Saad Baig’s fifty goes in vain as UAE down Pakistan in Under-19 Asia Cup semis

By our correspondent
LAHORE: UAE U19 inflicted a 11-run defeat on Pakistan U19 in the ACC U19 Asia Cup semi-final held at ICC Academy Ground in Dubai. Pakistan U19 restricted UAE U19 to 193 in 47.5 overs, courtesy of a four-wicket haul by right-arm quick Ubaid Shah. In reply, captain Saad Baig’s half-century went in vain as Pakistan fell 12 short of the target.

Saad won the toss and invited UAE U19 to bat first. Akshat Rai and Aryansh Sharma opened the batting for UAE U19. Right-arm pacer Ubaid Shah landed an early blow as he removed Rai (6, 14b) cheaply.

Left-arm pacer Amir Hassan got Tanish Suri (12, 22b, 2x4s) out and right-arm quick Mohammad Zeeshan dismissed Dhruv Parashar (12, 15b, 1×4) shortly after, to bring UAE U19 to 75-3 in 17 overs. Left-arm spinner Arafat Minhas struck in the very next over as he dismissed Maroof Merchant for a duck.

Ubaid returned to the attack to remove Sharma, who had been the set batter on the crease. He fell four short of a half-century and had to walk back after scoring a fighting 70-ball-46, including six boundaries.

Ethan D’Souza and captain Aayan Afzal Khan put up a 54-run partnership for the sixth wicket to bring some stability to the innings. Ali Asfand brought an end to the partnership, as D’Souza was caught by Riazullah Khan off his bowling after hitting 37 from 63 including two fours and a six.

Aayan went on to hit a quick half-century (55, 57b, 7x4s), combatting the pressure mounted by the strong Pakistan U19 bowling attack. The UAE U19 captain was the last wicket to fall, with his team all out for 193.

Ubaid was the pick of the bowlers, returning with four scalps to his name. Left-arm spinners Ali and Arafat both had two wickets while fast bowlers Zeeshan and Amir had one apiece.

Pakistan U19 opening duo failed to provide a good start with the side reduced to 22-2 after 5.2 overs; Shamyl Hussain fell to Omid for a duck and Shahzaib Khan was stumped off Hardik’s bowling after just scoring 11 from 14.

Azan Awais and Saad Baig led the recovery job for the team. The two batted together for 83 runs to take Pakistan U19 to a comfortable position. Leg-spinner Ammar Badami provided the breakthrough with Saad LBW after scoring a swift half-century (50, 52b, 4x4s, 1×6).

Pakistan U19 felt their momentum break after the fall of their captain. Four quick wickets followed; Azan (41, 71b, 5x4s), Arafat (8, 12b, 1×4) and Najab Khan (3, 13b) were run out and Riazullah (4, 10b) fell to Hardik as the team was reduced to 127-7 in 30 overs.

The eighth-wicket stand between Ali Asfand and Amir Hassan yielded 44 runs, which brought Pakistan U19 in touching distance of the target. The partnership was cut short when Amir (27, 47b, 2x4s, 1×6) was caught off Dhruv Parashar’s bowling.

Ubaid was the last man to fall as Pakistan U19 were bowled out for 182 in the last over.

UAE U19 will face Bangladesh U19 in the final of the ACC U19 Asia Cup, scheduled to take place on 17 December at Dubai International Cricket Stadium.

Scores in brief:

UAE U19 beat Pakistan U19 by 11 runs

UAE U19 193 all out, 47.5 overs (Aayan Afzal Khan 55, Aryansh Sharma 46, Ethan D’Souza 37; Ubaid Shah 4-44, Arafat Minhas 2-28, Ali Asfand 2-29)

Pakistan U19 182 all out, 49.3 overs (Saad Baig 50, Azan Awais 41; Ayman Ahamed 2-18, Hardik Pai 2-35, Ammar Badami 1-15, Dhruv Parashar 1-29, Omid Rehman 1-48)

Player of the match – Aayan Afzal Khan (UAE U19

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