Shahzaib, Ubaid star as Pakistan start their World Cup campaign on winning note

Pakistan skipper Saad Baig won the toss and elected to bat first

Shahzaib, Ubaid star as Pakistan start their World Cup campaign on winning note PHOTO: AFP

Pakistan U19 beat Afghanistan U19 by a whopping margin of 181 runs in their opening contest of the ICC Men’s U19 World Cup. Pakistan showcased an all-round performance, as opening batter Shahzaib Khan scored a brilliant ton to help the team post a decent total of 284-9 before the bowlers ran riot to bundle out Afghanistan 103 in 26.2 overs. Ubaid Shah and Zeeshan shared seven wickets among them.

Pakistan skipper Saad Baig won the toss and elected to bat first. The opening batters saw off the first powerplay before Shamyl Hussain (17, 32b, 2x4s) nicked one to the keeper bringing an end to the 36-run partnership in the 11th over. Ten balls later, Azan Awais (5, 5b, 1x4) too departed after being caught down the leg side off Khalil Ahmed.

Saad (55, 52b, 3x4s, 4x6s) and Shahzaib (106, 126b, 10x4s, 3x6s) came together to stitch a 92-run partnership for the third wicket. Saad hit a flurry of boundaries to up the ante before falling to Allah Mohammad Ghazanfar.

Ahmed Hussain (8, 11b, 1x4) was dismissed by Naseer Khan Maroofkhil with the scorecard reading 151-4 in 30.1 overs. Riazullah (46, 49b, 5x4s, 2x6s), batting at number six, made sure Pakistan kept accelerating but missed out on his half-century.

Arafat Minhas (8, 6b, 1x6) tonked a six soon after walking to the crease but had to return within a space of six balls after being caught behind. Ubaid Shah (22, 12b, 3x6s) chipped in with a valuable cameo and helped Pakistan reach 284-9 in the allotted 50 overs.

Khalil was the pick of Afghan bowlers as he took four wickets for 51 runs while Bashir Ahmad picked up two wickets. Ghazanfar and Naseer bagged one wicket each.

Afghanistan’s reply was jolted by two early blows courtesy of opening bowlers Amir Hassan and Ubaid who struck in their first overs respectively. Hassan Eisakhil (19, 29b, 4x4s) and Sohail Khan Zurmati (20, 26b, 2x4s) hung around for eight overs before the former chopped on a ball from Ubaid. All-rounder Ahmad Hussain pitched one up and managed to breach the defence of Sohail as the ball crashed into stumps.

Afghanistan kept losing wickets at regular intervals as tall fast bowler Mohammad Zeeshan struck twice in his first spell to remove wicketkeeper-batter Numan Shah (26, 31b, 2x4s, 1x6) and skipper Naseer for a seven-ball duck. Ubaid returned to dismiss Arab Gul (2, 11b). Zeeshan bagged his third wicket in the game as he took out Rahimullah Zurmati (20, 32b, 3x4s).

Afghanistan lost their last five wickets for a mere 12 runs as they were bundled out for a paltry total of 103 runs. Ubaid claimed four wickets while Amir and Ahmed returned with one wicket each.

Shahzaib was declared player of the match for his fine century. Pakistan will face Nepal U19 in their next game on 24 January at the same venue.

Scores in brief:

Pakistan U19 beat Afghanistan U19 by 181 runs

Pakistan U19 284-9, 50 overs (Shahzaib Khan 106, Saad Baig 55, Muhammad Riazullah 46, Ubaid Shah 22; Khalil Ahmed 4-51, Bashir Ahmad 2-52)

Afghanistan U19 103 all out, 26.2 overs (Numan Shah 26, Sohail Khan Zurmati 20, Rahimullah Zurmati 20; Ubaid Shah 4-26, Mohammad Zeeshan 3-17)

Player of the match – Shahzaib Khan (Pakistan U19)