U19 World Cup 2018: Afghanistan Thrash Pakistan in the Opener

Chasing 189, the Afghanistan colts were reduced to 50 for 3, before Darwish Rasooli staved off Pakistan's challenge with an audacious 78-ball 76 .

Afghanistan U19 players
Afghanistan U19 players. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The much anticipated U19 World Cup 2018 kicked off earlier today. In the tournament’s first match Pakistan and neighbours Afghanistan featured in a nail-biting encounter. However, it was the minnows who enjoyed the last laugh. It was an agonizing day for Pakistan cricket, as Afghanistan beat Pakistan by five wickets in the opening game of the junior World Cup after the Men in Green earlier lost the third ODI and the series to New Zealand in Dunedin.

Chasing 189, the Afghanistan colts were reduced to 50 for 3, before Darwish Rasooli, in the company of wicketkeeper Ikram Ali Khil, staved off Pakistan’s challenge. Rasooli struck an unbeaten 78-ball 76 to lead Afghanistan to victory, beating Pakistan by five wickets

The 18-year-old shared partnerships of 75 with Khil (46), 42 with Nisar Wahdat (19) and 27* with Azmatullah Omarzai (12*) to carry Afghanistan home with 15 balls to spare. Prior to the start of their campaign, Rasooli had spoken about the ease with which he can hit sixes and so his concentration was on batting long and pulling his team out of trouble.

After Pakistan elected to bat, they lost opener Muhammad Zaid for 0 and No. 3 Ammad Alam for 1. Wicketkeeper Rohail Nazir resurrected the innings in the company of Ali Zaryab Asif (30). The pair put on 88 off 138 balls. Nazir’s dismissal for 81 sparked a collapse as Pakistan gave away their last seven wickets for 42 runs. Fast bowler Omarzai and legspinner Qais Ahmad picked up three wickets apiece.

India play their first match tomorrow

The Men in Blue play their first match of the championship against Australia tomorrow. It promises to be a high-octane clash as both the teams have done exceptionally well in the tournament’s history. With three titles each, they are the most successful participants in the tournament. India U19 skipper Prithvi Shaw has also opined that the team has prepared well under the guidance of Rahul Dravid and the goal is to return home with the trophy.