Courtesy of ESPNcricinfo
Afghanistan Under-19s pulled off a major upset by defeating Australia Under-19s by 36 runs in Abu Dhabi. Afghanistan’s top order were at the forefront of the victory, as Mohammad Mujtaba (75), Ihsanullah (63) and Hashmatullah Shaidi (57) all scored half-centuries to propel the team to 253. The team had lost Usman Ghani in the first over of the innings, but Ihsanullah and Mujtaba steadied the innings with a second-wicket stand worth 126 that gave Afghanistan a solid platform to build on. For Australia, James Bazley and Cameron Valente picked up three wickets each.
Australia’s captain Jaron Morgan scored 47 to give the team a decent start, but fell in the 20th over after being caught by Shaidi off his own bowling. Jake Doran and Damian Mortimer added 70 for the fourth wicket, but from 143 for 3 in the 37th over, the team were bowled out for 217 by the 48th. James Bazley blasted a 36-ball 54, but received little by way of support at the other end. Abdullah Adil was the pick of Afghanistan’s bowlers, finishing with 4 for 45, while Sharafuddin Ashraf snared three scalps.
The victory was Afghanistan’s first of the tournament, after they had opened with a loss to Bangladesh Under-19s on Saturday. Afghanistan and Australia are both tied in Group B with two points each, with Australia slightly ahead by virtue of a better net run-rate.
“I am very proud of our team, they played so well today,” Nasir Jamal, the Afghanistan captain, said, “I don’t think many people expected us to defeat Australia but we did it and we did it convincingly. We hope the people at home are enjoying the victory as much as we are – we play for our country and our people and we love to make them happy and proud. Now we have to put our heads down and try to achieve as much as we possibly can in this competition.”
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