Pakistan pulled off a stunning come-from-behind win over England to enter the U19 World Cup final on Monday.
Chasing a target of 205, Pakistan were 142/7 in 36.5 as some fine bowling and brilliant fielding from England tightened the noose around Sami Aslam’s men. The team's top scorer in the match Saud Shakeel (45) was also back in the hut and it seemed then that all the hard work that Pakistan had put in with the ball would go to waste.
All-rounders Amad Butt (26) and Zafar Gohar (37), however, had other ideas as they held their nerve in a 63-run partnership to take the two-time champions home in the last over of the match at the Dubai International Stadium.
A delighted Pakistan captain Sami Aslam later said: “I think some of the players played some bad shots. But I think Saud Shakeel controlled the innings well, and then Amad Butt and Zafar Gohar won us the game.
“Zafar Gohar is a very good all-rounder. We were always confident that he would win us the match. He played very sensibly and stayed till the end.”
Reflecting on the match, England captain Will Rhodes said: “Pakistan are tough opponents. We’ve played them numerous times, recently in England and I wish them the very best of luck for the final.
“We came so close that it was heartbreaking to lose the game, but this is the way cricket goes and unfortunately it didn’t go our way today.”
Scores in brief:
Super League semi-final – Pakistan beat England by three wickets at Dubai International Cricket Stadium
England 204-7, 50 overs (Will Rhodes 76 not out, Ryan Higgins 52, Ben Duckett 22; Karamat Ali 2-36, Amad Butt 2-43, Zia-ul-Haq 2-46)
Pakistan 205-7, 49.1 overs (Saud Shakeel 45, Zafar Gohar 37 not out, Ameer Hamza 35, Imam-ul-Haq 28, Amad Butt 26 not out; Matthew Fisher 2-21, Rob Sayer 2-39, Rob Jones 2-39)
Man of the match – Zafar Gohar (Pakistan)