u-19 Cricket World Cup On The Go

Get all the tournament action on your phone and tablet

powered by

12 February 201617:15 By Manoj Narayan, Cox's Bazar

Tariq Stanikzai steers Afghanistan to Plate title

Batsman’s unbeaten 106 helps his side chase down Zimbabwe’s 217-run target to finish ninth in U19 World Cup

Tariq Stanikzai steers Afghanistan to Plate title
 - Cricket News

It was Afghanistan’s first Plate trophy, having been defeated in the final against Sri Lanka Under-19 in 2012.

Fittingly, the final of the Plate Championship in the ICC Under-19 World Cup 2016 was a close contest. Tariq Stanikzai’s fine, unbeaten 142-ball 106 added polish to the occasion as Afghanistan Under-19 held off a spirited Zimbabwe Under-19 at the Sheikh Kamal International Stadium to win by five wickets and finish ninth in the ICC Under-19 World Cup.

Zimbabwe faced a collapse after opting to bat, before half-centuries from Ryan Murray (53 off 49) and William Mashinge (66 off 92) helped them post 216 for 9, propping up the innings after Zia-ur-Rehman and Muslim Musa returned three wickets apiece. Afghanistan weren’t entirely comfortable in the chase and Tariq witnessed a procession from his partners before Rashid Khan arrived to add stability, scoring an unbeaten 50-ball 55 and putting on an unbroken 95 runs that took Afghanistan through in 46.5 overs.

It was Afghanistan’s first Plate trophy, having been defeated in the final against Sri Lanka Under-19 in 2012.

It was always going to be a tricky chase though. Afghanistan’s chase began with Karim Janat falling in the third over, and if not for Tariq, it could have ended quite differently. He was the enforcer, a powerful combo of power and agility that made for quite a sight. However, Zimbabwe kept chipping away and was always in with a chance, at least till Tariq and Rashid got together.

After Karim’s early dismissed to Kundai Matigimu, Ihsanullah hung around to provide brief support as Tariq took responsibility for keeping the scoreboard moving. They had added 38 before Ihsanullah was dismissed by Rugare Magarira. Perwez Malakzai scored a 35-ball 13 before falling to Brandon Mavuta and when Ikram Faizi and Shamsurrahman walked back in quick succession, Afghanistan was precariously placed, needing 94 runs more.

However, Rashid arrived and showed why he’s already a full international. He had batted in similar situations for the senior side, and he did so again here. He was adept at putting away the boundaries – there was a lot of muscle in a couple of sixes lofted over cover – and his knock released the pressure on Tariq. It meant Zimbabwe rarely came close to a breakthrough as the two batsmen plundered the boundaries. Rashid got a half-century in 45 balls, and shortly thereafter, Tariq completed a fine hundred, off 142 balls. He then sealed victory with six, leading to scenes of much jubilation.

Earlier, Mavuta, the Zimbabwe captain, had made the somewhat surprising decision to bat though his side has been successful chasing. Zimbabwe was in trouble early on, reduced to 15 for 3 as Zia-ur-Rehman spun a web of deception. He had both Brendan Sly and Jeremy Ives beaten and bowled, after Shaun Snyder picked out a fielder. It seemed as though another collapse was in the works, but Murray put in his best performance of the tournament since an unbeaten century against Bangladesh in the warm-ups.

Murray played the ball as late as possible, leaning heavily on his back foot to drive and pull – anything fractionally short or wide, he sent to the ropes. He put on 45 with Mavuta for the fourth wicket.

Even Rashid struggled against Murray with his legspin – he kept pitching it short, hoping for a miscue, but on the day, Murray was connecting well. His half-century came in just 43 balls, even as Mavuta fell to Tariq, while attempting to attack. Unperturbed, Murray carried on. He put on 25 with Mashinge, but met his end when he went on the front foot to Rashid, edging him to first slip.

His knock, however, had galvanised Zimbabwe. Mashinge took on the aggressor’s role, and though he didn’t do much in terms of boundaries, he worked the gaps and kept the runs flowing. He rebuilt the innings expertly, taking the lead in stands of 31 with Wesley Madhevere for the sixth wicket and 66 with Adam Keefe for the seventh.

It meant Zimbabwe finished the innings better than how it had started, but it proved insufficient.

Click here to view the full scorecard.