A hat-trick from the legspinner Karamat Ali
, followed by Sami Aslam
's 75, powered Pakistan Under-19s into the final of the Under-19s Asia Cup after they edged Afghanistan Under-19s by two wickets in Sharjah.
Karamat dismissed Mohammad Mujtaba, Hashmatullah Shaidi and Sayed Shirzad off successive deliveries in the 46th over to finish with 5 for 33 and bundle Afghanistan out for 196. Afghanistan, choosing to bat, had made a solid start as the openers Shahidullah and Ihsanullah hit 43 inside nine overs, but four wickets in the space of 10 overs left them stranded at 70 for 4.
Shaidi and Waheedullah Shafaq led the recovery with a fifth-wicket stand of 87, but once Shafaq was removed for 48, the team again crumbled. Afghanistan entered the 46th over at 182 for 6 and with Mujtaba and Shaidi at the crease, they would have looked to push on towards a competitive total.
However, Mujtaba's attempt to clear the infield off the third ball of the over could only find Saud Shakeel at the midwicket fence. Shaidi had crossed over during the wicket to take the strike, but he too failed to go the distance, hitting Karamat straight to Imam-ul-Haq at the deep square leg boundary. Karamat then completed his hat-trick with a googly to bowl Shirzad out for a duck.
Set a paltry target, Pakistan lost Shayan Jahangir in the second over, but Aslam marshaled the innings by striking eight fours and two sixes, and adding 107 for the second wicket with Imam. However, Aslam's wicket in the 24th over led to Pakistan slipping from 111 for 1 to 133 for 4. Hasan Raza and Hussain Talat chipped in with crucial contributions to stop the slide, but both of them were dismissed in the 45th over and Pakistan were soon left precariously placed at 195 for 8 with 13 balls remaining.
Kamran Ghulam, however, held his nerve and took the team over the line with a backfoot punch through the covers for four.
India Under-19s overcame a tense chase thanks to a half-century from Ankush Bains
to beat Sri Lanka Under 19s by three wickets and progress to the final of the Under-19 Asia Cup.
Bains had retired hurt in the first over but walked out to bat in the 34th with India still 97 runs adrift with five wickets in hand. He struck his first ball back for a four and continued finding the boundary with the regularity needed to tackle a required rate which had reached 5.75. India's tail was exposed, with none of the top-order batsmen able to convert their starts, but Bains balanced run-scoring along with shielding the lesser batsmen, ensuring the asking rate did not rise past seven.
No. 9 Kuldeep Yadav
, who had been instrumental in keeping Sri Lanka to a modest 223, gave Bains company in a 58-run, seventh-wicket stand which took India to the threshold of victory. Bains fell to a run-out, but Yadav struck the winning runs in the final over and remained unbeaten on 22 off 26 balls, with three fours.
Sri Lanka's batting effort revolved around half-centuries from Hashan Dumindu
and Kusal Mendis
. Their 94-run, second-wicket stand, accumulated at a sedate pace, promised a better total but the middle order failed to capitalise. Five of their batsmen could not get past single figures as left-arm chinaman Yadav picked up three wickets and Deepak Hooda and Sarfaraz Khan chipped in two each. Anuk Fernando ushered Sri Lanka to the full quota of overs with an unbeaten cameo, but the target proved just a touch too little.