All eyes were set on the high octane last quarter-final of the Under-19 World Cup between Pakistan and Afghanistan. This is a relatively new cricket rivalry between the neighbouring countries and the stakes are always high when these two passionate sides lock horns and today was no different.
Afghanistan, batting first, stumbled early on and wickets at regular intervals meant they could only scrap their way to 189 in 49.1 overs.
While Ibrahim Zadran nurdled a wide one to Aamir Ali Thaheem at third man on just 11, his opening partner Farhan Zakhir stayed put and got to 40 runs before Thaheem baffled him with a teasing delivery on the pads that Farhan failed to pick.
Next up, Rahmanullah hung around for 37 deliveries and meandered to 29 runs but he too lost the plot and succumbed to pressure as Qasim Akram got him leg before.
Abid Mohammadi initiated a major rebuilding work and was doing really well to get his side out of trouble until, unluckily for him, he was seen scrambling back in the crease when a dodgy call for a run resulted in an untimely run-out. He had to leave the podium on 28.
Abdul Rahman, down the order, made quick runs and his useful cameo of 30 runs helped Afghanistan make a somewhat fighting total.
Aamir Khan got through the tail quickly and ended his quota of overs with three scalps and gave away 58 runs. Thaheem didn't let Afghanistan get off the hook and returned phenomenal figures of 1/30 while his compatriots chipped in with wickets as well.
The total wasn't taxing but we have seen low scoring thrillers in this U-19 World Cup and often sides batting second stumble in their way while chasing.
Pakistan were in a spot of bother when spinners were weaving magic and were getting assistance from the deteriorating wicket but the green-shirts kept their head in the game and maintained their composure in the crunch moments.
Haider Ali and Muhammad Huraira denied Afghanistan to pluck the much-needed early wickets that are imperative in a low scoring affair. The 92-run stand between the openers made the job easy for the middle order.
Huraira got out in an uncharacteristic fashion as Noor Ahmad mankaded him when he didn't ground his bat at the non-striker end and he was clearly livid with himself after making the rookie error.
Noor induced another error from Pakistan U-19 captain Rohail Nazir as he edged one to the first slip when he was set on 22 and there was then some panic in the Pakistan ranks at that stage.
Muhammad Fahad Munir frisked his arms to a classic off-spin delivery that spun back sharply instead of turning away and Fahad was adjudicated LBW straight away.
The flurry of wickets instilled a ray of hope in Afghanistan and they battled hard to trigger a collapse but with a paltry score of 189 to defend, the odds were heavily against them.
Qasim Akram and Muhammad Haris ensured there were no further hiccups and Pakistan coasted home with six wickets, confirming semifinal berth.
Pakistan will be up against archrivals India in the semifinal and this is the ninth time in U-19 World Cups that Pakistan has made it to the semifinal stage.