Afghanistan proved that they are no more pushovers and good enough to challenge the best in the sport when they gave India a huge scare in their last group game of Under-19 Asia Cup at the Colombo Cricket Club grounds on Monday.

The three wicket win enabled defending champions India to top their group and they will take on the losers of Tuesday’s clash between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in the semi-finals.

India v Afghanistan
Winners - India

Afghanistan will be wishing that their batsmen had put up a decent total as their two wrist spinners made life difficult to the strong Indian batting line-up.

Defending a target of 125, Afghanistan fought well to put India under tremendous pressure. At 80 for one, India were cruising along but playing wrist spin proved to be their Achilees heel.

Noor Ahmad, the 14-year-old Chinaman bowler and Shafiqullah Ghafari, the 17-year-old leg-spinner bowling in tandem posed plenty of questions from the Indian batsmen as they ran through the middle order.

The wrist spinners accounted for six wickets between the two of them. With accuracy, good line and length and clever variations they had caused plenty of trouble throughout the tournament and showcased their skills once again on Monday.

Noor finished with four for 29 while Shafiqullah claimed two wickets as the Afghans fought gallantly but eventually the target of 125 proved to be insufficient. Noor picked up all four wickets in his second spell.

Karan Lal and Purnank Tyagi were involved in a 22 run unbroken stand for the eighth wicket  to take India through unbeaten to the second round.

Despite a good start, Afghanistan struggled against some probing bowling by the Indians.

Openers Farhan Zakhil (29) and Sediqullah Atal (25) added 51 runs for the opening wicket but rest of the batsmen were poor with their approach. Abidullah Taniwal top scored with 39 runs coming lower down the order. Afghanistan were bowled out in 40.1 overs.

Left-arm quick Sushant Mishra bowled with fire and finished with five wickets. He was named Man of the Match. Left-arm spinner Atharva Ankolekar claimed four for 16.

Despite the defeat, it is not all over for Afghanistan. If their batting click, their bowlers are capable of running through any side as a strong Pakistani side found out earlier in the tournament and India were nearly found wanting.

Afghanistan will be licking their wounds but come the semi-final, they will be ready to put up an impressive show and make it all the way.

Mon 9-Sep

India v Afghanistan at CCC
Afghanistan won the toss and chose to bat
Afghanistan: 124 all out off 40.1 overs (A.Taniwal 39; A.Ankolekar 4-16, S.Mishra 5-20)
India: 128 for 7 off 38.4 overs (NA.Lakanwal 4-30)
Man of the Match: Sushant Kumar Mishra (India)


Tournament page

Filed September 9th, 2019