Pakistan U23 claimed a thrilling two-wicket win over Afghanistan to open their account in Group A at the Asian Cricket Council’s Emerging Teams Cup in Singapore.
Having lost to India U23 in their opening match, Pakistan made a good start to a low run-chase before a flurry of late dismissals complicated matters. However, they achieved the target of 143 in the penultimate over with just two wickets remaining.
After opting to field first, Pakistan bowled out Afghanistan for just 142 in 49.3 overs, following another impressive show by left-arm spinner Raza Hasan, who took three wickets for 27 runs from 9.3 overs. Nearly all Afghanistan batsmen struggled against the bowling attack except for Hashmatullah Shaidi who remained unbeaten on 52. Captain Mohammad Nabi (21) was the only other notable scorer.
Apart from Hasan, Usman Qadir and Mohammad Nawaz were also impressive, bagging two wickets each.
Pakistan were 93 for two at one stage after valuable contributions from Umar Waheed (43), Azeem Ghumman (39) and Babar Azam (28), before the wickets started falling at regular intervals.
Hammad Azam’s side was reduced to 137 for eight as the match hung in the balance, before wicket-keeper Mohammad Rizwan held his nerve to take Pakistan to victory off a no-ball.
Waheed was named man of the match for his 43-run knock.
Meanwhile, the UAE pummeled Singapore by nine wickets in a Group B match. Batting first, Singapore scored 162 in 48 overs with the UAE chasing the target comfortably in just 27.3 overs after an unbeaten 119 from Shaiman Anwar.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 20th, 2013.