ACC U-19 Youth Asia Cup 2017: SF2 - Afghanistan v Nepal

The morning activities started early here in Kinrara Oval with both teams having a good warming up session. Toss commenced at 9am, Afghanistan won and elected to field.

Opening batsmen from Team Nepal are Jitendra Singha and Mahamad Asif Sheikh, who face Naveen Ul Haq for a series of dot balls and bonus 2 wides. Mujeeb ur Rahman, alternate Afghani bowler comes up to bowl to Asif who is dismissed at 1.3 for an LBW. Jitendra Singh replaces to pair with Anil Kumar who swings a boundary 4 at 1.4.

With one fallen wicket in the first over, Team Nepal is on high alert and play safe to Naveen’s bowls in over 3, picking up only 2 runs. Afghan bowler Mujeeb is not so kind and he dismisses Jitendra Singh at 3.4, catching the ball. Again, Team Nepal retreats into safe play and Over 5 is almost a maiden Over with only 1 run, and Over 6 gains a bonus point with a wide shot. Having enough of safe play, Dipendra knocks the ball into a boundary 4 at 6.1 and Anil does two consecutive fours at 6.5 and 6.5! and now the score is gaining momentum, rising to 26 for 2. Mujeeb stops this in its tracks at Over 8 and Naveen doesn’t do so well against Anil and Dipendra. Team Nepal gain 6 runs in over 9. Mujeeb again comes to Team Afghan’s rescue by dismissing potential threat Dipendra at 9.2 and the over dies with no runs.

Rohit replaces Dipendra and at Over 11, Afghan’s Wafadar is merciless, taking no runs until the last bow when Anil Kumar knocks a boundary 4. Next to bat is Rohit and he puts his back into it, swinging a boundary 4 at 11.2 only to be taken out by Mujeeb at 11.3. What a letdown! Bhim Sharki replaces to pair with Anil, the score an alarming 43 for 4. Strong-handed Wafadar bowls to Bhim and Anil and does not let them run for 5 bowls. Anil makes a grand comeback with a soaring 6 and the batting pair get two more bonus points from wide shots by Mujeeb. The score is slowly rising to 53 for 4 at this point. Anil swings a four to Wafadar’s bowl and Over 15 sees 6 runs made.

Overs 16, 17 and 18 are quiet with 2 doubles and 4 singles for 18 bowls, and things go into despair when Bhim Sharki faces a run out by Ikram Ali, just after Anil knocks a boundary 4. Pawan Sarraf replaces Bhim at 18.6. Another series of dotballs plague the Nepali team in 20, but Pawan Sarraf deals a four at 19.5 to elevate the score to 77 for 5. A no-ball concedes two bonus points to Team Nepal at 20.1 and the team only manages 2 runs. Team Nepal is taking risks by running with the ball not even 10 yards out, and they continue defending their wickets. Pawan and Anil have a confident partnership and promise a long run. However, Qais Ahmad Kamawal is not having this and succeeds to dismiss Pawan Sarraf at 22.2.

Mujeeb dismisses two wickets in Over 24, first Anil Kumar at 23.1, Kishor replaces and then Kishor is bowled at 23.4, with Kamal Singh Airee replacing. Team Afghanistan is relentless in their quest to win. Qais bowls Kamal Airee at 24.1 at 86 for 8. Sandeep Lamichhane swings a boundary 4 and makes a single run to end the over at 91 for 9. Team Nepal bring in Shahab Alam to partner Sandeep and Over 26 sees 4 bonus points with a single run by Sandeep. The pair hang on for the next two overs, managing to make 8 runs before Shahab Alam the 10th wicket falls to Qais Ahmad at 27.6 for a score of 103. It is 11.50am.

Second innings

Team Afghanistan sends in Ibrahim Zardan and Rahmanullah to bat first and Team Nepal fields, sending in Sandeep Lamichhane to cause some grief. Rahmanullah swings a four in the very first bowl, is it an omen for the game to come? In cricket, everyone says, anything can happen. After another single, Team Nepal closes the over triumphant with no more runs. Kamal Singh Airee bowls second and succeeds to curb the runs, Team Afghanistan managing only two at 2 and another 3 at over 3.

A boundary 4 by Rahmanullah off Kamal Airee sets the score to 15 for 0, another two 4s by Rahmanullah in Over 5, lights up the score to 24 for 0. Not taking this lightly, Kamal Airee bowls Ibrahim Zadran at 5.1 and delivers dot balls to the batting team for the rest of 6. Dipendra bowls next to Rahmanullah to concede a boundary 4 and 6 to Team Afghanistan hiking up the score to 34 for 1. A series of dotballs dominate Over 8 with Team Afghan only managing two runs, and fare little better in the next over with 3 runs and 3 dot balls.

Rahmanullah stops this dry spell with a boundary 4 early in 9, and 3 singles, and more singles dominate in Over 11 to run up the score to 50 for 1. Kamal Airee bowls to Rahmanullah-Ikram Ali pair in Over 12 and concedes only 3 runs but the pair make more sprints in 13 to land 5 singles.

Not satisfied with these singles, Rahmanullah swings double 4s in Over 14 and with two more singles, the Afghan team is clearly sprinting fast towards the 100 mark. Another boundary 4 is swung by Rahmanullah early in 15 and the over ends with a single plus 2 bonus points for a bye. Team Afghanistan can no doubt swing more boundaries, but with a target of 104 it seems likely that they will reach that very soon, their confidence clearly seen. The score at 16 overs is 78 for 1. Over 17 sees 14 runs being made off Shahab Alam’s bowls, to see a score of 92 for 1. With 12 runs to go, Ikram and Rahmanullah make 2 runs in 18.

The rain came earlier today than yesterday. With barely any warning, it began to pour at 12.40pm, immediately stopping the play. Who will win this match is not up for guessing anymore. Team Afghanistan is 10 runs away from the target at the 18th over with 9 batsmen in hand. The odds just cannot get any better for Team Afghanistan.

The match resumes at 3.08pm with the start of Over 19 and no revised target. Team Nepal is fielding and Team Afghan batting. Pawan Sarraf bowls Ikhram Ali Khilat 18.2, Darwish Rasool replaces and Rahmanullah earns 2 runs. Sandeep bowls Rahmanullah at 19.1 with the score of 96 for 3. The wickets are falling. Is it too little too late for Nepal? Over 20 ends with 5 dot balls and 1 wicket. Darwish evens the score to 102 for 3 swinging a beautiful 6 at 20.1 and another 6 at 20.3 ending the match at 108 for 3. Afghanistan won by 7 wickets and will go against Pakistan on Sunday 19th November in the final match of the ACC U19 Youth Asia Cup.

Day 8: Nov 17, 2017

SF2: Afghanistan v Nepal at Kinrara
Afghanistan won the toss and elected to field
Nepal: 103 all out off 28 overs (A.Sah 50; M.UrRahman 6-28)
Afghanistan: 108 for 3 off 20.3 overs (R.Gurbaz 71)

Tournament page

Photos by Vincent Phoon
Filed November 17th, 2017