Kuwait put up a fight at the Royal Selangor Club, but Afghanistan have just had too many attacking options with bat and ball so far this tournament and they won by 54 runs, defending 251.

A Jekyll-and-Hyde performance with the bat again saw Afghanistan lose two early wickets then put up a 113-run partnership off 94 balls thanks to the watchful Sajed Khan and the watchful Obaidullah Kunari, watchful that is of the ball he hits to, or over the, boundary. Carrying on from where he left off against Hong Kong, his 66 took just 51 deliveries (eight 4s, four 6s) until a thick snick off the bustling Muzammil Khalid sent him back. Noor - 'The Rock' - ul-Haq only made 5 today, smartly stumped by Abdul Munaf but the remaining batsmen all dug in and when given the opportunity, punished anything loose.

Kuwait's Shoeb Mohammed

Kuwait were a great improvement in the field compared to their previous matches and in chasing Afghanistan's 251 for 9 initially put up a great fight. Shoeb Mohammed stroked his way beautifully to 54 (44 balls, nine 4s) being particularly hard on anything pitched up by Asghar Hussain and Izatullah Khan,  before being foxed by Sajed Khan's leg-spin. His opening partnership with Abdul Munaf worth 73 off 14 overs.

Kuwait were always within range of the required run-rate of just over 5 an over but were hemorrhaging wickets and once Navtej Singh (8) and then Munaf (42) fell, they were never going to reach 252. "We played a lot better as each match went on," said Kuwait's coach Kaleemullah, "but we just didn't quite pull it all together this tournament."

Afghanistan went through to a semi-final against UAE, with a 100% record from Group  B. "Not every match have we always played very good but we know we have  the players to win us matches  in any situation," said Afghanistan's coach Taj Malik.

Zakiullah Zaki has his man, Munaf lbw for 42

The clash with UAE for a place in the final and a chance to play in the U-19 World Cup will be an epic contest.

Group B
Afghanistan v Kuwait at Royal Selangor Club
(49 over match)
Afghanistan won the toss and chose to bat
Afghanistan: 251 for 9 off 49 overs (S. Khan 31, O. Kunari 66, S. Noori 43, Z. Zaki 32; M. Khalid 3-43)
Kuwait: 197 for 9 off 49 overs (S. Mohammed 54, M. Ali 42, S. Khalid 31*: S. Khan 4-31, Z. Zaki 3-22)
Man of the Match: Shabbir Noori (Afghanistan)


Filed August 25 2007