Afghanistan's cricketing fairytale just keeping rolling along, and in front of hundreds of supporters they beat Nepal to reach the final of the ACC U-19 Elite Cup. To put the result into context, Nepal have won every staging of this tournament since 2000, and until yesterday's loss to Hong Kong, had not lost an U-19 match in all that time.
Nepal batted on winning the toss, but while the first two overs produced 23 runs, two wickets fell and thereafter the innings struggled for any momentum. Only Prithu Baskota looked to take the attack to the bowlers, hammering three sixes on his way to 81. Some late hitting helped Nepal to 186 for 8, with 73 coming off the last ten overs after they had been 113 for 6.
Afghanistan also wobbled early on, and at 54 for 3 in the 16th over, Nepal appeared to be back on track. But Man of the Match Aimal Wafa (61*) and Asgher Hotak (478) came together at 84 for 4 and not only consolidated but also kept up with the required rate, adding an unbeaten 106 for the fifth wicket to see their side home.
There was less drama in the other semi-final where Hong Kong beat Qatar by 23 runs, despite only making 161 themselves.