The Pakistan U19 team is going face the India U19 team in the semi-final of the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup on the 4th of February after the green shirts completed a much-needed victory against the Afghanistan U19s in the 4th quarter-final of the tournament at Benoni.
The ICC U19 World Cup 2020 has completed its quarter-final stage and the four semi-finalists are now finalized to take on each other. The journey of the green shirts in the tournament so far has been fascinating, to say the least.
After conquering over Scotland and Zimbabwe in the league stages, the men in green were up against the Bengal Tigers in the race to finish at the top of the table. However, the clash against Bangladesh was washed out due to rain and Bangladesh went on to finish at the top position in the pool.
Both Pakistan U19s and Bangladesh U19s had qualified for the semi-finals and after winning their pool matches and both of them were up against South Africa U19s and Afghanistan U19s respectively. Pakistan U19s had to face their new rivals Afghanistan in a must-win game and it was a pressure match indeed for both sides.
Before the quarter-final that took place yesterday, the Afghanistan U19 team has been rolling over Pakistan U19 for quite some time. The Pakistan U19 team couldn’t win a single match against Afghanistan U19 in the previous four consecutive encounters.
So the pressure was always huge going into the quarter-final against the strong-looking Afghanistan side as they had beaten the South Africa U19s easily in the league stages. Pakistan couldn’t take Afghanistan U19 easily and they came out with their best performance against them in the quarter-final.
Afghanistan decided to bat first and they were bowled out for 189 by a superb team effort from Pakistan bowlers. Amir Khan took 3 wickets for Pakistan whilst Tahir Hussain, Qasim Akram, Abbas Afridi and Aamir Ali took one wicket each. Fahad Munir, the leg-spinner took 2 wickets as well.
In reply, a young debutant named Hurraira was at his best as he played with a lot of maturity and discipline in his first U19 innings and he formed a significant opening partnership with Haider Ali. Haider was unfortunately run out for 28 but Hurraira kept on scoring runs with ease even against the quality spinners of Afghanistan.
Hurraira reached his half-century and he was joined by captain Rohail Nazir. Afghanistan fought back with a couple of late strikes but Qasim Akram and Mohammad Haris made sure that they get over the line easily. Hurraira was eventually mankaded by the Afghanistan spin bowler Noor Ahmad who took 2 wickets for 32 runs in his 10 overs.
Noor Ahmad was consistently making problems for the batsmen and Hurraira was standing at the non-striker’s end when Noor took out the bails in his follow-through.
The act was well within the laws of the game but the commentators and critics were not happy with the young Afghan bowler as they felt it was done out of desperation. Hurraira got out on 64 on his debut and earned praised from all over the cricketing fraternity for his stylish and disciplined batting.