LAHORE: Fast bowler Zeeshan Zemeer’s five-wicket haul backed by a fine 81-run knock by Mohammad Shehzad steered Pakistan to a nail-biting two-wicket victory over arch-rivals India in their group ‘A’ match of the U-19 Asia Cup in Dubai on Saturday.
Chasing 238 for victory, Pakistan achieved their target off the very last ball when Ahmed Khan drove Indian pacer Ravi Kumar for a boundary.
Earlier, right-handed Shehzad played a fighting knock off 105 balls while striking five sixes and four fours.
At 230-7, Pakistan required eight runs for victory in the final over. On the first ball of the over, Pakistan lost Zeeshan, who was the wrecker-in-chief of the Indian innings with five wickets, for a duck to Ravi. But Ahmed (29 not out) with Ali Asfand (1 not out) survived the tense moments and achieved the target on the last ball.
Besides Shehzad and Ahmed, other notable scorers for Pakistan were Maaz Sadaqat (29, four fours), Irfan Khan (32, three fours) and Rizwan Mehmood (29).
For India, pacer Raj Bawa was the main wicket-taker with four for 56.
Earlier after being put into bat, India made a moderate total of 237 all out in 49 overs. Wicket-keeper/batsman Aaradhya Yadav top-scored with an 83-ball 50 containing three fours while opener Harnoor Singh made 46 off 59.
Right-armer Zeeshan was expensive conceding 60 runs in 10 overs but captured five wickets including that of Yadav. Awais Ali claimed 2-43 in his eight overs.
Shehzad for his brilliant match-winning innings was named man-of-the-match.
Pakistan have remained unbeaten so far in the event winning both their matches to lead the group ‘A’ table with four points.
India are second on net-run-rate basis followed by Afghanistan; both have two points each and they are to play each other in the last match, which will decide the second semi-finalist from this group.
In their next match Pakistan face the UAE on Monday.
From group ‘B’, Bangladesh have also qualified for the semi-finals as top team while second-placed Sri Lanka (two points) have bright chances to qualify for the semi-finals. Sri Lanka are to face as to face Nepal and Kuwait in their remaining group matches.
Published in Dawn, December 26th, 2021