Afghanistan’s consistent rise in cricket has been witnessed with the fight they have put even against some of the top teams in International cricket and also at the Under-19 level. On Friday, the Afghanistan U19 side crushed the Pakistan U19 team on the opening day of the ACC Under-19 Asia Cup in Malaysia. Afghanistan cruised to a huge 7-wicket win by chasing down Pakistan’s total of 57 in just 9.1 overs.
This wasn’t the first time Afghanistan U19s have defeated Pakistan U19s. Even in the previous U19 Asia Cup, they got the better of Pakistanis by 21 runs. In 2014, they defeated Pakistan in their own backyard in three One-Day games including a bilateral series which they won by a 2-1 margin. However, none of their previous meetings come under official Youth ODI cricket records as Afghanistan wasn’t a full member nation before June this year.
After electing to field first, Afghanistan picked up three Pakistan wickets for just one run as Mujeeb Zadran, the off-spinner who recently recorded figures of 7/19 bagged two in his first over. Captain Naveen-ul-Haq and Yosuf Zazi picked up two wickets apiece to reduce the opposition to 31/6. Mujeeb, who bowled all his ten overs in a single spell picked up three wickets in the space of five balls in his 9th over to complete a 5-wicket haul. On the final ball of his spell, Mujeeb took the last man standing, Muhammed Taha, the top scorer for Pakistan U19s with 14.
Records kept tumbling.
Mujeeb Zadran ended up with figures of 10-2-23-6 and also became the first bowler to take two 6-wicket hauls in Youth ODIs. So far, 30 players have taken a 6-wicket haul in Youth ODIs but only Mujeeb added one more to his tally. In his six Youth ODIs so far, the 16-year-old bagged 23 wickets which include two 6-fers and a 4-fer.
Pakistan, who were bowled out for just 57 in the 20 overs, recorded their lowest total in Youth ODIs. Their previous lowest total was 70 against England back in 1988. This was also the lowest total for any team against Afghanistan in this format surpassing Bangladesh U19s’ total of 75 last month. Pakistan’s top three getting out for ducks was only the 3rd such occasion in Youth ODIs for any side after Australia against South Africa in 2000 and Sri Lanka against Pakistan in 2008.
Chasing a low total, Afghanistan lost a couple of quick wickets in their attempt to warp it up early and enhance the NRR. However, they reached the target with 40.5 overs to spare for the loss of three wickets. This was the joint 4th biggest win for any side in Youth ODIs in terms of balls to spare and the biggest against Pakistan. Sri Lanka defeated the Pakistani side with 109 balls to spare in 2001 when they chased down the 127-run target in 31.5 overs losing only three wickets.