Afghanistan became the first team qualify for the semi-finals of the Under-19 Asia Cup when they beat Kuwait by seven wickets at R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Saturday.

Wrist spinners Noor Ahmed and Shafiqullah Ghafari once again did the trick for the Afghans sharing five wickets between them as Kuwait were shot out for 85 runs. The same combination had helped bowl Pakistan out cheaply in their opening fixture earlier in the tournament.

Afghanistan v Kuwait
Winners - Afghanistan

Seventeen-year-old right-arm leg-spinner Shafiqullah claimed three wickets while 14-year-old Noor Ahmed took two wickets. Shafiqullah was named Man of the Match and looks a fine prospect for the future. He was also Man of the Match in Afghanistan’s win over Pakistan where they bowled out the opposition for 78 runs.  

Only four batsmen reached double figures as Afghanistan dominated proceedings and they will be a deadly opposition moving forward.

Kuwait lacked a game plan and had little clue picking wrist spin. None of their batsmen were willing to take risks to put the bowlers under pressure. The defensive mindset proved to be their undoing as wickets fell in a rush. Their running between the wickets was atrocious as well.  

From 56 for two, they slumped to 59 for six losing three wickets for the addition of just three runs.

In reply, captain Farhan Zakhil top scored with 38 runs off 36 balls with five fours.

Afghanistan knocked off the target in just 12.5 overs to win with 223 balls to spare.

Afghanistan have won both their encounters now and their next game against India on Monday at Colombo Cricket Ground will be not much of interest. It will be a keen contest though with both teams unbeaten in the competition so far.

International exposure will stand in good stead for Kuwait players despite the heavy defeat. They did well to qualify for the tournament having performed notably in the qualifying round in Malaysia. Their next game will be against Pakistan on Monday at Moratuwa.

On Sunday, hosts Sri Lanka will take on United Arab Emirates at Free Trade Zone grounds in Katunayake while Bangladesh will play Nepal at P. Sara Oval.

Sunday will be the fourth day of the eight nation tournament. The five Test playing nations of Asia alongside Kuwait, Nepal and United Arab Emirates are playing in this year’s Under-19 Asia Cup.

Defending champions India have won the title multiple times while Afghanistan have won it once.

Sat 7-Sep

Afghanistan v Kuwait at RPICS
Afghanistan won the toss and elected to field
Kuwait: 85 all out off 27.3 overs (S.Ghafari 3-12)
Afghanistan: 86 for 3 off 12.5 overs (F.Zakhail 38*)
Man of the Match: Shafiqullah Ghafari (Afghanistan)


Tournament page

Filed September 7th, 2019