Afghanistan's U-16s won the 2014 ACC U16 Elite League, beating Hong Kong to top the table on the final day of the tournament. Unbeaten so far, whoever won today was going to win the League and from the moment Yousaf Zazai called correctly, it was Afghanistan all the way. They played powerful, surging cricket, the batsmen one after the other building momentum to take them to 216 off their 40 overs. Hong Kong lost a wicket to the first ball of their innings and never recovered, leg-spinner Abdul Wasi, turning the ball both ways, taking 5 for 19.
A crowd of 500 Afghan supporters cheered their team on. "We've worked solidly for four months for this, had national trials across all the regions, chose 270, then 54, then did the (Age Verification) bone-tests until we had our final 14," says coach Khaliqdad Noori, "Afghanistan Cricket Board and Dr. Noor did a lot of work." With this victory Afghanistan continue their run of ACC tournament successes.
Hong Kong, having made 293 under lights against Iran yesterday, were on the receiving end of some fierce hitting and aggressive fielding and pace-bowling. At one stage it looked like Afghanistan could be kept to 180, but the last five overs of the Afghanistan innings produced 52 runs, the ball flying to all parts. A run-out to the first ball of Hong Kong's reply put them on the back foot, and then when captain Subramanyam was 'Waqared' by his counterpart Yousaf Zazai and had to limp off in the 7th over, left shoe in hand, unable to return, Hong Kong were in deep trouble. Zazai, for all his pace and fire went wicketless, Abdul Wasi for all his fizz and guile didn't. Hong Kong were febrile against the turn, and though some positive strokes were attempted, for long stretches of the innings not even a single was taken.
They play with passion on these Afghans, there's a ferocious joy to their cricket: Hong Kong's talented cricketers were just pushed aside. Khaliqdad Noori also heralded the fact that the Afghanistan U-19s had just beaten Pakistan U-19s in Lahore. Soon after they won, the tribal drums and bagpipe came on the field, and the dancing began. During the presentations Yousaf took time to ask after Jhatavedh's health which was good to see. Afghanistan worthy winners of a worthwhile event. We are sure to see and hear of many of those on the field today in the years ahead.
ACC U16 Elite League 2014, Day 6
Afghanistan v Hong Kong at West End Park, Doha
AFGHANISTAN WON BY 150 RUNS and win the event
Afghanistan won the toss and chose to bat
Afghanistan: 212 for 8 off 40 overs (S.Mujahid 52, R.Rahmani 40; J.Subramanyan 3-51)
Hong Kong: 66 all out off 24.2 overs (A.Wasi 5-19)
Man of the Match: Abdul Wasi (Afghanistan)
ACC U-16 Elite Tournament Page
Filed October 29th, 2014