Afghanistan, England lock horns, as they battle for tickets to the final
U19 Cricket World Cup

Afghanistan and England face off for a final spot

U19CWC

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After sneaking a close victory against Sri Lanka in the quarter-finals, Afghanistan will have to be at the top of their game to break the winning streak of unbeaten England and avoid them an easy journey to the U-19 World Cup final.

Overview

ENGU19 vs AFGU19, Super League Semi-Final 1, ICC Under 19 World Cup 2022
Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, North Sound, Antigua
February 01, 9:00am local

England became the first team to enter into the semi-finals of the ongoing U-19 World Cup. After comprehensively winning all three group stage matches, England continued their good form against South Africa in the first quarter-final of the tournament. 

Although England was coming after defeating some weaker sides in the Group Stage, they had gained enough confidence out of their performances against all three teams. The team has been exceptional in all the departments, whether asked to bat or asked to bowl they have been at the top of their game.

Video cwc19 26 Jan 22
Meeting England's rising sensation Tom Prest | 2022 ICC Men's U19 CWC

The top-order batters have shown their abilities from time to time and will look to continue the same momentum going into the semi-final against a good bowling side, Afghanistan. The England bowlers too have successfully been able to pick wickets at the right time, and the right balance of pace and spin in their bowling department could be a huge threat for the opposition.

Video cwc19 26 Jan 22
Match Highlights | ENG v SA | ICC Men’s U19 CWC 2022

Afghanistan has been a team that has stood up because of their team effort. They are coming up after a close encounter with Sri Lanka in the quarter-finals, but their performance in the group stages cannot be ignored. With their bowlers pretty much doing the job for them in all the matches, going into the semi-final against England, it will be crucial for Afghanistan batters to put up a good show.

The Afghanistan batters have to be extra careful and must look to build partnerships and avoid collapse. The Afghanistan bowlers will also have to come up with some plans and take early wickets to avoid any destruction by England's top-order batsmen.  

Remember the last time 

England in their knockout match against South Africa was asked to bowl first and the bowlers did an excellent job to bowl out South Africa for 209. Bowlers continued to take wickets and did not allow South African batsmen to settle in the middle but what they couldn't avoid was Dewald Brevis’s brilliant 97 of 88 deliveries. The left-arm medium pacer Joshua Boyden took two early wickets and straight away brought England to the driving seat. Leg Spinner Rehan Ahmed with his brilliant four wickets, did not let any of the South African middle-order batsmen settle down. 

Chasing down the total, opener Jacob Bethell was destructive from the start. The openers scored 104 runs in the first 10 overs out of which Bethell alone had contributed 83 of 39 deliveries. But his entertaining innings which included 16 fours and 2 sixes ended on 88 as he slog-sweeped one directly into the hands of the deep mid-wicket fielder and missed out on his century. South African player Dewald Brevis again came to the rescue and took 2 wickets but it wasn't enough to break the winning streak of England and won the match by 6 wickets. 

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The Digital Daily: Episode 11

In the fourth quarter-final of the U19 World Cup, the odds were heavily stacked against Afghanistan when they posted only 134 runs on the board but they produced a scintillating performance with the bowl, edging out Sri Lanka with a 4 run win. After getting bowled out for 134 runs, the Afghanistan bowlers restricted Sri Lanka for 130 in 46 overs. 

Put to bat first Afghanistan openers started slowly but once they tried to accelerate they lost their wickets. The middle-order also couldn't add any resistance and lost their wickets continuously. Middle-order batter Abdul Hadi was able to steady the ship with a crucial 37-run knock, powered by some hitting by Noor Ahmad lower down the order. 

The Afghanistan bowlers knew they had nothing to lose and they gave their all. The scenes were similar in the second innings, none of the Sri Lankan batsmen spent time in the middle and lost their wickets in quick succession. But a crucial inning by the Sri Lankan captain Dunith Wellalage (34 off 61) almost took the game away from Afghanistan. The Sri Lankan innings ended with Treveen Mathew being run out and Afghanistan won the match by four runs entering the semi-finals.

Video ICC Under 19 Cricket World Cup 28 Jan 22
Finals moments of a thrilling game | AFG v SL | ICC U19 Men’s CWC 2022

What They Said

Suliman Safi (after their quarter-final victory): “The boys played very well, congratulations to the entire nation. I told the boys that 130 target isn't enough but is a big total for us. The bowlers bowled really well and the fielders were great. We would focus on our batting. We'll work hard and play our natural game (against England).”

Tom Prest (after their quarter-final victory): “We started really well with the ball again. To knock those runs away the way we did was really special. He (Brevis) is obviously a special player and to get out when he did, was a crucial wicket for us. He (Rehan) has done really well with the ball and although we didn't see him with the bat today, he'll be keen to do that as well. Jacob is a very talented player for us. If we got 60 off the powerplay, we would have been happy but to get 100, can't ask more from the openers. Unbelievable feeling (to get to the semi-final).”

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