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Pakistan openers set up big victory

Pakistan Under-19s 279 for 9 (Aslam 95, Imam-ul-Haq 82, Ghulam 52, Binura 4-56) beat Sri Lanka Under-19s 158 (Priyamal 68, Samarawickrama 51) by 121 runs
Scorecard

In-form openers Sami Aslam and Imam-ul-Haq continued to pile up the runs to help Pakistan Under-19s crush Sri Lanka Under-19s in the quarter-finals in Sharjah. The pair put on 177, the second-highest partnership in the tournament, to set the base for a total which proved well out of Sri Lanka's reach.

Both Imam and Aslam preferred to bide their time, but ended their innings with strike-rates in the late 70s. No. 3 Kamram Ghulam hammered 52 off 44 balls to push Pakistan to 279. Imam's 82 made him the tournament's highest run-getter, and captain Aslam's 95 put him third on the charts.

Pakistan lost six wickets in the final 23 deliveries of the innings, but that didn't prevent them from adding 32 in that stretch. For Sri Lanka, left-arm quick Binura Fernando went at over six an over, but struck four times to go to second on the list of the tournament's highest wicket-takers.

While Sri Lanka took 37 overs to get their first breakthrough, Pakistan got theirs in the first ball itself when opener Hashan Dumindu was bowled by Zia-ul-Haq. The chase went awry soon after, as two run-outs left Sri Lanka at 44 for 3.

Opener Sadeera Samarawickrama and Priyamal Perera kept Sri Lanka in the game with half-centuries, but the dismissal of Samarawickrama in the 24th over sparked a collapse. None of the final six batsmen got into double figures as Sri Lanka went from 103 for 3 to 158 all out. The wickets were shared around, with four bowlers taking two each as Pakistan cruised into the semi-finals, setting up a clash with England on Monday.

"We've been playing here in the UAE for quite some time," Aslam said after the victory. "We played here for about two months before coming to the U19 Cricket World Cup, so I think we are very comfortable with the conditions, and we are gaining confidence at the right time.

"We've won this match by a great margin, which will be good going into the semi-finals. We have played against England a lot, so we know each other quite well. It's going to be an exciting match."