Pakistan Set Up Final With India

Super League Semi-Final

With the senior Pakistan side currently ravaged by both injury and outplayed by rivals India, it will come as some welcome relief to fans that their Under-19 side is faring a little better, having fought back from a precipitous position to hammer Australia in the second Super League semi-final in Colombo today. Their next task is perhaps even tougher than that the full side has been confronted with in recent days: India, red-hot on the field and bristling with talent, await in Sunday’s final.

However Pakistan’s 163-run victory today is far from as straightforward as the scores suggest. Batting first after winning the toss, Pakistan were in total free-fall at 80 for five on a relatively flat-track, with Australian seamers Moises Henriques (3-58) and Adam Ritchard (2-71) doing the majority of the early damage. The wicket of opener Nasir Jamshed was particularly impressive, with keeper Matthew Wade making a stunning leg-side stumping off Ritchard. After the first ball of the sixteenth over, when Rameez Raja was involved in an Inzamam-esque run out, Pakistan dominated the game in all areas. Ali Asad, a left-hander from Karachi, and Riaz Kail, a 17-year-old from Peshawar, piled on a further 160 runs to wipe off the Australian advantage. On a pitch expected, as many have done in this tournament, to take spin, both Australian spinners failed to deliver and were clipped away over the infield and milked for singles. Simon Keen did however have some eventual success, dismissing Ali for an 86-ball 69, and bowling Riaz, for 84 off 99 balls, in the same over. But the damage, physical and psychological, was done, and Pakistan sat high atop a total of 287 for 9.

Pakistan’s pace attack has been touted by many as the best in the tournament, and that was certainly evident when the nippy Jamshed Ahmed dismissed opener Tom Cooper in the third over, caught behind by captain Sarfraz Ahmed. Opposition skipper and pivotal batsman Henriques followed soon after, castled by Jamshed, and the Australian chase looked mired before it had ignited. A brief revival, led by Usman Khawaja, took Australia to safer ground at 53 without further loss, before Wade was run out by some sharp return fielding by bowler Anwar Ali. Khawaja continued to fight a lonely struggle, but when Ali Asad added to his earlier batting heroics with pinpoint throw from backward point, the innings subsided; Usman Malik (3-17) and Imad Wasim (3-16) profiting the most from some tired and careless Australian batting, which was eventually bowled out for 124 in just 32.3 overs.

R. Premadasa Stadium, Colombo
Pakistan 287-8 (50)
Ali Asad 69, Riaz Kail 87; Moises Henriques 3-58
Australia 124 all out (32.3)
Usman Khawaja 59; Usman Malik 3-17, Imad Wasim 3-16
Pakistan won by 163 runs

13th Place Play-Off

Uganda finally put together a decent batting performance to beat Scotland, registering their first win of the tournament in the process. Patrick Ochan was key man for the Africans, striking an 81-ball 64 as Uganda set Scotland a target of 215, before dismissing three of the Namibian top-six to complete a 69-run victory. Emmanuel Isaneez provided both valuable support and late fireworks with a run-a-ball 41, adding 65 with Ochan, and then cleaned up the Scottish tail to finish with 4 for 20. Uganda were in a superb position at 133 for three, but a mid-innings fightback from Umair Mohammed (3-38) and Moneeb Iqbal (0-23) limited their expansion before Isaneez took charge. The Scottish batting performance can only be described as feeble: five batsmen made starts, but none could secure a major score, and they will be eager to return home from what has been a disappointing tournament.

P. Saravanamuttu Stadium, Colombo
Uganda 214-9 (50)
Patrick Ochan 64; Gordon Goudie 3-40
Scotland 145 all out (40)
Emmanuel Isaneez 4-20, Patrick Ochan 3-29
Uganda won by 69 runs

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