U-19 WORLD CUP: Spinners storm Afghanistan into semi-finals
SUMMARY: Afghanistan 309-6 (Gurbaz 69, Ibrahim 68, Bahir 67*, Omarzai 66) beat New Zealand 107 (Clarke 38, Mujeeb 4-14, Ahmad 4-33) by 202 runs.
Afghanistan sprung a surprise on New Zealand by handing them a massive 202-run drubbing in Christchurch to storm into the semi-finals of Under-19 World Cup. Afghanistan not only scored 309 after opting to bat, they then routed New Zealand in under 30 overs to register their third win in four matches of the tournament and set up a semi-final clash against Australia.
Afghanistan’s innings was marked not by an individual effort but by several useful partnerships. Openers Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran set the tone with a stand of 117 runs in just over 20 overs.
Gurbaz was the quicker of the two with his 69 off 67 balls, studded with seven fours and three sixes, and Ibrahim stroked a patient 68 off 98 balls. They lost two wickets in quick succession before No. 4 Bahir Shah took over to pile on more runs with the lower order even as Afghanistan were 226 for 5 in the 45th over.
From there, Bahir and Azmatullah Omarzai smashed 79 runs in under six overs to storm them past 300, highlighted by two sixes in each of the 47th, 49th and the 50th over – all struck by Omarzai, who hammered 66 off only 23 balls. Bahir remained unbeaten on 67 off 72.
New Zealand’s chase started on a poor note as an in-form Rachin Ravindra was run out for a duck in the second over. Off-spinner Mujeeb Zadran, who has already played ODIs and the BPL, dented them further by rattling the stumps of opener Jacob Bhula (5) and captain Kaylum Boshier for a duck.
New Zealand then slipped from 18-3 to 20-4 before Katene Clarke (38) and Dale Phillips (31) put on 66 runs for the fifth wicket. But leg-spinner Qais Ahmad trapped both batsmen lbw in the space of three deliveries and New Zealand never recovered from 86-6.
Mujeeb and Ahmad wiped out the tail too and finished with 4-14 and 4-33 respectively. (ESPNCricinfo)