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U-19 World Cup: A recap of Afghanistan's dominance over Pakistan
ICC Under 19 World Cup

U-19 World Cup: A recap of Afghanistan's dominance over Pakistan

Pakistan confront their biggest challenge thus far in the ongoing ICC Under-19 World Cup with the high-stakes quarter-final clash against Group D-toppers Afghanistan.

The intensity witnessed in encounters between the two nations' senior teams, often trickles down to contests among their junior sides as well.

The much-anticipated knockout fixture promises to be a fierce match-up amongst the neighbouring rivals vying to clinch a spot in the semi-final against defending champions India.

While both teams seem more or less evenly matched in terms of quality, history has not been too kind on Pakistan when it comes to their head-to-head record against Afghanistan.

A total of six completed matches have taken place between the two with Afghanistan romping to victory in the last four games. This dominance may serve as motivation for the young Afghan stars as their relentless spin barrage has been the undoing of Pakistan teams in the past.

Equipped with a talented wrist-spinner in Shafiqullah Ghafari, they might be able to turn the tide in their favour once again.

Pakistan's four losses to Afghanistan include the following:

ACC Under-19 Asia Cup 2017

Pakistan U-19: 57 all out (Mujeeb Ur Rahman 6/23)

Afghanistan U-19: 62/3 (Nisar Wahdat 25*)

Pakistan's group stage defeat to Afghanistan at Kuala Lumpur was an absolute disaster as they completely faltered against the guile of then 16-year-old Mujeeb Ur Rahman.

The tournament that ultimately catapulted Mujeeb into the international arena, Pakistan were undone by the guile of the off-spinner, who wreaked havoc right from the start with the new ball.

Just three members of Pakistan's line-up were able to reach double figures as they were shot out for 57 inside 20 overs.

Such was the magnitude of the destruction unleashed by Mujeeb that much-hyped leggie Qais Ahmad was not even introduced into the attack.

Afghanistan U-19: 248/7 (Ikram Alikhil 107*, Muhammad Musa 3/46)

Pakistan U-19: 63 all out (Mujeeb Ur Rahman 5/13, Qais Ahmad 3/18)

Pakistan's batting card in the Asia Cup final mirrored their abysmal performance in the Group B defeat to the same opponents.

The momentum was with Afghanistan by the end of the first innings when Ikram Alikhil, who later made his international debut, held together his side with a stunning century.

Pakistan's pace duo of Shaheen Shah Afridi and Muhammad Musa were neutralised by Alikhil's captivating lone hand.

In reply, it was once again Mujeeb at the forefront of his team's sublime bowling display. He snapped a five-wicket haul as Afghanistan grabbed their first-ever U-19 Asia Cup title.

ICC Under-19 World Cup 2018

Pakistan U-19: 188 all out (Rohail Nazir 81, Azmatullah Omarzai 3/34)

Afghanistan U-19: 194/5 (Darwish Rasooli 76*)

The Cobham Oval fixture saw sizeable Afghan support in the stadium galvanising the young troops into action as they completed yet another remarkable win.

Afghanistan faced a tougher challenge this time around but were supported by pacer Azmatullah Omarzai and leg-spinner Qais, who combined to cause a spectacular Pakistan batting collapse.

Rohail Nazir's half-century had guided Pakistan to a solid position at 146-3 with still a lot of overs to go, however, they lost their last seven wickets for just 42 runs.

In pursuit of the tricky target, Darwish Rasooli showed nerves of steel to shepherd his team over the line against quality bowling.

ACC Under-19 Asia Cup 2019

Afghanistan U-19: 162/9 (Sediqullah Atal 29, Fahad Munir 3/23)

Pakistan U-19: 78 all out (Shafiqullah Ghafari 3/15)

Pakistan's most recent loss to Afghanistan came in September last year where several current members of the squad were also present.

The match, shortened to a 46-over-a-side contest due to rain, saw the likes of Naseem Shah and Aamir Ali make scoring difficult for Afghanistan.

They could barely scramble to 162-9 in the allotted overs, which proved to be far too much for Pakistan.

The Rohail Nazir-led side had no answers to Ghafari, crashing to another total less than the three-figure mark.

Ghafari's form has continued to surge ever since as he boasts a tally of 11 wickets in two games in the 2020 World Cup in South Africa.