpur Cricket Stadium, with the visitors trying to salvage some pride.