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Pakistan U-19s hold their nerve to win thriller

A round-up of matches in the Under-19 Asia Cup that took place on Tuesday, December 31

Sayed Shirzad picked up four top-order wickets, Afghanistan v New Zealand, Group B, ICC Under-19 World Cup 2012, Buderim, August 14, 2012

File photo: Sayed Shirzad finished with 4 for 10  •  ICC/Getty

Led by a century from their captain Sami Aslam and a fifty from Kamran Ghulam, Pakistan Under-19s held their nerve to secure a two-wicket win over India Under-19s. The win puts them on top of Group A, sealing a spot in the semi-finals. Faced with a target of 251, Aslam kept the chase under control with a well-paced 108 off 119 balls. Once he fell, Ghulam took over, guiding the lower order even as India pulled back with wickets. Two wickets in the 49th and 50th over put some pressure on Pakistan, who were seeking six runs off the last over, but Zafar Gohar hit two fours to seal the victory.
Earlier, Ricky Bhui's 64 helped India post 250 for 7 after regular strikes from the Pakistan bowlers prevented India's top-order from making good on their starts. Bhui's knock off 66 balls with three fours and two sixes.
Riding on a hundred from Kusal Mendis and an unbeaten 62 from Priyamal Perera, Sri Lanka Under-19s stumbled to a two-wicket win over Bangladesh Under-19s in Abu Dhabi. The win helped them qualify for the semi-finals where they will play India. Set a target of 204, the 108-run fourth-wicket stand between Mendis and Perera put Sri Lanka in a comfortable position at 180 for 3. However, Sri Lanka lost their next five wickets for 13 runs, sliding to 193 for 8, before Perera and AK Tyronne got the required runs. Earlier, a fifty from Nazmul Hossain Shanto, and useful contributions from Mosaddek Hossain and Yasir Ali helped Bangladesh put up 203 for 6.
Afghanistan Under-19s needed a total of just 26.4 overs to thump Malaysia Under-19s by 10 wickets in Abu Dhabi. Malaysia, who were bundled out for 50 and 32 in their previous two games, collapsed once again for 40 as medium-pacer Sayed Shirzad spearheaded an incisive bowling performance from Afghanistan. Malaysia's captain Muhammad Ramli was the team's top-scorer with 12, while their other 10 batsmen collectively contributed just 22 runs between them. Shirzad finished with 4 for 10, and Abdullah Adil picked up three scalps. to bowl Malaysia in 23.2 overs.
Afghanistan's openers Shahidullah and Ihsanullah completed the paltry chase in just 20 balls, hitting five fours and a six between them. Afghanistan will now play Pakistan in the semi-finals.
A four-for from left-arm spinner Sushan Bhari and a knock of 48 from Aarif Sheikh helped Nepal Under-19s seal a four-wicket win over United Arab Emirates Under-19s in Sharjah. Nepal were struggling at 49 for 3 before Sheikh anchored the chase with useful partnerships. After Sheikh was out, Siddhant Lohani and Rahul Pratap Singh ensured Nepal ended up on the winning side, finishing the game in 33 overs. Earlier, Bhari and left-arm pacer Lalit Bhandari kept chipping away with wickets to restrict UAE to 159. Dan D'Souza was the top-scorer for UAE with 32, in an innings where a few other batsmen got starts but couldn't play on. Bhari finished with 4 for 34, while Bhandari took 3 for 43.