Sunday, March 3, 2024

Pakistan beat Bangladesh to reach U19 World Cup semi-finals

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Pakistan have qualified for the 2024 ICC U19 World Cup semi-finals after beating Bangladesh by five runs in their second Super Six game in Benoni, South Africa.

The Boys in Green joined India, Australia and South Africa, who cemented their place in the final four of the competition yesterday.

Saad Baig and Co. managed to pull a sensational win as they defended a low score of 155. 17-year-old Ubaid Shah again led from the front, bagging a fifer while Ali Raza took three crucial wickets.

Mohammad Zeeshan took the final wicket to hand Pakistan a great win over the Tigers.

Remember, Pakistan are unbeaten in the tournament with five wins. They defeated Afghanistan, Nepal and New Zealand in the group stage while thumping Ireland and Bangladesh in the Super Six stage.

Earlier, Bangladesh won the toss and elected to bowl, sending Pakistan in to bat. After negotiating the initial overs, Shahzaib Khan and Shamyl Hussain displayed their attacking prowess. Although Hussain took charge in run-scoring, he succumbed to a Rohanat Doullah Borson delivery that sharply deviated and crashed into his off stump.

While Pakistan reached a relatively secure 50/1 by the conclusion of the first Powerplay, the Tigers made a comeback in the middle overs. Led by Borson and Sheikh Jibon, they dismantled the top and middle order of the Pakistani side, with the team losing their sixth wicket at 89. The batting innings never recovered from this setback, failing to complete their allotted overs.

Jibon and Borson emerged as the most effective bowlers for Bangladesh, both finishing with identical figures of 4/24.

Pakistan’s Ubaid Shah mounted a comeback with two quick wickets upfront, including the aggressive Jishan Alam. He later secured a third wicket, dismissing Ahrar Amin, whose edge from the first slip was skillfully caught by Haroon Arshad. Ubaid’s third wicket marked Bangladesh’s fourth, prompting the need for Ariful Islam and Md Shihab James to stabilize the innings.

However, Ariful fell in the subsequent over, almost dispatching an Ali Raza delivery past point, only to be intercepted by Shamyl, who took a spectacular catch at point. In the 20th over, Ubaid claimed his fourth victim, reducing Bangladesh to 83/6.

Shihab and debutant Mahfuzur Rahman set about rebuilding the chase, with 73 runs still required. Shihab took the lead in scoring, while Mahfuzur held firm at the other end. Shihab had a fortunate escape in the 29th over when Ubaid couldn’t secure a straightforward catch.

But, Ubaid made amends in the very next over by dismissing Shihab. Ali Raza chipped in shortly after, putting Pakistan back in control.

Pakistan were on the verge of victory when a direct hit secured the ninth wicket at 127. However, Borson and Maruf Mridha fought on for the final wicket, bringing Bangladesh close with only six runs needed to win by the 37th over.

Mohammad Zeeshan, however, forced Maruf to fend one back onto his stumps, sealing the win for Pakistan.

Pakistan will play South Africa in the semi-finals while India lock horns against Australia.

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