Ahmad Hassan shines in Pakistan U19's win over Ireland U19

Pakistan U19 stumbled in the chase of 182 but Ahmad Hassan ensured his team’s victory with a responsible unbeaten half-century

Ahmad Hassan shines in Pakistan U19's win over Ireland U19 PHOTO: PCB

Pakistan U19 got over the line against Ireland U19 in a low-scoring match by three wickets in hand in their first fixture of the Super Six stage. Pakistan U19 stumbled in the chase of 182 but Ahmad Hassan ensured his team’s victory with a responsible unbeaten half-century.

After being asked to bat first, Ireland’s opening batters, Jordan Neill (4, 17b) and Ryan Hunter (10, 28b, 1x4) put on a partnership of just seven runs as Ubaid Shah drew first blood for Pakistan U19. The right-arm pacer induced a top edge from Neill’s bat and pouched it safely. Meanwhile, Hunter was removed by pacer Ali Raza as Amir Hassan took a low catch at mid-on.

Gavin Roulston (7, 21b, 1x4) too departed a couple of overs later as Ahmad Hassan lured him into a drive, which resulted in a nick caught behind by Saad Baig. Ireland skipper, Philippus le Roux only lasted for three runs after facing 16 balls, as he too fell to Ahmad.

Ireland found themselves reeling at 39-5 in 18.1 overs following Kian Hilton’s dismissal for 12. Scott MacBeth (16, 19b, 3x4s) hit three boundaries in his 19-ball stay at the crease but he fell to Ubaid who returned for his second spell.

John McNally joined forces with Harry Dyer to rebuild the Ireland innings and stitched a 65-run seventh-wicket partnership. Dyer (31, 41b, 2x4s) was caught at deep square off the bowling of Haroon in an attempt to play a slog sweep as Ahmad took the running catch.

McNally (53, 81b, 2x4s) brought up a fine half-century before falling prey to Ali Raza. Ireland were bundled out for 181 in 48.4 overs after Oliver Riley’s (18, 24b, 1x6) stumps were shattered by Amir.

Ubaid was again at his best as he bagged three wickets while Amir, Ali Raza and Ahmad returned with two wickets each. Haroon chipped in with one scalp.

In reply, Pakistan’s opening batters got off to a cautious start with a 24-run partnership before Shahzaib Khan (11, 25b, 1x4) was caught at slip off the bowling of Reuben Wilson. Soon, Shamyl Hussain (7, 11b) too miscued one that was taken by wicket-keeper Ryan Hunter.

Left-hand batters, Azan Awais (21, 41b, 2x4s) and Saad Baig (25, 44b, 3x4s) put on a 47-run third-wicket partnership to steer Pakistan out of trouble. Off-spinner Harry Dyer pinned Azan leg before wicket while breaching Saad’s defenses to leave Pakistan 78-4 in 21.2 overs.

Ubaid Shah, promoted to bat at six, too fell to Dyer after scoring eight off 10, including a boundary, as Pakistan struggled at 96-5 in 24 overs.

With the Ireland bowling running riot, Ahmad Hassan and Haroon Arshad bailed out Pakistan in the tricky situation. The duo put on a 63-run sixth-wicket partnership while inching closer to the target. Haroon fell after contributing 25 off 34 balls with the help of one boundary while Ahmad kept Pakistan U19 in the game while holding the fort at one end.

With a total of 20 runs away from the target, Pakistan U19 also lost Arafat Minhas (3, 12b) as Dyer bagged his fourth wicket of the game. Ahmad crossed the fifty-run mark while Ali Asfand contributed with two vital boundaries scoring an unbeaten nine off 15 balls. Ahmad remained undefeated on 57 off 72 balls to see Pakistan home in a challenging run-chase with just three wickets left.

Apart from Dyer’s four-wicket haul, Wilson, Riley and Neill took one wicket each.

Pakistan U19 will face Bangladesh U19 in their second Super Six fixture on 3 February at Benoni.

Scores in brief:

Pakistan U19 beat Ireland U19 by three wickets

Ireland U19 181 all out, 48.4 overs (John McNally 53, Harry Dyer 31; Ubaid Shah 3-31, Ali Raza 2-18, Amir Hassan 2-34, Ahmad Hassan 2-37)

Pakistan U19 182-7, 43.4 overs (Ahmad Hassan 57 not out, Haroon Arshad 25, Saad Baig 25; Harry Dyer 4-35, Jordan Neill 1-11)

Player of the match – Ahmad Hassan (Pakistan U19)