28 January 2016
Shadab, Mohsin set up victory for Pakistan U19
Tariq's fifty goes in vain as duo bundle out Afghanistan for 126, before side overhauls target with six wickets in hand
Put in, Afghanistan struggled from the outset. It was reduced to 29 for 3 before Tariq Stanikzai and Ikram Faizi steadied ship with a 69-run stand for the fourth wicket, Tariq notching up a 76-ball 53. However, once the stand was broken, Afghanistan encountered a slide it never recovered from. It lost seven wickets for just 28 runs to set Pakistan a target of 127, with Shadab Khan (4 for 9) and Hasan Mohsin (3 for 24) its chief tormentors.
In its chase, Pakistan wasn't too troubled – it did lose four wickets, but at no point did it seem that its chase was in danger. Its batsmen stitched together mini partnerships to keep the pressure on Afghanistan, and it completed the chase in 31.4 overs.
When it chose to bat, Pakistan presumably hoped to capitalise on the early assistance on offer for the pacemen. And it did, as Afghanistan was reduced to 29 for 3 within eight overs as Mohsin, the right-arm paceman, ran riot.
Mohsin first had Naveed Obaid bowled, the batsman swinging and missing only to see his stumps disturbed for nought. Ihsanullah Janat (1), the captain, then meekly popped one to point, and when Karim Janat, who had till then dispatched five cracking fours with timing and panache, sent one to the slip cordon for a 32-ball 27, Afghanistan’s struggles were all too evident.
It was then that Tariq and Faizi went about the rebuilding job. Tariq was fluent with his drives, a couple of which split the offside field beautifully on its way to the fence. Meanwhile, Faizi was more the nurdler, poking and proding around, knowing full well that Tariq would do the scoring.
So he did, and the scoreboard was kept ticking over. When presented with space, Tariq would unleash a drive, ensuring that the pressure slowly shifted away from Afghanistan. At one point, he also sent a meaty six over long on off Ahmad Shafiq, the left-arm spinner, to edge closer to a half-century.
However, just when it seemed that the partnership would undo Pakistan’s good work, there was a breakthrough. Faizi attempted to lift one over the bowler, but Mohsin leapt high to take a fine catch and end Faizi’s 59-ball knock of 19.
The wicket prompted another collapse. In the next over, Tariq brought up his half-century with a prod to the deep – he knelt on the floor and kissed the ground – but he was soon walking back after Shadab induced an edge that bounced off the pad and to the wicketkeeper. Shamsurrahman was the next to fall, prodding one straight back to the Shadab, who then had Rashid Khan bowled. The tail then provided little to no resistance, and the innings soon came to an end.
Pakistan was in no hurry in its chase. It lost Gauhar Hafeez, the captain, early on – Zia-ur-Rehman found the offstump with his left-arm spin – but Zeeshan Malik and Mohammad Umar dug in deep and kept the scoreboard moving. The Afghanistan fielders were loud and energetic in the field, and created an atmosphere of pressure, but as long as the runs kept coming, it mattered little.
Pakistan was cruising along when Rashid Khan, the legspinner who has already made his full international debut, was finally brought on. He got the breakthrough in his first over, trapping Zeeshan in front of stumps for a 37-ball 29. However, Umar, who was content with singles up till then, decided to take the attack to the bowlers. Taking on Rashid, he guided one over mid-on for four. Two balls later, he swiveled and heaved a six over midwicket.
At the other end, Saif Badar hammered boundaries off Zahir Khan, the chinaman bowler, as Pakistan accelerated. He was run out for a 16-ball 17, but it had little effect. Umar, with Mohsin for company now, kept the runs flowing, before being bowled by Zia-ur-Rehman for a 63-ball 25. The wickets came too little too late for Afghanistan though, as Mohsin scored a 36-ball 28 to guide Pakistan to the first win of its campaign.
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