KARACHI: Pakistan were gifted the third position in the ongoing ICC U19 World Cup after their third-place match with Afghanistan was abandoned due to rain without a ball being bowled on Thursday.
Pakistan finished on the first position in their group D with four points (net run-rate: 1.404) from three matches courtesy two wins and one defeat.
Afghanistan, who were in the same group as Pakistan, had four points as well, but were second in the group due to their lower net run-rate (0.333).
This led Pakistan to bag the third place in the tournament due to a better position in the group matches.
“Finishing third in the tournament is an achievement, but it is not something we were looking forward to,” Pakistan captain Hassan Khan told The Express Tribune. “We wanted to be in the final. We planned each game separately, but unfortunately we were not able to go till the end and win the tournament.”
The 19-year-old added that he is happy that Pakistan finished the tournament on a better position than the last tournament.
“In the last U19 World Cup, we finished on the fifth spot and moving up two spots up this year is somehow satisfactory, but still we, as a strong cricketing nation, should have qualified for the final,” he said.
Pakistan received a heavy thrashing from India when they lost by 203 runs in the semi-final trying to chase a 272-run target and Hassan rued the chances they missed in the match.
“We played well in the tournament but missed so many chances which led to defeats in two matches [against Afghanistan in the group match and in the semi-final against India]. Especially in the semi-final against India we committed so many blunders. We missed so many chances; if we could have availed those, the story would have been much different.”
Hassan also dismissed claims that they were under pressure in the last-four match against arch-rivals. “We were not really under pressure against India. We just missed a few chances that we should have taken, and that was our failure in that match. India displayed a better performance and they won,” he said.
Pakistan U19 captain promised better performances in the future by him and his teammates considering they learned ‘a lot’ from the experience.
“We have learned a lot from this tournament and will be working to improve further and remove any weaknesses in our game,” he said. “All of us will be looking to improve our skills, stay fit to prepare ourselves for the future.”
The final of the tournament will take place between Australia and India on Saturday, February 3 at the Bay Oval.
There is no reserve day for the final and the trophy will be shared if the match is abandoned due to rain.